Business trips can be an important part of a job and in some industries you may be required to travel for work frequently. These trips can range from a casual catch up with clients, to crucial meetings with potentially big business partners. As such, you want to make a good impression.
But often with business trips, especially those that only last a couple of days, you’ll be expected to travel light. This means that more often than not you’ll be confined to a carry on bag. This can make it tricky to decide what to wear and how to pack all the essentials without going overboard. But fear not, this guide from MAHI looks at what to pack for a business trip and how to choose versatile outfits to help you pack light.
Choosing your airport outfit
Choosing your airport outfit can be tricky and will often depend on your agenda. You want to be comfortable while you travel, but it’s vital to remember that even outside of your usual hours you’re representing your company when you’re on a business trip. As such, you don’t want to make any bad impressions. If you’ve got time to go to your hotel and change before your official work business begins, you can afford to be more flexible with your airport outfit. However, if you’re going straight to a meeting, regional office or you’re being met at the airport by an important contact, you’ll need to look professional and presentable.
For this reason it’s best to choose darker clothes (these can hide any accidental spillages or marks from the plane) and choose something that isn’t going to crease up the second you sit in your seat. You’ll want to choose an outfit that is comfortable to travel in, but also that you feel confident and professional in. Travelling is not the best time to try out any new outfits, you might find they end up being too tight or uncomfortable – making your journey unpleasant.
It’s also best to wear airport-friendly shoes. This means nothing that is going to rub your feet, and ladies, heels are probably not a good idea at this stage! This is especially true if you’ve got a long journey. Flats, pumps or comfortable smart shoes are advised. Finally, don’t wear too much jewellery. Not only can this be noisy and uncomfortable, but if you have to remove it to get through customs this can cost you time.
For the daytime
Depending on the nature of your business trip you may be working in another branch of the company, attending meetings, or going out with clients. This can make it difficult to decide on what to wear. For this reason it’s best to stick to neutral colours and versatile items that you can mix and match.
For women, it’s a good idea to pack a pair of trousers, either cigarette or wide leg pants, and a pencil skirt or dress. You can then pack a couple of blouses or shirts to pair with these. Choosing simple colours like black, white, navy or grey makes it easy to mix and match to create a number of outfits from very little clothes. This helps you to pack light. You can also bring a small bag of jewellery to help accessorise your outfits to dress them up or down accordingly.
For men, it’s a good idea to have a least one suit, especially if you’ve got important meetings. These should follow the colour scheme above, simple and versatile colours like navy or black. The good thing for men is, if you bring one suit you can simply change your shirt or tie to create a whole new look, without having to pack too much extra. If you’ve got heavier materials that won’t crease this can make it easier to travel with. That said, there will likely be an iron or laundry service you can use at your hotel.
For the evening
If you’re going out in the evening, you may want a more casual outfit that differs from your workwear. Alternatively, you might just want to alterer your work outfit if you’re trying to pack really light. For ladies, the best way to do this is to bring a dress or some smart jeans for the evening. This way you can pair your chosen blouses with your jeans and add (or take away) jewellery for a more relaxed feel. You can also pair this with your heels if it’s more formal, or pumps if you want it to be more casual. If you know you’ll be attending a very formal event on any of the evenings, it’s best to find out the dress code ahead of time and ensure you’ve got something that ticks all the right boxes.
Similarly, for men you might want to do away with the tie in the evening. You can still wear a shirt, so it’s best to bring something versatile like white or light blue. You can make this more casual still by changing your blazer for a jacket or swapping your suit trousers for chinos. Smart shoes such as Oxford’s or brogues will suit perfectly as these can be worn for workwear and then again in the evenings.
It’s a good idea to plan these outfits in advance to ensure you don’t take any unnecessary clothing. And similarly to the point above, if you know there is going to be a very formal black tie event or something similar, make sure you have accounted for this.
For your down time
The final thing you need to pack is your comfy clothes for your down time. That is if you’re going to have some down time! Whether you’ve got access to a gym, time to spare for a morning run, or you’ve got some time to lounge about in your hotel (particularly in the evenings after a day of working) you’ll want leisure wear or gym clothes. This could be your favourite sweats or a pair of PJs – just clothes to allow you time to relax when you can.