Packing Light and Business-Travel Essentials.

by Country Inns & Suites
Monday, February 28, 2011

Travel writer Addie Hall developed this post on behalf of Country Inns & Suites and has been compensated for her contribution.

Whether you’re driving or flying to your destination, less is more when it comes to business travel. But even though it’s best to travel lightly, representing your company also requires that you dress professionally. In order to do this, you need the right tools.

Choose the Right Bag For the Job

If you will be taking a briefcase, be sure to either keep it with you or pack it safely within a larger bag. While multipurpose bags that hold both a computer and clothes are efficient, you may not want to drag a battered travel bag into a business meeting. And remember, if you’re flying you’ll need your laptop easily accessible at security checkpoints.

For shorter trips (1-3 nights)

If you’re only staying a few nights, you can usually get away with a smaller bag that can accommodate your office supplies as well as your clothes. Look for “weekender” or “overnighter” bags that have separate compartments for clothing and personal items. The Samsonite Wheeled Overnighter features a deep compartment for garments as well as folder pockets and a removable laptop sleeve.

For longer trips (a week or more)

If you plan on taking a week’s worth of clothes, you’ll need a bag in the range of 24-26 inches. Luggage made from ballistic nylon is a good choice because it is both lightweight and durable. Choosing a bag with four wheels—sometimes called “spinners”—such as the International Traveller London Range 24” makes it easier to get through tight spaces and change directions smoothly.

Travel-friendly Clothing

By choosing clothes in the same color family, you’ll be able to pack fewer shoes and accessories. Depending on the type of business you’re in, you’ll probably need one or two dark suits, a shirt or blouse for each day and a pair of casual pants, along with your basic underwear and socks. Many clothing retailers offer wrinkle-free travel clothing that is appropriate for business, such as Jos. A. Bank’s traveler shirts and pants for men and Brooks Brothers’ wrinkle-free shirts  for women. And women, be sure to pack extra pantyhose! Traveling wreaks havoc on your legwear.

Downsize Your Beauty Routine

When you’re visiting clients or attending business meetings, it’s generally not the best time to deviate from your normal routine. Take along your favorite toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, face cleanser and lotion to ensure that there are no surprises from trying new products. Purchase smaller versions of your favorites from retailers such as (named for the TSA regulation of no more than 3.4 fluid ounces of liquid in each bottle in your carry-on) or fill reusable travel-sized bottles from your larger containers at home.

Addie Hall is a former magazine feature writer who got her start traveling the back roads of the South in search of good stories. She now works in corporate marketing in Birmingham, Ala., where the airport TSA agents know her by name.