If you have landed a job that requires business travel, it may be time to upgrade your strategy for suitcase packing. Few people acquire the ninja-like skills required to dress for success while traveling, without checking into the airport with excessive baggage. The kind that makes you regret your two-suitcase, purse, laptop bag and carry-on, the second you start trekking across the airport.
Chivalry may not be dead, but you will be carrying your own bags.
The blessing of valet parking aside, traveling with heavy suitcases is a literal drag, that can wear you out before you even start your trip. And packing light? There is a certain degree of anxiety that comes when you aren’t entirely sure if you have everything you need.
If you are attending a trade show or conference with a packed itinerary, chances are that you won’t have time to run out for another shirt or a pair of shoes (even if you have blisters). And since most hotel rooms are more than a little short on clothes hangers, you need a strategy that will work.
Because wrinkled clothing is not an option, use these five tips to pack a “pro-bag” that will take you from daytime tradeshow to afternoon meetings, and evening social events like a seasoned ‘girl boss’.
1. Buy Wrinkle Free Clothing
If your professional attire relies on blouses, skirts and dress pants, paying for higher quality wardrobe items is worth it, if the garments are labeled “wrinkle free”. This type of material does not hold creases the way other types of materials do, i.e., 100% cotton, and when unpacked, they can be quickly steamed or even hung in the bathroom during a hot shower. The moisture and the heat create a permanent press, that removes any small wrinkles in your clothing. It’s worth the splurge.
2. Create a Shoe Win
Shoes are frequently the most overpacked and underused item in a suitcase. Career professionals needlessly agonize over the quantity and type of shoes to pack; many fashionable heels are uncomfortable, and feet need to alternate between comfortable walking shoes and those that make a statement.
- 1 x pair of flat flip-flop sports sandals (for pool, or recreation).
- 1 x pair of black heels.
- 1 x pair of mid-height wedge or square heel walking shoes.
- 1 x pair of trouser boots (which can be worn with thin dress socks).
Shoes should be wiped clean, and zipped up in a separate compartment from other clothing. Socks can be packed with them, but avoid packing cosmetics or sundries, which can easily open or break, when bumped against hard soles.
3. Pack Your Back-Up
Your carry-on bag is your most strategic, and arguably important piece of luggage. While most people use it to hide snacks for the flight, and electronics, it’s important to think of it as an emergency back-up to your checked baggage. Travelers always assume that their baggage will arrive on time, when they do, but in 2015, SITA reported that there were 21.8 million suitcases, roughly 7 per 1,000 passengers, delayed, stolen or lost, and you could be one of them, on your next trip.
Pack one complete outfit in your carry-on that is business casual in style, and one extra pair of slip-on shoes that aren’t too bulky. Having a problem compressing garments into your carry-on or suitcase in general? Check out this technology, that seals and compresses clothing to reduce volume and wrinkles. The bags come in variable sizes from different manufacturers.
4. Seal Up Sundries
There is nothing more disastrous than picking up a leaking suitcase after a flight, knowing every bit of your clothing has been compromised. Use resealing bags to zip-lock and segregate liquid cosmetics and other beauty supplies, including perfume.
Remember that due to security restrictions, liquid cosmetics and perfumes cannot be packed in your purse or carry-on. These articles should be checked with your luggage, to avoid complications or seizure of your goods during airport security screening.
5. Use an Online Suitcase Service
DUFL is a company that offers a unique, revolutionary service that is a dream come true for frequent flyers. Simply purchase a professional wardrobe, or select existing pieces from home, and enroll with a $10 per month fee for storage. DUFL ships a secure suitcase to your home, allowing you to pack your bag and return it to them via courier. The service then dry cleans, and stores your wardrobe, uploading a picture of each item to your user profile.
When you are ready for a trip, simply use the smartphone app to select the shirts, pants, skirts, shoes and undergarments you wish to bring with you. DUFL receives the request, professionally packs your clothing into a suitcase, and ships it to your destination hotel. When your business trip (or vacation) is over, the suitcase is returned to DUFL for cleaning and storage.
Each trip costs an additional $100, but you will never have to haul your luggage through airports again, or return home with suitcases full of dirty laundry. How is that for the ultimate in efficiency for those prone to over (or under) packing?
Master Your Unpacking Mojo
When you have arrived at the hotel and checked in, allow yourself at least thirty-minutes to unpack everything in your bag. Sure, you are okay with living out of your suitcase for a vacation, but professional travel means getting your garments organized and hung-up in the closet, to minimize your prep and dress time.
If you have packed your garments on hangers, moving them to the closet is lightning fast, while you ponder the shortage of hangers inherent in even the best hotels. If you do not have a garment steamer, beware the typical low-quality iron provided in most rooms, which can damage clothing, and leave you short-changed (literally) for new outfits.
A final tip for girl bosses; remember the in-room hair dryer that is usually too hot to style your own hair? It can help remove wrinkles from blouses and pants too, in a pinch. Bon voyage!
Nicola Reynor is a passionate blogger who loves to blog about fashion, beauty, travel, health, fitness, wedding and lifestyle trends. When in leisure time, she prefers to spend time in traveling with friends and family. Connect with her on Google+ and Twitter.