Whether you love or hate it, business travel is something most leaders are expected to do at some point in their careers. Our business tip packing list for women can help.
Even in our digital world, people will always connect best in person, which means having business meetings where the customers are (or investors, regulators, co-workers, industry members, etc.).
Traveling for conferences, leadership retreats, or training can help you to break out of everyday routines and surroundings, stimulating your brain and getting the creative juices flowing.
I’ve had some of my best ideas and made some of my most valuable connections when traveling for work. Something magical happens when you’re out of your comfort zone and trying something new.
Luckily, you can make it as easy (and stylish) as possible with our best tips in this business trip packing list for women.
There are many travel bags to choose from, and everyone has favorites! The travel bags you choose can make a difference in ease of travel, so we’re providing our favorites here.
If traveling by air, you can typically take one carry-on-size suitcase and one personal item onboard. If you travel by car, bus, or train, you can likely take whatever you can carry.
Regardless of how you’re traveling, look for lightweight, easy-to-maneuver bags that you can easily clean after a business trip.
Invest in a good suitcase that you can use for business travel for years to come. Look for quality zippers, handles, and materials. It’s also essential for the luggage to have a locking system.
I use Away products (almost exclusively) for business travel. They’re high quality with a focus on good design and functionality.
I use The Carry-On bag, which includes a laundry bag, 360-degree wheels, a lock, a portable charger, interior compression, and is lightweight. On top of that, it’s easy to clean and store.
I can fit a week’s worth of items in this bag: I love it! Several others I know also have this bag and highly recommend it.
Regardless of what suitcase you use, find one that is lightweight, rolls well, and is easy to clean/maintain.
I just started using packing cubes a couple of years ago. They make a huge difference in how much you can fit in a suitcase and how organized it is when you get to your destination.
Away has some nice packing cubes that I like because they are water-resistant and soft, but they also have a mesh panel to see what’s in each one.
Calpak also has some excellent compression packing cubes that expand for additional capacity.
Swap out your laptop bag for a carry-on bag that can fit additional items. Since you only get one bag other than your suitcase, you’ll want one with many compartments that can hold multiple items.
I use Away’s Everywhere Bag, which hooks perfectly onto my suitcase. The bag looks small but includes a 15-inch laptop compartment, lots of pockets, and it is water-resistant and easy to clean. I also use this bag without the suitcase if I’m going on an overnight trip.
The carry-on and suitcase combo are super stylish and easy to wheel around. You can also have both personalized.
Finding a carry-on that you can easily clean is a must-have.
I like a clear toiletry bag so I can easily see the contents. It’s also critical that the bag contain any spills to keep your clothes clean.
This Calpak bag is perfect for storing all your toiletries and comes in two sizes.
Other Travel Gear
If you travel a lot, consider investing in some of these travel favorites to make your trips more comfortable.
UGG Travel Set
This travel set includes a super soft blanket and eye mask. I love how well-packaged and cozy these two items are, and it’s fully washable, including the bag.
Paravel fold-up bag
This bag is stylish and zips into a flat and small pouch. I take it on weekend trips or pack it in my suitcase if I think I’ll buy something to bring home.
It’s made with sustainable materials and is so easy to clean.
I take this water bottle when I travel to have fresh water without using disposable bottles. The filtered bottle is also great for international travel.
Business Trip packing list for women
Carry-on Bag Packing List
Your carry-on should include anything you may need quick access to while traveling. This bag should also be able to be carried to meetings or other events.
Items to bring:
- Electronic devices and chargers
- Pillow/blanket for the plane
- Large scarf
- Travel documents, boarding passes, or itinerary
- Drivers license/passport
- Car keys
- Business cards
- Lip gloss
- Breath mints
- Hand sanitizer
- Snacks such as nuts, raisins, or protein bars
- A small purse to carry once you get to your destination
Suitcase Packing List
The below list is a complete packing list for a 3-4 day business trip. Try to find business attire that travels well (i.e., doesn’t wrinkle, washes easily, and matches other items you pack), doesn’t take up much space, and toiletries that are right-sized for travel.
Tip: To reduce wrinkles, save a plastic bag from the dry cleaner to put the clothes in before placing them in the suitcase. If items are wrinkled once you get there, you can hang them in the bathroom while you shower. The steam can help release wrinkles.
Items to bring:
- Two pairs of dress pants
- Four tops
- One work dress
- One to two blazers, suit jackets, or sweaters
- Undergarments, including underwear, socks, and bras
- Two pairs of shoes: a pair of flats (Rothy’s are my favorite) or sneakers and one pair of heels (optional)
- Flip flops for the hotel room
- Hair ties
- Hair straightener or curling iron
- Hair product
- Makeup remover
- Shampoo and conditioner or dry shampoo
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Optional items:
- Workout clothing, including sneakers, socks, a sports bra, and workout top and bottoms
- Other accessories, such as belts or tights
- A robe
What to wear while traveling
It’s hard to know the temperature in the airport and on airplanes, so it’s best to dress in comfortable layers. You can also wear your flats when traveling, so there’s one less thing in your suitcase.
I’m cold most of the time, so I wear a tank top, a light sweater, and a light jacket. Depending on the season, I’ll also put a scarf in my carry-on bag. Pair that with skinny jeans and my flats, and I’m ready to go.
Wear casual attire that you can re-wear during the trip if you have extra time at night or happy hours to attend.
Other travel preparations
Check your hotel, airline, and rental car companies to see their reward programs. Reward programs are typically free to join, and the rewards can add up quickly, so be sure to get credit for each booking.
While you probably won’t spend much time in your hotel room, a clean and safe stay is a top priority.
Hotels vary widely in quality, so read reviews on the hotel before you book it, and if you’re going to a conference, try to stay at the hotel where the conference is located.
When traveling solo, a few extra safety measures can help:
- Avoid a first-floor or ground-floor room
- Check the room when you go in, including in the bathroom, closet, and behind curtains
- Don’t answer the hotel door unless you are expecting room service or a visitor
- Use the hotel safe to store any valuables (or leave valuable items at home)
- Never give your room number to anyone
- Carry a rubber door stopper that you can install on an inward-opening door
By taking a few simple safety precautions, you’ll be able to sleep better and enjoy your trip more.
Before going on any business trip, review your company’s travel policy.
Important things to note:
- Any per meal or per day spending limits
- When you need receipts for reimbursement
- Rules surrounding the use of company credit card
- Any special rules for expensive cities
- Preferred company vendors
- Permitted and not permitted expenses
- How to handle cash tips
- Most company travel policies contain clear rules for reimbursement of expenses.
Be sure to put an out-of-office message on both your email and voicemail. Specify that you’re traveling for business and the date you’ll be able to return the message.
Even if you think you’ll have time to respond to emails and voicemails while you’re traveling, it’s always best to set the expectation that it could be a couple of days before you can get back to someone.
When you arrive
When you arrive at your destination, you may feel exhausted from all the travel, especially if you’ve had a long flight (or multiple long flights!)
I’ve found these practices helpful in rejuvenating myself and getting ready for the big day(s) ahead.
- Drink a lot of water. The recirculated air on the airplane and drinking less while traveling often lead to mild dehydration.
- Eat something made up primarily of fat or protein and not a lot of carbs or sugar to boost energy.
- If you’re in a safe area with sidewalks, take a walk to get to know the city.
- Take a yoga class, stretch or go to the hotel’s gym to get a quick workout.
- Check out your hotel’s sauna if available.
- Take a shower or bath to relax.
- Take a short nap.
- Get some sun.
- Find a meditation class or use a meditation app on your phone.
- Book a massage at the hotel or a salon nearby.
- Join co-workers of other contacts for happy hour.
Regardless of what you do, find a healthy way to relieve the day’s stress and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
Business trip packing list for women
I’ve traveled on many business trips, and often alone. While some of the trips are no fun, there are others where I’ve met wonderful people, seen exciting places, and opened my mind to new ways of thinking.
If you’re in town for more than a day or two, you may have an excellent opportunity to try new food, go shopping, see museums or explore the city. Ask friends, co-workers, or contacts from the city for must-try food or experiences.
If you have kids, don’t forget to send them a postcard! I love sending my kids a postcard, so they have something inexpensive from where I’ve traveled and know I was thinking of them.
Business travel can be a benefit if done right – there’s no better way to meet new people, build a network and have fun.