In the United States, more than 1.7 billion business trips are made per year.
If travel is a part of the way you conduct your business or career, you are definitely not alone, and it can be an exciting way to build a portfolio of personal and professional life experience.
Traveling for business can be exhausting, however, and it is never easy to get from point A to point B, even for a seasoned traveler. What you pack for your business trip and what you wear while you are in transit has a big impact on your comfort, and even logistics such as the ability to move quickly through airport security check points, as well as customs for international travel.
Packing Light for Your Flight
Seasoned business travelers will tell you that one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to pack too much. The fear is understandable; who wants to be at a hotel and find that you don’t have enough clothing options to last for the duration of your trip? The fear is real. Have you ever seen a businessman try to find a Target store at midnight after forgetting a shirt or tie? It is not pretty, but then again it is also not unheard of and not the end of the world if it happens.
Address your phobia about under packing head on. Almost every hotel offers a dry cleaning or laundry service. Yes, it’s not competitively priced but in the worst case scenario if you have forgotten to pack some key pieces, you can send your garments out for cleaning and then mix and match creatively.
An important packing tip for business professionals is to utilize your carry-on luggage for emergency needs. While losing luggage at an airport is rare, it does happen and sometimes to people who have a large presentation or meeting the next morning.
Consider your carry-on bag to be an essential wardrobe back up. Pack your sundries (remember to check larger fluid containers or they will be confiscated by airport security) and include two sets of clothing (pants, shirt, socks and tie) as well as one sports coat or suit jacket (which can be hung in the airplane closet if you ask the attendant nicely). No matter what happens to your luggage, you will have a change of clothes ready to go (and time the next day to purchase more if you need to).
Remember that important electronics like cell phones, laptops, and tablet devices should always travel with you if they are needed for business use the next day. Protect your devices from damage and your confidential business information from loss by keeping them close at hand while you travel.
What Not to Wear In Transit
Everyone wants to look good and be comfortable when they travel for business, but have you ever been on a business flight and watched someone who is too casually dressed run into other business people they know? It is awkward and while no one would directly accuse someone else of being dressed inappropriately, choosing casual or worn clothing is not going to create the right professional impression of you or the organization you work for.
No one is saying that you have to travel with a black, lined and double breasted suit and tie when you travel. The term ‘business casual’ was invented as a guideline for what is normal, neat and business appropriate wear that includes khaki pants and dress shirts, with oxford shoes or penny loafer styled shoes.
Avoid wearing jeans in most cases, unless they are indigo or darker dress jeans which look more formal than casual or worn denim. Running shoes look odd with business casual, but can be worn inside airports for comfort and practical reasons; remember to pack a pair of business casual shoes in your carry-on bag for a quick change.
Formal suit jackets are both uncomfortable and likely to be creased during air travel. Check your suit jackets in a garment bag and opt instead for a quality sports jacket that is coordinated with your business casual attire. A sport jacket is also a good back up for inclement weather like rain or snow.
Travel Friendly Fabrics
When expanding or establishing your wardrobe, consider that there are a number of affordable online retailers that specialize in bespoke mens suits. Online retailers in men’s apparel have multiplied, providing convenience and increased selection of styles.
The type of fabric you choose for your business suits and business casual attire should consider your frequent flyer needs. Fabrics like linen breathe very well, and are popular for business casual dress, but they are notorious for creasing and wrinkling during travel and wear.
When selecting your garments for business travel, stick instead to quality fabrics like 100% cotton, or polyester and wool blends, which provide flexibility of movement but resist wrinkling or creasing. You’ll spend less time ironing or less money paying for pressing of your garments at the hotel, if you choose travel friendly fabrics.