What to Pack for a Business Trip: A Men’s Guide to Work Travel Wardrobes

If you’re headed out on a business trip, the last thing you want to worry about is packing. You want to focus on growing your business or career.

The best way to accomplish this? Systemize the way you pack.

With a go-to approach for how and what to pack for a business trip, you won’t sweat the small stuff.

We’ve put together strategies for men on how to pack for a business trip and what to bring as well. Follow these simple steps to prep you for your next out-of-town event.

How to Pack for a Business Trip: Pointers for Men

Man Sitting On The Floor Packing His Suitcase For A Business Trip

Photo Credit: Pexels

Have you ever wrestled with your suitcase, trying to jam-pack it with everything you need? Or have you shown up to your location under-packed and underprepared?

The reason many men run into these issues is that they don’t have the right pieces in their closets. Before we get into how to pack for a business trip, we have to start with your wardrobe. 

At Next Level Wardrobe, we have a proprietary style system that we use on all our clients: 

  1. Focus on core colors
  2. Invest in essential pieces
  3. Get the perfect fit

Why did we design this system this way? To help clients get the most out of their clothing and to bring confidence and intentionality to how they dress. The more versatile and streamlined your clothing, the easier it is to pick out what you need for your travels. 

Once you’ve taken care of that, we can get into how to pack your suitcase for a business trip.

How to Pack Your Suitcase for Work Travel

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by NY + LA Personal Stylist (@nextlevelwardrobe)

Our founder, Cassandra Sethi always knows what to pack for a business trip

How? 

She uses the same packing system every time. This method works no matter the trip length. She even recently used it on a six-week trip for her and her husband. Here’s a breakdown for you to follow:

  1. Start by laying out all your items to pack. Consult your itinerary and think about what outfits you’re going to need for what events. Identify when you can repeat an outfit or piece.  The best way to have a limitless outfit rotation is to focus on core colors: black, white, grey, and navy. They always go together, and they’re cornerstones of professional wear. 
  2. Begin packing your pants. Fold each pair in half to cut down on wrinkles and to keep your pants flat.
  3. Collect any knit (aka T-shirt material) shirts and roll them. This method is a space saver and perfect for casual shirts because you don’t have to stress about wrinkles.
  4. Grab your sweaters and button-down shirts and fold them as usual. Again, aim to keep them flat and crisp to maximize space and avoid wrinkling. Take those pieces and lay them over the rolled tops.
  5. Pack your shoes in a shoe bag. This is KEY. Do you really want whatever you’ve been walking on all day all over your nice clothes? We can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen people do this and it needs to stop. You can use anything from a drawstring pouch to a travel case to an old shopping bag. 
  6. Just like we don’t want shoes rolling around, we want toiletries all in one place too. Keep them in a travel kit like this one we love from Amazon. Place them next to your shoes or in a zip compartment for easy access. 

You can watch all of this in the above Instagram reel as well.

That’s the basics of how to pack for a business trip. But for menswear, one thing’s missing: suits. 

How to Pack a Business Suit for Travel

How To Pack Business Suits Like These Hanging In A Closet For Travel

Photo Credit: Pexels

If you’re debating what to pack for a business trip, a suit may be just what you need. Especially for formal settings. 

The truth is, the only way to truly avoid wrinkles is to use a garment bag and hang your suit. If you’re traveling by car, this is a no-brainer. Simply hang the suit from one of the grab handles in the back of the car. 

If you’re flying, you’ve got a couple of options. One is to fold your garment bag in half carefully and place it in the overhead compartment. The other option is to see if your airline has closets at the front of the plane. Then you can ask your flight attendant if you can store your suit there until landing. 

If a garment bag isn’t an option, here’s a suit folding method that Brooks Brothers recommends.

First, lay your suit jacket face down. Then, fold one of the shoulders back. Take the other shoulder and turn it inside out. Take the shoulder you folded back and tuck it into the inside-out one. Fold the suit jacket in half vertically and then horizontally. 

If you have a plastic hanging bag from a dry cleaner, place the jacket inside for extra protection. 

Finally, place the jacket in the center of your suit trousers that you’ve folded in half lengthwise. Fold the trousers over the jacket and you’ve got the ideal suit bundle to place in your luggage.

What to Pack for a Business Trip: Our Men’s Clothing Packing List

Deciding what to pack for a business trip depends a lot on where you’re going, when, and for how long. The packing list possibilities are endless so we can’t give you a list for every scenario. 

But we can give you a place to start for every dress code. 

Picture a 3-day trip in the fall with daytime meetings and 2 dinners in the evening. From formal to business casual to true casual, here’s a run down on what to pack.

 

What to Pack for a Business Trip: Business Formal Attire

Next Level Wardrobe Guide To What to Pack for a Business Trip Business Formal Attire

This is a sample of actual outfits we’ve put together for clients needing formal business attire.

Your formal business trip packing list should include:

– 2 suits: grey and navy
– 3 long sleeve button down shirts: white
– 2 pairs of shoes: brown and dark brown
– 2 non-denim trousers
– 1 lightweight sweater
– 2 short sleeve tees
– 1 sportcoat

What to Pack for a Business Trip: Business Casual Attire

Next Level Wardrobe Guide To What to Pack for a Business Trip Business Casual Attire

This is a sample of actual outfits we’ve put together for clients needing business casual attire.

When packing for a business casual work trip bring:

– 2 pairs of shoes: brown and dark brown
– 2 non-denim trousers
– 3 lightweight sweaters
– 3 short-sleeve tees (T-shirts/polos)
– 2 layering pieces (sportcoat and jacket)

What to Pack for a Business Trip: Casual Attire

Next Level Wardrobe Guide To What to Pack for a Business Trip For Men's Casual Attire

This is a sample of actual outfits we’ve put together for clients needing casual attire.

Casual attire business trip packing should include:

– 2 pairs of shoes: boots and sneakers (Check out our guide to Tech CEO sneakers to help you pick the right pair.)
– 2 non-denim trousers
– 3 lightweight sweaters
– 3 short sleeve tees (t-shirts and/or polos)
– 2 layering pieces (jackets)

What to Pack for a Business Trip: The Best Men’s Accessories, Miscellaneous Essentials to Pack

Pack A Tie Like This When Packing Accessories For A Business Trip For Men

Photo Credit: Pexels

The above lists should have you set on what to pack for a business trip. But to fill in the gaps, there are a few items that should make the cut as well.

For example, a belt is a must for all trousers. We recommend only bringing one and opting for dark brown. This shade is versatile and neutral while feeling more contemporary than the classic old-school black belt.

Another essential is travel-sized toiletries to keep in your toiletry bag. This way, you won’t worry about shopping once you land and you’ll have all your favorites on hand.

When heading to a formal event, bring along cuff links and a tie. You can always roll the tie and easily fit it into your suitcase.

Finally, we often get clients asking about bringing workout clothes on their trips. If staying active is part of your routine, keep it light. Bring 2 bottoms and 3 shirts.

What to Pack for a Business Trip: FAQ

Man With His Suitcase Packed For A Business Trip Walking Through The Airport

Photo Credit: Pexels

If you’ve got any nagging questions about what to pack on a business trip or how to pack for a business trip, keep scrolling for our travel FAQs.

How do avoid under-packing or overpacking?

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: owning the right clothes is the best way to avoid packing dilemmas. Get ahead of your next trip and conduct a closet clean-out

You should only be left with the clothes you actually love and wear. If you notice any gaps in your wardrobe, put together a shopping list and only buy those must-haves. From there you’re packing path is clear.

This is my first business trip or my first with a new company. How do I figure out the dress code?

Honestly, your best bet is to ask someone. Check with a peer who’s attended this type of event before or ask your boss. You can also Google images of past attendees if you’re headed to a conference or summit.

If you’re still confused about the dress code, follow your office’s dress code. And if your office doesn’t have a dress code, start here.

Any suitcase or luggage recommendations?

We’re big fans of the brand Tumi. They’ve got options for every type of packer from backpacks to carry-ons to full-sized luggage. Sleekly designed, Tumi luggage also comes with an incredible warranty that covers most damages during the first few years.

What about shoes? They take up so much space, how can I choose the right ones to bring?

Looking over our packing lists, you probably noticed we didn’t go wild with shoes. That’s because, for your average business trip, you don’t need that many. 

Brown Oxford Shoes From Cole Haan Are A Good Neutral Choice When Packing For A Business Trip For Men

Photo Credit: Cole Haan

The key is to purchase neutral, versatile shoes that can pull double-duty. Like these brown oxfords from Cole Haan. Partner them with trousers and a dress shirt for daytime meetings. Then change out your shirt for a cable-knit sweater for a dinner out.

The above shoes are perfect for formal or business casual. If you’re in a casual environment you can wear a luxe pair of sneakers (not Allbirds please!)

Is there an easy way for me to not have to iron everything? I won’t have the time.

One of the reasons we recommend our suitcase packing method is because it cuts down on wrinkles. If you follow that method, you shouldn’t have extra ironing and pressing to do once you get to your destination. 

If you’re really worried about wrinkles, wrap your more delicate items in a plastic bag. This adds another barrier between your clothes and other items that might leave indents. Also, try to avoid packing those crease-prone items too tightly since that’s more likely to leave marks on your clothing. 

Ready to have an expert systemize your wardrobe and packing style? Sign up for one of our men’s styling services. We offer image consulting services virtually and in person to transform your personal brand through

Picture of Cassandra Sethi

Cassandra Sethi is a NYC Personal Stylist and Image Consultant. After working over 15 years in the Fashion Industry, most recently as a Senior Buyer for Equinox, she created her business, Next Level Wardrobe – a luxury personal shopping service for successful professionals.

Next Level Wardrobe has been featured in Wall Street Journal, Today and CNN. See here.

 

For immediate help to upgrade your work style (virtually or in person), use this link to apply for a style consultation.

To receive my complimentary guide, 3 Items You Need In Your Closet Today, click here to put in your name and email.

Apply for a style consultation for immediate help to upgrade your style

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