Tips & Tricks

Business Trip Survival Packing: What to Keep, What to Ditch

Traveling for business demands the same efficiency you bring to work every day. Here’s how to streamline your packing, carry-on bag only, of course.

What to Keep: Business Travel Must-pack Items

Universal Multi-USB Charger/adapter
Charging cables for all your devices are a must, but their bulky plug-in power packs are not. A single charger that takes multiple USB cables and can adapt to global voltages and plugs keeps everything powered up and in one place.

Foldable Tote Bag
Souvenirs and treasures purchased at your destination don’t have to derail your efficiently packed carry-on. Travel with a folding canvas or nylon tote that can expand to either carry or check.

Single Brand Luggage
Choose carry-on and roll-aboard bags from the same brand to streamline your travel. The pieces often clip, slide or lock together, and they are made with complementary design, balance and weight distribution in mind. Check out these options from Globe-Trotter here.

Suitcase with Built-in Charger
Although many airlines require the removal of lithium-ion powered charging packs in smart luggage prior to flying, having a powerful battery housed in a suitcase’s design eliminates the weight in a briefcase or tote as well as the need to remember to pack it.

Snack and Drink
Whether you bring a security-compliant snack from home or buy a healthy nosh and a bottle of water at a transportation hub, a nibble and a cool sip are your best companions if you’re delayed by any number of life’s unexpected events.

Eye Mask, Earplugs and/or Noise-cancelling Headset
Even on short trips when you don’t plan to sleep or seek privacy, you never know what might happen. Trains and planes can be delayed, infant travel companions can pop up next to you or you may want to filter out unexpected sights or sounds.

Pre-downloaded Entertainment
Sometimes we learn the hard way that working Wifi and entertainment services are not guaranteed on board any vessel. In that case, you’ll be glad you downloaded a binge-worthy movie or season to your device from Netflix, Amazon Prime or your digital entertainment store of choice.

Swimsuit and Flip Flops
That bubbling hot tub, inviting infinity pool, cedar sauna or steam room is calling your name…that is, if you remembered to pack your swimsuit. Even the non-lap-swimming set benefits from a relaxing dip once in a while, so throw a bathing suit and slim pool shoes in your bag.

Business Cards
Though a digital contact swap is modern and efficient, it’s not as memorable as making eye contact and passing someone your card. Bonus: looking at a business card can often help put a face to a name when conducting follow-ups.

Indispensable when you have it and inconvenient when you don’t, a pen is one of those small items often overlooked when packing. Remember to pick one that won’t leak during potentially harsh treatment in a carry-on.

What to Ditch: Items That Slow You Down

Workout Gear
Bulky running shoes and gym clothes need not throw a wrench in your minimalist packing approach. Join Le Club AccorHotels, the new incarnation of the Fairmont President’s Club, for use of luxury fitness apparel, equipment and even workout music during your stay.

One-occasion Outfits
Unless you have a formal occasion requiring a unique clothing item, pack versatile suits or separates in neutrals, with pops of color in the form of shirts and accessories. You should be able to wear everything you pack at least two ways, dressed up and casual.

Heavy Coats, Boots or Sweaters
Choose thinner, smarter garments. Silver-infused fabrics, breathable bamboo, whisper-thin cashmere and moisture-wicking wool knits mean you can stay fresh and cozy in stylish layers, without sweating or taking up precious room in your packed bags. After all, nothing is more variable than the weather!

Bulky Cases
Eyewear, digital devices, headphones and your electric toothbrush might come in bulky, space-hogging cases. Ditch them for slim travel cases that have padded sleeves or compartments.

Most Toiletries
Unless your home shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and wash are cosmetic necessities, leave them behind. Hotels often offer top personal care amenities, such as Le Labo’s unisex Rose 31 at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, adding a spa-like feel to your daily grooming routine. Essentials such as mouthwash, toothpaste, shaving cream and sunscreen are also often available at hotels upon request.

Clothes for More Than a Week
Packing for a one-month trip should look much like packing for a one-week trip. Plan to do laundry. Select garments that aren’t bulky, are easily washed and dry quickly. Even socks and undergarments take up valuable space when you pack too many multiples.

Charlene Rooke is travel, food and drinks writer based in Vancouver, Canada, and a former editor of Fairmont magazine. She has written two travel guidebooks (about Calgary and Vancouver) and has visited more than 55 countries and 25 Fairmont Hotels & Resorts worldwide.

How to's

How to fold, roll, cube

Love to travel but hate packing? We’ve broken down the steps for three essential packing styles: folding, rolling and cubing. Whether you’re headed on an international adventure or a local business trip, find your style and follow the outlined steps for stress-free packing!