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Traveling for Work: How to Pack Your Bags

Five quick tips for getting the most out of your carry-on suitcase when traveling for work.

Traveling for Work: How to Pack Your Bags
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For many jobs, traveling for work is inevitable. And if you’re only heading out of town for a few days, a carry-on is likely your go-to piece of luggage. But fitting everything into a smaller suitcase means being strategic about what you bring and how you organize it. Below, we’re sharing our best business trip packing tips to maximize space and style.

Stick with a cohesive color palette

Pick a few colors, then plan all your outfits in that color scheme for the days you’re traveling. Earth tones and neutrals go a long way when it comes to mixing and matching, but try adding a pop of color to liven things up. It’s all about minimizing the number of items you bring with. So, if you’re debating between bringing a pair of dark denim and bold-printed pants, take whichever you’ll get the most use out of. Same with shoes—pack only as many as you’re going to wear, in neutral colors you can wear multiple times.

Put shoes in a dust bag

Too often, we end up with messy clothes as a result of packing our less-than-pristine shoes in our carry-ons. A simple solution is to keep yours in a dust bag. That way, if your luggage gets tossed around a bit, any loose dirt will stay inside the bag and away from your clothes. If you don’t have a designated shoe bag, reusing a canvas tote or plastic bag works just as well.

Roll soft garments, fold crisp ones

Rolling your clothes versus folding them saves valuable space and can help prevent creases and wrinkles. That being said, only roll soft, pliable garments such as T-shirts, jeans, and undergarments. Items you want to stay crisp—like blouses and dress slacks—should still be folded.

Pack suits and coats last

Traveling for work often means having to bring along some business-professional attire. When that’s the case, make sure your suits and blazers are the last thing you pack in your bag—they’re less likely to get wrinkled or crunched by other items that way. And since they’re the last thing you put in your bag, they’re also the first thing you’ll take out. You can hang them up right away, or toss them on for a meeting straight from the airport.

Wear one of your outfits on the plane

The easiest way to save space is to leave an entire outfit out of your bag and wear it on the plane. We’d suggest something comfy-casual. Slip-on shoes make getting through security a breeze, a watch ensures you’ll get to your gate on time, and a light layer is good in case the plane gets a bit chilly. You might be tempted to wear a suit or other professional attire on the plane, but don’t. It’ll create a lot of bunching and creasing.

See our packing tips in action:

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