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For many business travelers, learning how to pack smarter, not heavier, is the secret to an overall better travel experience. Not only do you avoid the long baggage check process at the airport, you’ll have a lot less weight to carry when you’re trying to whisk through hotels, city streets, or those busy airport terminals. If you’re new to the business travel world, you might be confused when it comes to packing your carry-on. Traveling efficiently, yet still remembering all of the pieces of the puzzle, can get challenging. Here are 6 things you should always bring with you in your business carry-on.


Especially when you’re traveling to locations that may or may not have clean water available, you may have to settle for drinking questionable tap water. Having a filtration system of your own, in the form of a water bottle, can help save you money, time and health. You won’t have to purchase expensive bottles of water at the airport, and if you have your own bottle on hand, you can simply find a water fountain nearby and fill it up—no wandering around the terminal looking for a convenience store.

One of our favorite filtered water bottles is the Camelbak Groove Graphite Water Bottle.


Packing clothing in a way that maximizes space and minimizes clutter is rule number one of making your business carry-on work for you. For many business people, however, wearing the same outfit three days in a row simply isn’t an option, especially when they have a mixture of formal and informal meetings and events to attend.

The answer is to pack versatile articles of clothing that can be mixed and matched. Perhaps bring two shirts to wear with the same gray slacks. Bring a jacket that can be worn with either a casual or a formal outfit. Avoid loud patterns or colors; the more neutral in color the articles you bring, the more versatile it is. Know your schedule and the dress code each event therein presents; pack a couple of outfits that you can cross over with one another, effectively creating four outfits out of two.


What good is a tablet if it’s dead? For most business travelers, it’s easy to remember to pack their most-used electronic devices. Remembering the power chords to those devices is a different story. The easiest way to remember your power chords is to keep them in their own separate bag or compartment. Whenever you finish using a power chord, put it back into a designated bag so you can find it easily later. When it’s time to pack for another business trip, simply grab the assigned bag; this way you can be confident that you have each power chord you need without having to hunt it down.


Being met with an unexpected layover or delayed flight during a business trip can mean having to shell out extra money for a meal you hadn’t budgeted for. For business travelers who rely on expense accounts, this is an annoyance, especially if they have dietary restrictions or they’re stuck in an airport with limited food options.

These types of situations are precisely why it’s important to bring a small selection of your own snacks. Whether it’s nuts and dried fruit, a granola bar, chips or a similar non-perishable item, you’ll find that having snacks on hand when your schedule is de-railed can save you time, money and frustration.


You never know when you’ll need a Band-Aid, get a headache, or develop a scratchy throat. These unpredictable circumstances make it absolutely necessary that you bring a small First-Aid kit in your carry-on. Items like bandages, aspirin, cough drops, nasal spray and any other travel-friendly things you may need during your trip.

If you’ve ever paid out of the nose for a pain reliever or some cough drops during a trip, you understand why it’s so economical to simply bring your own.

Packing for a business trip can certainly get easier the more you do it; packing for each trip’s unique needs may be a bit more of a challenge. Know your trip in and out, the dress code for each meeting and event within the trip, as well as the weather and circumstances of the city you’ll be in. Knowing these pieces of information can make packing efficiently a much easier process.

photo credit: ydhsu via photopin cc