Work Style

What to Bring on a Business Trip: 7 Essentials You Just Can’t Leave Behind

by Tabitha Taft


The time has come: your boss is sending you to represent the company at an important conference that’s thousands of miles away. Whether this is your first or 50th time traveling for work, knowing what to bring on a business trip can be admittedly perplexing. Trip anxiety can lead you to overpack—who doesn’t need 10 outfits for a two-day trip? Or you may severely underpack—one skirt can be worn five days in a row, right?

Because you never know when you’ll be on the go next, learning how to be prep for a business trip will save you headaches in the long run. And we’ve done the legwork so you don’t have to. Here’s what every work travel packing list should include to ensure you’re looking your best en route and once you arrive, too.

1. A Travel Outfit

Ponte Pants

Whether you’re traveling by train, plane, or automobile, you’ll want to have at least one comfortable outfit for the journey. And as alluring as they can be, leave the sweats at home—you are traveling for work, after all. Think layers and also keep a scarf on hand because it can shield you from the elements and also work as a makeshift sleep mask.

A travel outfit can take you straight from transit to a meeting if you pick your pieces wisely. Consider comfortable stretch work pants and blouses made out of wrinkle-resistant fabrics, such as nylon or polyester, or a nonconstricting dress. On your feet, you can’t go wrong with a pair of stylish but comfortable flats.

2. Versatile Outerwear

Blue Outerwear

A lightweight jacket of any kind is an essential traveling companion. Weather can be unpredictable, so bring along outerwear that can withstand all the elements. A topper in a neutral shade or a fitted trench coat is guaranteed to work with any travel outfit. Bonus: This garment can also be used as a blanket when traveling.

3. A Sharp Blazer

Navy Blazer

A versatile blazer is always a welcome addition to any business look. Because it can be rotated with multiple outfits—like a sheath dress, skirt and blouse, or pants and a button-down shirt—plan on packing at least one sharp blazer. Choose one that’s fitted and preferably made out of a stretch fabric.

4. Smart Tops

Tie-Neck Blouse

Separates are great for travel workwear because they can be rotated into multiple looks. For instance, a blouse can be worn alone or provide visual interest under a sharp blazer. Pack options that are versatile and can be worn more than once if needed.

5. Black Pants or Skirt

black pants

Black pants are hands down the best day-to-night staple for business travel because they go with everything. Be sure to bring at least one pair on your trip. A nice slim cut is your best bet.

Likewise, a black pencil skirt is a must-have for business travel because they, too, can be paired with anything, from a blouse to a sweater. Pack two skirts—a black one and one in a print, velvet, or satin for dinner—along with some nude or black stockings and you’ll be glad you did.

6. A Simple Dress

Black Dress

A <a target="_blank" class="SWhtmlLisimple neutral-colored dress in the form of a sheath, shift, or wrap is an elegant staple for business travel, and seamlessly takes you from the boardroom to the dinner table—in style. Top it with a leather jacket, blazer, or cardigan to breathe new life into a dress you’ve been wearing all day.

7. The Finishing Touches

While you should definitely bring shoes that are appropriate for the occasion, don’t feel obligated to wear heels all day unless you’re comfortable doing so. Both heels and flats look great with business attire, so pack stylish flats and a pair of black pumps, too.

Whether it’s necklaces, earrings, or belts, accessories are also essential for business travel and they don’t take up much real estate in your suitcase. Be sure to pack polished, business-appropriate pieces like a pearl necklace, simple stud earrings, or a couple of bangles, as well as pieces to elevate your evening look like statement earrings or a shiny belt.

If your job requires you to travel, follow these tips on what to bring on a business trip. Being prepared will ensure that you can focus on the job at hand instead of what you accidentally left behind.

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