Whether your job has earned you the status of ‘airport regular’ or you only travel for work occasionally, having an organized packing plan will help you make the absolute best of every work trip while maintaining some shreds of sanity.
Coming from a working mother who knows exactly how crazy life can be, I’ve outlined some of my favorite packing tips that will undeniably save you time, reduce stress, and help you stay unflappable in the face of TSA. Plus, they pretty much guarantee that you won’t overlook something important, like, oh I don’t know, your passport for example. I’ll even share some precious know-how for smart business travel that’ll change your life (or at least the way you fly)!
I’m all about maintaining work-life balance for working moms and busy women, and once you experience traveling the way I do, you’ll never look back. Get ready to travel lightly (and look good doing it), so you can continue to be the badass businesswoman who’s anything but frazzled!
Travel Packing, Our Tips For Minimalism
Believe me; I get it – The temptation to overpack with all those extra ‘what if’ things is so real. Sensible packing for a business trip sometimes means putting your faith in the weatherman and only bringing what you absolutely need. I mean, think about it – How many times have you lugged around hefty boots or a bulky raincoat without ever needing them? The answer: Too many times. I know what you’re thinking – The time you don’t bring them is the time you’ll need them, and while that may be true, bear in mind that many hotels offer complimentary umbrellas!
Other times you have to get creative to save space without compromising on necessities. For example, If you’re headed towards humidity and know you’ll look like one of those little troll dolls without a hairdryer, then book a hotel that provides one. Or if a flat iron is your saving grace, find a travel-sized alternative. Oh, and I know it’s not ideal, but if you’re really trying to up your minimalist game, you must come to terms with hotel shampoo and conditioner. You can always stash an emergency can of dry shampoo or dry conditioner in your purse if that eases your anxiety a touch.
In terms of your travel wardrobe, the mix and match method is totally where it’s at. That way, you can wear some of the same essential garments without looking like you’re wearing the same outfit twice (sneaky, sneaky).
Some of the best advice I’ve ever received as a traveling businesswoman was to invest in a packing cube. If you haven’t heard of packing cubes yet, well I’ve got news for you! They’re small fabric containers used for keeping your belongings organized and compact. They’re small enough to fit several in one carry-on bag, and even offer a TSA-approved quart-sized toiletry bag! When I first tried them out, all I could think was: ‘Where have you been all my life?!’
The Essential Smart Travel Packing List
When you’re overwhelmed at work or simply a mom working out of state (which is overwhelming in itself), there’s no reason to make your business trip packing list more complicated than it needs to be.
Of course, the amount you pack depends on the length of your trip. To make it simple, the following outline is an example of a packing list for a woman on a four-day business trip. And of course, this all goes in a carry-on bag unless you absolutely need to check a bag!
- 3 Blouses
- 2 Lightweight T-Shirts or Tanks
- 1 Blazer or Suit Coat
- 1 Skirts and 1 Pair of Dress Pants
- 1 Pair of Jeans or Leggings
- 1 Dress
- 2 Bras
- 4 Pairs of Socks
- 4 Pairs of Underwear
- 1 Business-Appropriate Pair of Shoes
- Minimal (but carefully selected) Accessories
*Save a little more space by making the most out of your travel clothing – Wear your jeans or leggings, a T-shirt, a sweater or jacket (if needed), and a pair of casual shoes to the airport!
- Comb or Brush
- Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Floss
- Makeup Essentials
- Small Pill Kit
- Glass or Contacts (if needed)
- Pads or Tampons (if needed)
- Dry Shampoo and Conditioner
- Phone Charger
- Laptop, Charger, and Laptop Bag
- Travel Adapter (if needed)
- Boarding Pass
- Copy of Your Itinerary
- Book, Journal, or Notebook
- Water Bottle
- Business Cards
5 Travel Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier
- Stay Loyal To One Airline
Airlines take loyalty super seriously and believe me; you don’t want to miss out on the perks of being a faithful flyer. Not only are you more likely to get sweet upgrades and frequent flier miles, but once you get ‘status’ on an airline, they offer tons of other bennies that make airports seem a little less painful.
- Avoid Checking A Bag
This might be a challenge, but it’s well worth the struggle of squishing all your belongings into the confines of one small carry-on bag when you don’t have to waste time at the baggage carousel. And don’t even get me started on lost or misplaced luggage – That’s one way to ruin a trip real fast.
- Wear Your Bulkiest Shoes And Clothes On The Plane
If you absolutely need bulky shoes or clothes, wear them on the plane to save some space in your carry-on bag. Remember: You don’t need a different pair of shoes for every day you’re gone!
- Get TSA Pre And Global Entry
No more being herded around like barefoot cattle – TSA Pre and Global Entry will make you feel like the powerful rockstar businesswoman that you are! TSA Pre doesn’t require you to lose your shoes (or your dignity), and you get through lightning fast!
- Bring Your Own Snacks
Peanuts and pretzels will only get you so far. Grab some of your favorite munchies (preferably something healthy that won’t bog you down), so you don’t arrive with a rumbling belly.
A Final Word For Women In Business Traveling A Lot
Whether you’re reading this specifically for working mom tips or general beauty care advice for travel, there’s one golden rule that should always be obeyed: Never enter an airport without body wipes, face wipes, and deodorant wipes on hand (add dry shampoo and dry conditioner to the mix and you’re good to glow!). It’d be tragic to see all of your efforts foiled by a spur of the moment dinner straight from the airport. Get fresh fast right in the airport bathroom, so no one has to know how bad the guy sitting next to you on the plane smelled.