Hate the thought of packing for your latest business trip? Whether it’s short hops around the country or long-haul international trips, there’s no need to stress if you follow our guide to packing light…
Get the right suitcase
Top of the list is investing in quality luggage. Look for a lightweight, durable carry-on wheelie bag – with dedicated toiletries and laptop compartments – which conforms to luggage allowances for both domestic and international flights. If you’re a budget traveller, keep in mind that cut-price airlines often allow less carry-on luggage than their more pricey counterparts, so check height, width, and weight restrictions with your favourite airline before you make your purchase.
If you prefer to travel with a separate laptop bag, get one with a sturdy shoulder strap to protect your back and shoulders, and free up your hands.
Lose the laptop
Rather than lugging around a bulky laptop, travel with a netbook or tablet instead. They may have less computing power, but they’re more than adequate for web browsing, checking emails, and looking at documents. Netbooks are essentially a mini version of your laptop, whereas tablets use smartphone operating systems, so you interact with them less like you would with your computer, and more like you do with your smartphone.
If you do extensive typing – which can get cumbersome on a tablet’s tiny keyboard – invest in a fold-up travelling keyboard.
Get a gadget bag
Travelling nowadays means taking along a plethora of hi-tech gadgets. To keep things neat and tidy, pack all your gadgets in one small bag – make-up cases work well for this purpose, but you can also find special gadget organisers from most Cape Union Marts or other travel stores.
Don’t forget to pack the following:
- Smartphone charger (a back-up charger is a good idea, too)
- Laptop charger
- An all-in-one charger for all devices
- Plug adapter, if you’re travelling out of the country
- Kindle or tablet reader
- Digital camera with spare memory cards
- Apple’s Airport Express (if you have a MacBook Air and iPad)
- Portable notebook lock
Get a folder for important documents
Keep all your important travel documents – passport, visas, vaccination certificates, flight details, etc. – safe in a watertight travel document wallet. Don’t forget to keep electronic copies of these, too, which you can access via your tablet or smartphone.
Dress for success
Go for clothes in dark, neutral shades (grey, navy and black) – they won’t show the dirt as quickly as paler shades will. Choose garments made from wrinkle-free fabrics. Avoid matching suits and rather opt for mix-and-match; this way you can get away with packing just one jacket. To save space in your case, wear your jacket or carry it over your arm if it’s too hot to wear.
Avoid white shirts when travelling – a bit of turbulence on your flight and you could end up with a very nasty, very obvious coffee stain! Gentlemen, striped shirts in neutral tones are good and ladies, wear blouses which work with smart and casual looks.
When it comes to shoes, go for footwear which can double up as a casual or more formal look. For men, this is a plain pair of brogues and for the ladies, a pair of stylish flat ballet pumps. Take one pair of casual active shoes with you, as well. Ladies, if – and only if – you have space, sneak in a pair of wedge heels. And resist the temptation to pack precious jewellery pieces – alas, they could get lifted from your suitcase. Go for cheap and cheerful costume jewellery, instead.
Pack from heavy to light
Believe it or not, there’s an art to packing a suitcase. Put shoes at the bottom, then your toiletries bag (if your case doesn’t have a dedicated toiletries compartment) and gadget bag, followed by bulkier clothes of denim and wool fabrics, and shirts and dresses on top.
Bring a day bag
Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to get some time off at your destination to do some sightseeing, or maybe your company or clients have organised some tourist activities for you. A small backpack or leisure bag may come in handy – fold it flat and pack it at the very bottom of your suitcase.