What You’ll Want to Pack on Your Next Business Trip

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Whether you are traveling for an interview, office visit or as part of your everyday occupation, understanding what to pack for a business-related trip is essential. However, business professionals can sometimes forget to pack items that may be detrimental to success. Here are a few items you may want to prioritize when packing for your next business trip.

Professional and Casual Clothing
What you wear to an interview or meeting can potentially be the difference between you receiving an offer or getting denied. Make sure to bring the proper professional attire to illustrate to others that you are competent and knowledgeable but also capable of dressing well. Pack blazers, several button-up shirts or blouses and several skirts or pairs of dress pants, as well a pair of professional looking shoes.

Ken Walsleben, a professor of entrepreneurial practice at Syracuse University’s Martin J.  Whitman School of Management, recommends traveling with spare professional clothing in your carry-on.

“It is smart to bring a spare shirt and tie in your carry-on bag in case you and your checked luggage get separated due to airline mistakes,” said Walsleben.

Travelers should also pack at least one casual outfit when conducting business travel. Packing casual wear is vital, especially if the company you are visiting or working for is hosting a casual social event.

Business Cards
Make sharing your contact information easier by bringing business cards. Be sure to place business cards in an easily accessible location, such as your carry-on, wallet or purse. Wherever you travel, it is a good practice to research the local customs surrounding business card exchanges.

Business Insider recently posted an article about the rules of business card exchange. Specifically, in Japan, the highest ranking individual offers his or her card first and the card should be received with two hands.

Electronics and Chargers
People often think electronic chargers can be replaced easily. However, not every location may have a specific charger, especially if the charger is for a computer. Shri Ramakrishnan, assistant director of graduate recruitment at Whitman, recommends travelers bring chargers along with laptops and cellphones.

“I have forgotten to pack my cellphone charger and had to buy a power-bank at the destination airport,” explained Ramakrishnan. “If you have a specific phone model that is not generic, then this could pose a major problem as it did for me. Charge all devices overnight and set a reminder on your phone to pick up the chargers in the morning and drop them into your bags.”

Cash
There may be nothing more frightening than being on a business trip and having a credit card stolen or stop working. Alexander McKelvie, department chair and associate professor of entrepreneurship, recommends that business travelers always bring cash along with credit cards and debit cards.

“Carry cash,” said Professor McKelvie. “You never know when you need cash for travel, food or anything else you might need. Having some cash to last you a day will give you flexibility and focus on doing what you need to do, rather than having to look for an ATM or relying on your credit or debit card.”

Passport
Going on an international business trip can be exciting but there is nothing like missing a flight because you left your passport at home. Be sure to pack your passport in a location that is accessible to you.

“Check your passport in advance to make sure that you have more than six months left before it expires,” said Professor McKelvie. “Some countries may not let you travel if your passport doesn’t have substantial time left on it. And getting a new passport is not a last-minute thing – so plan for that well in advance.”

Itinerary
According to Forbes, an itinerary helps the game plan of your trip to ensure that you have free time to enjoy the new city or country you are visiting. As a backup to your phone, a hard-copy itinerary of important names, numbers and addresses will assist in any emergency situations.

Along with contact information, reservation and confirmation numbers for flights and hotel rooms will expedite the process of checking in.

To avoid forgetting anything at home for an important business event, try constructing lists of essentials so nothing will be left behind. Or better yet print this list!

Byron Delarosa and Jennie May

Byron Delarosa is a graduate student studying accounting at the Whitman School. Jennie May is a sophomore in Whitman and Newhouse studying marketing, supply chain and public relations.

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