Everyone has the packing essentials they never travel without, but the list can look a little different for business travelers, who tend to take shorter, more frequent trips and must juggle packed schedules once they touch down at their destination.
Business travelers need to stay organized, connected, comfortable, and well-rested as they shuffle between time zones. Anything that helps achieve this balance makes for a happier – and more effective – businessperson, so before you send your most trusted employee off to the international office, make sure she has these products and services packed.
There are the obvious options, like a reliable, expandable carry-on suitcase and a portable battery pack, but also consider smart and innovative additions like work shoes you can actually walk a whole day in and a notebook that saves all your meeting scribbles to the cloud.
Here are 12 things that should be on every business traveler’s packing list.
While over-ear wireless headphones offer better sound quality, earbuds are better suited for travel when you have limited bag space. The battery life of these earbuds is five hours (15 hours with the charging case) and once you’re off the plane, you can make clear phone calls because they’re optimized with four-microphone technology. They’re also Alexa-, Siri-, and Google Assistant-compatible. For an affordable, under-$100 option, check out these SoundCore wireless earbuds from Anker.
A foldable Bluetooth keyboard
If you’re not packing your laptop but want to get some work done, this foldable keyboard that can connect to your tablet or phone will let you do so without taking up as much space. It’s light and sturdy, but a drawback to its portability is that the key positions are squeezed together, so typing might not be as seamless of a process as usual. Still, the convenience might be worth the compromise.
A battery pack
It’s always a good idea to have a battery pack on hand when you travel, and this doesn’t change when you travel for business. While there are many battery packs on the market to choose from, our pick is Jackery’s because its built-in cable charges your phone twice as fast as the original charger, and it’s neither so small that it can only charge your device once nor so bulky that it weighs you down.
Performance workwear that never wrinkles
- Ministry of Supply/Instagram
Instead of worrying about how you’re going to pack your best suit without damaging it, simply get one that always stays wrinkle-free. Ministry of Supply’s stretchy, comfortable, and water-resistant suits and dresses prove that you can have it all, without paying more than you would for normal workwear. The styles are sleek and classic, so you’ll always be prepared for meetings, coffee chats, and lunches.
A fast pass through airport security
Seasoned business travelers will already have TSA Pre-Check to help them breeze through the nightmare that is airport security, but another security service that’s worth adding on if you want to save even more time is CLEAR. The CLEAR lane at the terminal verifies your identity with a biometric screening (a fingerprint or eye scan) so you can skip the part of the line where the TSA officer checks your ID.
An expandable carry-on bag
You want a carry-on bag that will comfortably fit your clothes, last through countless trips, and is easy to maneuver. Travelpro’s suitcases are a flight crew staple because of their organized compartments, durable nylon exterior, and signature MagnaTrac technology that keeps the bags rolling in one straight line. This one also comes with a removable garment bag.
A travel pillow
Business travel means putting your body through its paces and realizing quality sleep is a precious commodity that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Recover and recharge in the plane or bus with the Trtl travel pillow, which will keep your neck supported for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. It might look a little strange, but it’s soft and comfortable, not to mention easy to store.
A travel wallet
Checking in to your hotel or flight becomes much less stressful when you’re not fumbling for your documents and you know exactly where they are. This wallet organizes everything you need as you travel between offices and airports: your passport, boarding pass, bills, cards, and IDs. It even comes with a small pen so you’ll always be prepared to sign documents or fill out forms.
A good unlimited data plan
- Derick Anies/Unsplash
T-Mobile’s unlimited plan is the best of the major carriers because you get 50 GB of 4G LTE data and unlimited talk and text. You still get unlimited 2G data and text in more than 200 countries, so you never have to deal with hotspots and new SIM cards and can start connecting with people immediately. Select flights will also offer free Wi-Fi for T-Mobile customers.
Comfortable work shoes
- Wolf & Shepherd/Instagram
For men, Wolf & Shepherd makes beautiful Italian leather dress shoes that you can actually run in – the founder confirmed this claim by wearing them during the 2018 Running of the Bulls in Spain. They feature sheepskin lining, plush memory foam insoles, and an “HDeva” heel that absorbs the shock of heel strikes. They’re pricey but worth the comfort and you’ll find yourself wearing them for any work occasion, travel-related or not.
For women, the Everlane Day Glove is the flat that truly fits like a glove. These simple, rounded leather flats come in a variety of versatile colors and can transition seamlessly from office to dinner. With a back pull tab, small side vents, and a cushioned insole, they’re just as functional as they are stylish.
A small smart notebook
Rocketbook combines the convenience and satisfying feeling of physical note-taking with the organization and eco-friendliness of digital note-taking. After you write in the pages with the included pen, you can send your notes to your cloud service of choice, then wipe the pages clean and use them all over again. You’ll never lose notes in the shuffle of traveling with this smart notebook.
Germs abound in the airplane and hotel room, and you’ll be shaking a lot of hands. Keep yourself and others healthy with a quick rub of hand sanitizer. Purell’s one-ounce bottles are discreet and fit conveniently in your bag.