How to Survive a Business Trip on Your Carry On

If you are a fan of movies, then you might have seen a film called Up in the Air. The scene where George Clooney walks his new proteje through what to pack in a carry on and why she only needs one for a business trip is memorable. The truth about business travel, more so when done frequently, is that you have to learn how to survive it on your carry on alone. Why? First of all because of costs – it’s cheaper to only bring a carry on when you travel for a short while. Second, because things happen, baggage gets lost, and you will be forced to deal with only what you brought in your carry on. So whether you check your bag or not, you’ll have pack as if your carry on is all you’ve got.

The caveat about a business trip is that you have less space than on a normal, leisure trip. Why? Because you need your laptop to work, and that takes space. You need a power bank to stay connected when you don’t have time to recharge your phone during meetings, and all those gadgets will take up space.

But other than your gadgets, what do you need to survive your business trip on your carry on? Here’s a list of what you should pack, to help you through any emergencies, including delays, traffic jams, and so on:

  1. Minimal Toiletries to Freshen up – make sure you are aware of in-flight limitations about what you can bring. If you’re a man, things will probably be a lot easier, but if you need to stick some make up in there, you’ll have to pay extra attention to your liquids. If you want to keep it on the budget – buy containers for the airport, and fill them up with your toiletries, rather than getting the travel sized items (which tend to be a lot more expensive)
  2. Pack one or two changes of clothes – a business suit with spare shirts/blouses would do. Regardless of gender, keep it versatile – find something that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Underwear and other items, including accessories should also be on your list.
  3. Spare shoes – I recommend wearing a more comfortable pair while you travel, and pack a pair that can go easily from day to night. Even if your comfortable shoes work through that transition, bring a spare. Take it from someone who’s had shoes break on several trips. Having a spare saves you time, and it’s faster than having to buy a new pair. Cheaper too. Plus, who wants to walk around town with a broken shoe, trying to find a replacement?
  4. Pack a towel – I prefer the microfiber towels and I get mine from Snappy Towels. The reason I prefer these is because they absorb a lot of liquid, they dry easily, and they are super light and easy to pack. They won’t take too much space in a carry on, and if you’re stuck in a plane for too long, or your flight is delayed, and you don’t have time to stop by your hotel before your business meeting, you can still wash up and freshen up real quickly in a restroom. Plus, if your hotel disappoints and you either don’t like their towels, or you don’t feel comfortable with them, you’re saved.
  5. Noise cancelling headphones / earplugs, sleeping mask, and a neck pillow – when you spend a lot of time on the road, getting enough rest is extremely important. Crying babies, noisy travel companions, long layovers in airports, if you need to nap or sleep, you have to make sure you can. Travel takes its toll on you, and you shouldn’t add up to it.
  6. Splurge items – Once you’re done packing all of this, if you still have space in your bag (and you’re not over the weight limit), add any other items you don’t need but help you relax, feel better, and just enjoy your trip. Like clothes you love, or a pair of trainers.

Hope you’ve found this list helpful. If you have anything to add to it, please do so in the comments. If you have any crazy travel stories, we’d love to hear those too, especially if they involve losing your luggage, or having to survive on a carry on!

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