I’ve got a trip coming up soon, I’m heading to Dallas next week on a five day business trip. I’m really excited to get away from the cold Atlantic Canadian weather, and this particular business trip should be less action packed than they typically are.
I tend towards minimalist trip packing on business trips for a lot of reasons. For one thing it’s easier. Having less clothing means a smaller suitcase, a small suitcase is easy for me to maneuver. I’m a small person and lugging a large suitcase in and out of a car, taxi or hotel gets tedious. Packing like a minimalist also allows me to not have to check any bags. This makes customs checking a lot easier and allows me to handle short connection times with ease.
It’s also cheaper, since I rarely need to pay extra fees for travelling with more luggage. I also have less chance of my bag getting lost, since I have it with me at all times. Finally, it’s just simpler. With a little bit of planning and some forethought, I can maintain a simple, functional suitcase with everything I need.
Top Tips for Minimalist Packing
Put Some Thought Into It
Packing for every trip starts with a little bit of research. How long are you going to be gone? What type of events are you going to be attending? What’s the temperature like where you’re headed? I’m going on a five day trip, with mostly business casual or casual settings, and a few formal settings. This will effect what type of clothing I bring.
Dress Like a Minimalist
For business travel, I keep things basic. I don’t bring jewellery, because I won’t end up wearing it. I also don’t pack “statement pieces” and instead stick to interchangeable tops and pants that aren’t loud colors or prints, so that I can make a bunch of different outfits with very few pieces. Any top I bring must be able to be worn in a business setting, but also pass easily in a casual setting. The same goes for bottoms. As cute as that new skirt is, if I can only wear it once or with one specific item, it won’t make it into my suitcase. Bonus points for: dresses that can be worn casually or in a business setting, a whole outfit with only one article of clothing!
Ditch the Bulky Items
I’m an avid runner, but I never take running shoes on my business trips. They take up way too much space in my carry on. Instead, I’ll run barefoot on the hotel treadmill. I also never bring a hair dryer, for the same reason. If there’s one in the hotel room, great, if not, I’ve perfected a few hair styles that don’t require a hair dryer or straightener/curler. Bulky shoes like boots get worn on the plane ride, to take up less space in my bag.
The Contents of My Minimalist Suitcase
I’m forever refining my minimalist suitcase, but this is what I’ll typically end up taking with me:
- In My Purse: My Nexus 7 tablet (her maiden voyage!), ear plugs, advil, moisturizer, scarf (for cold planes), wallet, passport, head phones, business cards.
- On My Person: Jeans (suitable for business casual settings), tank top, hoodie, boots.
In My Suitcase
I use a typical carry on style suitcase. Nothing special.
- Undergarments and socks
- A “used clothing” fold up bag to keep spent clothing separate
- Cosmetics case with toiletries, medication, hair products, stain spot remover and single use laundry detergent (you never know)
- One pajama top, pair of pajama pants, and pajama shorts.
- Bathing suit
- One set of work out clothing (will rinse if needed), Garmin running watch + heart rate monitor.
- Cell phone/tablet charger
- One pair of formal flats, one pair of sneakers
- Hair Brush
- Pants: One pair formal dress pants, one pair dark rinse jeans, one pair leggings.
- Dress: One all purpose dress for formal or casual wear.
- Tops: Three tops suitable for formal or casual wear, one for casual wear.
- Blazers: At least two blazers. Mix up wearing tops and blazers together or just tops alone for many looks. One blazer should pass for casual wear.
Earlier I mentioned factoring in the weather while travelling. For this trip I’ll be spending the majority of my time freezing my butt off in an air conditioned building, so normal attire still applies here. If there’s space, I’ll pack an extra pair of work appropriate shorts just in case any of the events take place outside, or I get a chance to sight see.
For more information about travelling like a minimalist, check out the queen of minimalism and my inspiration, The Everyday Minimalist. Also, check out this cool article from the New York Times of how a flight attendant packs her bag for tips on how to actually fit all of your stuff in a carry on suitcase.
Do you take a lot of stuff with you when you travel? I want to know!