Packing List for Savvy Business Travel

The ultimate packing list for Savvy Business Travel has arrived!

This list has been updated 10/23/2018 and continues to be refined and perfected.

Form a practical standpoint successful business travel has a lot to do with two simple things: preparation & packing.

In this post you will find my tips on preparing for a business trip as well as an idea of what to pack.

Backpacking somewhere? Stay tuned for a special Packing List for Savvy Backpackers!


As soon as you know about your trip

  • Apply for a visa (countries like Brazil require a visa for entry)
  • Reserve hotels and flights
  • Check for any needed immunizations*
*On my first business trip, airline employees didn’t let me on my flight from Brazil to Panama because I hadn’t gotten my Yellow Fever vaccination. It was a miserable pain in the butt. Please learn from me.

1 week before trip

  • Tell your bank about your travels (Wells Fargo lets you do this using the phone app)
  • Share a copy of your itinerary with office and family (but not necessarily all over social media. You don’t want predators to know your house will be empty, do you?)
  • Set up voicemail and email automatic response
  • Download podcasts, Netflix, books

As you travel

  • Let your office and family know of your safe arrival
  • Keep receipts if necessary for business purposes (use a Dollar Store pencil bag to keep the receipts organized)
  • Take photos! Journal! You’ll be happy you did someday

Packing list

First things first, you’re going to need:

  • Hard shell all direction roller luggage, large
  • Hard shell all direction roller luggage, approved carry on size
  • Small laptop bag
  • Use packing cubes (!!) and durable ziplock baggies
Tip #1: Make sure the luggages are clearly marked (perhaps with colorful ribbon) and have your personal information (name, phone, email) on BOTH of them. And the ones that don’t roll in every direction are garbage. If you have a mono-direction roller it’s time for an upgrade.
Tip #2: Put (and forget about) a copy of your passport and your state ID in your large luggage. Hopefully you won’t ever need it, but you can thank me if/when you do actually need it.

In your large luggage:

  • Pharma: personal medications, probiotics, charcoal prescription pills, EmergenC, Dramamine, Advil PM, Tums, Band Aids, Neosporin, bug spray
  • Laundry: lint roller, de-wrinkle spray, Tide To-Go pen, castile soap, a few dryer sheets (for yummy smells that last)
  • Beautify: makeup & brushes, hair ties, brush, Q-Tips, makeup remover wipes, nail clipper & nail file, tweezers, face mask (self care is important am I right?)
  • Shower: shampoo & conditioner, razor, face wash, dry shampoo
  • Clothing: Ok so this obviously depends. But, always consider bringing a swimsuit, extra jacket, tons of underwear/socks, a smaller purse for going out/networking, and outfits that are not only comfortable but that also make you feel like you’re unstoppable
  • Work: name tag, brochures, flash drive with any important presentations, anything relevant for your position personally
  • Electronics: adaptor, back up charger/cord
  • Other: reusable straw(s), tiny umbrella (I am so happy to have it in Colombia during rainy season)
Note: All of these things have proven useful to me in my personal experiences. Furthermore, the list has been greatly reduced after a few months worth of international business travel. You need a lot less than you think you do. These items are highly recommended, but you can add or subtract items freely, depending.

In your small carry on luggage:

  • Quart sized bag: Lavender essential oil, chapstick, hand sanitizer, tissue, Dramamine, tums, ear plugs, sanitizing wipes
  • Eye cover & neck pillow
  • Sunglasses
  • Mints / gum
  • Journal, pen
  • Book
  • Snacks
  • Extra pair of thick socks (airplanes get cold!)

In your small laptop bag: 

  • Passport / ID
  • Proof of vaccines / visa
  • Laptop, mouse, tablet, cell phone, charger(s), headphones, FitBit
  • Water bottle with filter
Tip: I typically leave enough room in my small carry on luggage that I can put the laptop bag inside of it.

Are you well traveled? Got any good packing hacks? I would love to hear them. Please share your business trip must-have(s) in the comments below.

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Being Bohemia Business Casual is a collection juxtaposing the unconventional and professional. It’s an exploration of art and imagination peppered with the ordinary and routine. It’s more than surviving the 9 to 5 – it’s about thriving the 9 to 5. Join me as I navigate a budding career and the world around me as best as I know how.

5 thoughts on “Packing List for Savvy Business Travel

  1. Great article!
    -I carry my medications on me (I’ve had my luggage lost before).
    -Now a days, I carry a surgical maskin a small in a ziploc, in my carry-on.
    -Include all hotel phone numbers and dates of your stay, on your itinerary.
    -The airlines or travel agencies aren’t permitted to release any information about your travel. In case there is international incident, designate a couple of emergency contacts to the agency or airline/s. This will permit them to share information if necessary.

    Happy Travels!
    P.S. I love the reusable straw idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great additions! I love the tip about having all hotel phone numbers and dates of stay on the itinerary – having this information has helped me clear immigration a lot faster.


  2. Great tips! I wish I had this when I was first starting out!

    Here are a few additional tips I have picked up over the years:

    – Look up currency conversion rates before you leave. I create a little cheat sheet and keep it in my wallet for easy ATM transactions.

    – Check the Weather! If you are going to a place like China, and visiting different cities, you may need to pack for different climates.

    – In the rare case that you lose your luggage and your passport, make sure your coworkers have a copy of your passport and any other important documents.

    – When you leave your hotel, grab one of their business cards that has their address on it. It could come in handy if you need to ask for directions and you don’t speak the language.

    – Download your flight carrier apps. I had a 13 hour flight with no built in screens for entertainment. The only way you could access Tv or Movies was through their app, on your device. However, my tablet was a google product, and while in china I couldn’t access the google play store. As a result, I couldn’t download the app, and has to sit through a 13 hour flight with no digital entertainment.

    – Print out all reservations, and hotel information. You never know when you won’t have WIFI and you will need to tell your taxi driver where to take you.

    – I carry a scarf in my carry on bag. Sometimes it gets cold on the plane, and it is nice to have to cover your nose and mouth if you are in a smelly situation.

    – I carry Ibuprofen in my carry on bag.

    Most importantly, never leave your hotel without tissues in your bag. You do not want to get caught in a bathroom abroad without any toilet paper. You only make that mistake once!

    Safe Travels!!


    1. Amazing tips! How could I forget about the scarf in the carry on?! That’s a MUST have! Thanks for contributing – the list is stronger with those details you’ve provided!


  3. Lots of really helpful tips…how could I have fogotten about carrying tissue when journeying around the city? I have been in that uncomfortable situation too often to not have thought of that!


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