Travel, especially business travel, presents a myriad of challenges, not the least of which relate to clothing. In that respect three of the biggest obstacles are:
1. Packing the right clothes.
2. Packing enough, but not too much.
3. Dealing with wrinkles (or, better yet, trying to prevent wrinkled clothing.)
Knowing what to pack depends mostly on how well you know your destination or destinations (culture, weather, etc.) and the extent to which you can anticipate what you will be doing and who you will be doing it with. The less experienced among us, more often than not, end up packing more than we need, presumably to be prepared for anything. Maybe that’s the Boy Scout in each of us. Be prepared.
But the good Boy Scout also knows that if you’re going on a 50-mile hike, you want the pack on your back to be as light as possible. So you carefully plan ahead of time and bring only what you need. The time honored motto “be prepared” is no more appropriate than when applied to the business traveler.
With regard to the issue of wrinkled clothing, the answer both to how you pack and what you pack. We all know that some fabrics travel better than others. Fiber content, how a cloth is woven, and many other factors contribute to wrinkle resistance. Wool is more wrinkle resistant than cotton as is cloth that is more tightly woven rather than a loose weave. Most synthetic fibers are particularly wrinkle resistant as are some natural fiber fabrics that have been treated to be either no-iron or “easy care.”
For business casual, resort wear, and golf, the new microfiber pants from Tom James provide a wrinkle-free, easy care, and very comfortable option for those who can wear a ready-made size. For a modern, tailored-fit, dress casual shirt option, consider easy-care shirts by Report.
Packing Tips to prevent/reduce wrinkled clothing:
- Packing any jackets or shirts on hangers? Try covering each piece with plastic garment cover that you get from the dry-cleaner.
- Roll clothing, instead of folding whenever possible.
- Make use of packing sleeves, cubes, sweater bags, etc.
- Pack and use a handheld/travel size steamer.
One of my favorite bits of travel advice comes from frequent international traveler Jim H. who said, “I like to bring items attached to good memories. A hand-made linen pocket square with embroidery from a trip to Sestri Levante, Italy. A pair of Celtic cuff links my wife returned from Dublin with. Keepsakes that have fond memories attached to them.” If you have to be away from home so much, at least you can bring a little bit of home or the ones you love most with you.
More advice from Jim:
- Carry a pair of cuff links or silk knots as well as a small handful of collar stays in your briefcase. “The case never leaves my side and you never know whose day you might save besides your own.”
- When you think you have packed enough, remove something. You’d be surprised what you don’t need.
- Wear part of an outfit when you travel rather than pack it.
Joe B. is particularly fond of his black suede lace-up shoes for travel because they look smart with everything from jeans to formal wear. He also told me that his Global Entry TSA Pre Check card is a must for frequent travelers. “It saves me hours, days and weeks over the course of a year,” said Joe.
More travel tips that will make packing easier and simpler, save you time and may even save the day:
- Keep the variety of color and patterns of your clothing to a minimum. Choose clothing for ease of coordination and versatility.
- Put your passport in a shoe you plan to wear, then into the safe in your hotel room. On a recent trip to Scandinavia my sister-in-law left her passport in the hotel room safe. (She must not have known about the shoe idea.) Fortunately we had left the hotel only minutes earlier so it was easy to retrieve. Imagine the problem it might have been had she discovered the error two days later when trying to leave the country? Which leads to the next point…..
- Make a photo copy of your passport/driver’s license and keep the copies in a different bag than the originals.
- Put a business card on the inside of your bags.
- Stash an extra credit card somewhere other than your primary wallet/card holder.
- Put a colorful ribbon or some similarly unique identifier on any checked luggage, especially if it’s a black bag that looks like so many others – to make it more easily recognizable.
- Stick to your travel routine (where you put your license, etc.). Keep things in the same pockets, etc.
- It’s best not to check anything that you might need for the next day. Try to keep those things, including the next day’s clothing, in your carry-on.
- Last but not least, pack everything in a great piece of luggage, like the TUMI Alpha Two-wheeled Carry-on.
Incorporate these ideas and featured products and take the hassle out of travel, whether for business or pleasure.