7 Tips To Packing For Those Last Minute Business Trip

As a busy business traveller, you don’t always have a lot of time – or a lot of notice – to plan for your next trip.

Unlike casual travellers who plan for months in advance and leave for the airport 5 hours before their flight, you’re way too busy and way too experienced to spend that kind of time on an itinerary.

But you can’t be caught with your proverbial pants down, either. Here are 7 packing tips to make sure you’re ready to travel at the drop of a hat:

1. Renew your passport

I recently had to make a last-minute trip to Vietnam. The problem? My passport was due to expire in less than six months, making it impossible for me to obtain a Vietnamese visa. I had to pay a rush fee to get my passport renewed in a few days, which cost about 5x as much as renewing it in the government-allotted 60-day time period.

Expired passports are expensive and require a bunch of pain-in-the-butt paperwork to remedy, so make sure yours is always up to date. Many countries won’t issue visas if your passport will expire soon, so if you’ve got less than a year’s validity, it’s time to renew.

2. Roll your clothing

You’re not still folding your clothing when you pack, are you? If you need to save space in your suitcase and pack quickly, rolling each individual item of clothing is the way to go (yes, even underwear!).

While backpacking through Southeast Asia, I could wake up, shower, and roll up my entire (enormous) backpack in just 23 minutes. Don’t be afraid to roll tightly to save even more space.

3. Pack like Noah’s Ark

Save time and space by packing no more than 2 of every item, i.e. two t-shirts, two pairs of pants, two dresses, and two pairs of shoes (no, this rule does not apply to underwear).

Limiting yourself in this way will make the packing process much faster when you’re called for a last minute business trip.

4. Take a carry-on only

If your trip is only for a few days, there’s no reason to check baggage (ladies, I’m talking to you here!). Take clothes that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits, leave bulky items at home, and breathe a sigh of relief when you can bypass the baggage claim at your destination.

5. Buy it there

Whatever you need, chances are you can simply buy it there. After all, you’re not travelling to Mars, you’re simply travelling for business. Wherever you go, they’ll probably have shampoo.
Acceptations to this rule: prescription meds, makeup, and facial moisturizer if you’re heading to Asia (it’s difficult to find face cream and other toiletries that don’t include bleach as a main ingredient).

6. Carry cash

As a young traveller visiting New York City for the first time, my mother warned me not to carry too much cash. The logic behind this advice is sound – after all, the more cash you carry, the more you stand to lose if you get mugged or what have you.

But as an older (wiser?) traveller, I have to disagree with mom on this one. If you have to leave on a last minute business trip, having cash on hand will save you a ton of time en route to the airport and during your journey. You can skip the trip to the ATM, get through customs faster, and exchange your money the second you see an exchange counter in the airport.

7. Wear your weight

Heavy coats, bulky shoes, books, laptops, and any item of significant weight should be worn on your person. When I travel, my suitcase is always underweight and my carry-on is heavy as hell.

Should you need to check baggage, this prevents the dreaded “overweight baggage” fiasco that always ends in you opening your suitcase, holding up the entire line, and removing one item at a time until you’re finally within the weight limit (wait – that hasn’t only happened to me, right?).

Either that, or paying exorbitant extra weight baggage fees, which is no way to start off an already stressful trip.

I’m not gonna lie – last minute business trips can feel stressful, sure, but they’re also kind of exciting. I love minding my own business in my home town, then suddenly and inexplicitly being whisked away to some exotic foreign locale (which, let’s be honest, is sometimes Cleveland).

By always packing less than you need, wearing your heavy items, rolling your clothing, and buying must-have’s at your destination, you’ll be able to fully embrace the joys of spontaneous travel.

See also 11 Pack Hacks for your Next Business Trip and Things To Always Carry On.

Rebecca Anne Nguyen is a freelance writer and the Founder of TheHappyPassport.com, an inspiration site for solo female travellers.