Business Luggage

Written by James Lyons
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Having worked in corporate jobs that require extensive travel, I can personally vouch for the need to have exceptional business luggage. I used to travel every day of the business week. I would leave New York City for Chicago on Sunday night, fly from Chicago to Pittsburgh on Monday night, from Pittsburgh to Baltimore Tuesday night, take a cab to Washington DC on Wednesday night, fly from Washington DC to Atlanta Thursday night, then fly back to New York City on Friday night.

Good business luggage is a crucial tool for traveling professionals. I suggest having at least two pieces of business luggage--one for the overnight, two, and three days trips, and one for the extended trips. Both pieces should be compact, functional, and easy to cart around (i.e. has wheels).

Business Trip Tips

Business trips are investments in your overall career and investments in your company's future. How professional looking is your luggage? Does it look as professional as your suit, you shoes, or your briefcase? It should. Every piece of your ensemble communicates a specific message to your clients, your colleagues, and your superiors. Shabby business luggage might send the signal that you have little interest in presenting yourself or the company in a professional manner.

Every company has a different organizational culture. Some companies have rigid, stiff corporate culture's that require employees to wear suits every day, restrict their internet access, and encourage micromanagement. Other companies are very loose and "laid back." In addition, people dress differently in different parts of the country. If you work out of New York City and have a client in Seattle, it might not be the best idea to wear an Armani suit when you visit this client.

You want to pack clothes that will make your hosts feel at ease. Your luggage should be designed in such a way that it helps keep the clothes free of wrinkles, provides optimal packing space, but isn't terribly cumbersome to tote around. Pack one to two extra shirts, ties, and/or blouses to account for any food accidents. If you're traveling to a trade show, pack some comfortable shoes. You'll need them.

A Few More Business Packing Tips

Do you frequently relax with your clients and co-workers on your business trips? If so, you should bring some business casual attire. In this case, it's more important to bring extra shirts than extra pants given that shirts are more visible and less flexible. The right suit pants can be worn with a business casual shirt.

Try not to wear a suit to any after-hours functions, unless the occasion calls for it. In after-hours settings, suits appear standoffish. It often gives off one of two impressions--you feel beneath your colleagues and clients and want to impress them or you feel superior and you're trying to remind them. The business world in general is quickly slanting towards casual and discarding the once necessary business suit.

If you have to go "out of pocket" on your business trips, it's advisable to bring an envelope or a folder for your business-related receipts. In addition, if you plan on staying in one location for at least a week, find out what amenities your hotel provides. Find out if the hotel supplies irons, ironing boards, and hair dryers. These items are bulky and take up the limited amount of space in your business luggage.

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