Packing For A Business Trip | 48 Hours in Belfast

Thursday 1 August 2019

I'm going to throw it out there, I actually love packing. It might be an illness.

Something about the enforced restriction of trying to fit everything into a carry on - I almost never check a bag, because who wants to hang around an airport for longer than strictly necessary? The challenge of trying to bring everything you need and edit down your wardrobe. It's all sort of appealing.

The Internet is awash with checklists and packing videos (looove a bit of packing porn!) but surprisingly, there isn't all that much about packing for a business trip as a woman. I'm all about keeping it simple and travelling light, so when I need to travel for business I plan out what to take meticulously.

The real key is to take a good look at two things before you fly - the itinerary and the weather. These will dictate what you need to take in order to be comfortable and on point, whatever you'll be doing. Then aim to pick pieces within one colour palette that can be combined together in different ways.

Go for trusted, versatile basics that work hard for you - remember that simplicity is always in style. Packing for business travel doesn't need to be a headache.

Here's are my essential items for business travel and my wardrobe edit for a three day conference stay in Dublin during July.

  • Three pairs of smart-casual trousers - a geometric patterned silk pair from Maison Scotch (I always try to wear silk trousers to fly in - they are as comfortable as joggers but much smarter!), a blush tailored pair that I discovered on my last Primark run, and a plain black crepe pair with leather cuffed ankles from Joseph. All these trousers are chic but also really comfortable, ideal for travel. 

  • Three basic tops - a black cold shoulder blouse from Topshop, a long sleeved breton top from Petit Bateau, and a cream silk shirt from H&M

  • Two pairs of shoes - pair of backless black tasselled loafers from Primark (again, I travelled in these as they are super easy to slip off in the airport), and a pair of block heeled sandals from M&S. Generally, shoes are where it falls apart when packing, it's too easy to overpack them. I stuck to one pair of flats and one low heel.
  • Two bags - I always take my black Covet Waverley from Stella and Dot when I travel. It's a stunning bag which can be worn three ways. I also had my larger Longchamp Le Pliage tote for use a travel bag and day bag

  • One jacket - a black crepe blazer with leather trim from Whistles. Simple layers are a great way to be on point and practical, too. A black blazer is a basic essential, and a light jacket in a soft material works well for flying in. 

  • One dress - a black silk mesh cocktail dress from Whistles. As we had a formal dinner and drinks one evening, I needed something I could dress up and an LBD is always a classic. 

  • Accessories - another area where I try to pack very light! I just took a couple of necklaces - my clear quartz bullet pendant from Kiss The Future, which I can wear on it's own or layer with my gold bar necklace which is engraved with 'T&R' to keep my children close when I'm away. I also took two simple bracelets - my Rebel Stone bracelet from Stella and Dot, and gold nail bracelet, again they pair together well or look great separately. I also took the white sapphire ring my grandmother gave me to add a bit of sparkle for the evening event. 
  • Vest tops, bras, pants and a pair of leggings. These are for sleeping and hanging out in my hotel room - you have to have some comfies!
  • A light cotton dressing gown

  • Electrical items - charger leads and USB plugs, and tablet stand. Obviously, keeping your gadgets juiced up is important. I like to have a stand so I can use my iPad to watch Netflix in the evening or listen to 6Music via BBC Sounds in the morning while I get ready.

  • GHD Platinum Hair Stylers. I couldn't leave home without my hair stylers, which are so quick and easy to create a sleek straight look or relaxed waves. The carry case folds out to be a heat resistant mat too. 
  • This little pouch contains a few miscellaneous items - a Magnitone Wipe Out reusable makeup remover cloth (these are amazing as they take your makeup off with just water, so you don't need a huge pack of wipes or a big bottle of micellar water), some Invisibobble hair ties and kirby grips, my Japonesque HD Mini Lash Curler, dental floss, my Beauty Artisan rose gold face massage tool (essential for puffy travel face!), a travel make-up brush set from Masqd, a little Stella & Dot pouch to keep my jewellery safe in and my Fairywill travel electric toothbrush
  • My SpaceNK travel case is one of the most useful items I've ever bought - it's clear sided, so you don't have to empty things out into a separate plastic bag when you go through security, but its well made and big enough to hold all of my travel toiletries and beauty products

  • Pretty much all of the beauty products I took with me were either travel-sized or in a really portable format like a crayon or stick, so they didn't take up much space, I love how easy it is now to get travel size versions of my favourite beauty essentials!

  • Toiletries I also try and streamline as much as possible, although I still want to keep up my skincare regime while I'm away from home. Luckily I've managed to source some fab travel size products which really deliver
    • Nivea Invisible For Black And White Deodorant (travel size) - a good choice for not marking up clothes
    • Travalo 'Milano' leather perfume atomiser - something I always carry with me, you can easily load up the integral chamber from your regular perfume bottles
    • Optrex Eyedew Dazzling Eye Drops - I often get gritty, sore eyes when I'm travelling or tired so these are a must have
    • Ren Active 7 Radiant Eye Gel - I got these travel size Ren products from a BA First Class Amenities Kit and was really pleased as I love the brand
    • Ultrasun Face 50+ Cream - I always wear high SPF on my face, even in cloudy Belfast so I wouldn't leave home without sunscreen
    • Ren Neroli & Grapefruit Hand and Body Cream - a beautiful uplifting scent and another multi-tasker
    • Ren Time To Sleep Pillow Spray - I often find it hard to sleep in strange hotel beds, so my relaxing essential oil pillow spray and a sleep mask have to come with me
    • Philosophy Purity 3-in-1 Cleanser - A beautiful product for cleansing that doesn't leave skin harsh and stripped. 
    • Philosophy Amazing Grace - A shampoo and shower gel in one that can also be used in the bath cuts down on the amount of products needed
    • Merci Handy Lollipop Hand Cleansing Gel - A hand sanitiser is essential on your travels, as airports and aeroplanes are basically a germ party
    • Keihl's Ultra Facial Cream - A deeply hydrating and primer moisturiser ideal for travel-parched, thirsty skin
    • Natural Spa Factory Wanderbalm - This little pot of coconut oil goodness acts as a night time face mask and a deep hair conditioner, as well as a teeth whitening treatment for me when I travel
    • Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or - A shot of shimmery goodness to illuminate and sculpt limbs and create smooth and shimmering hair for the formal dinner I'm heading to
    • Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Eye Cream - My undereyes are always tired, dark, puffy and sad so this can give them a boost while I'm sleeping
    • BareMinerals SkinLongevity Vital Power Infusion - A super serum to wake up and energise travel-weary
    • Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste
  • Emergency snacks - business travel can be unpredictable - you’re never entirely sure when you might be fed - so I always pack some snacks. These Nairn dark chocolate oat cakes are ideal as they come in little packs of four, and they’re delicious.

This all packed nicely into my carry on from IT Luggage using packing cubes (you can find lots of options on Amazon) and I also took my Le Pliage which is the ultimate travel bag - hard-wearing, very practical and stylish enough to use for meetings at the other end.

Within my tote bag, I keep a smaller handbag to contain all of my personal items and make them easier to grab. The Covet Waverley is the only handbag I take on my travels as it can be used three ways - as a small cross body or shoulder bag, folded out into a larger messenger bag or with the strap removed as a clutch, which is how I wore it to the dinner and drinks event.

This contains my personal essentials - purse, car keys, headphones, my phone and other bits.

In the rest of the bag, I just have a few other items that I need to keep close. My work iPad Air is a must so I can take notes in the conference and check up on emails. It's in this khaki leopard padded case I picked up in the Paul Smith warehouse sale last year. I also carry an empty metal water bottle which I refill once I'm through security checks - the struggle to stay hydrated is real!

Then I have my cashmere travel wrap from Handpicked Collection - it's perfect for adding another light but warm layer in-flight or any time it's needed and is so soft it's like snuggling with an alpaca. Ideal for a chilly flight!

I think I took just the right amount - everything got worn, but all the pieces combined together as well, so I had options depending on how I felt on the day. Packing light is an art and something that continues to fascinate me.

What are your must-haves for business travel?

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