Business travelers learn to pack light and live for many days out of a suitcase that the rest of the world might call an overnight bag. While that makes you easily mobile and allows you to carry your bag onto the plane, it can also make you a wrinkled, un-stylish mess. Travel lightly—and look good doing it—with these travel essentials for women. The single most important rule: take along clothing pieces that mix and match to keep your bag light.
You've got limited space in your carry-on, so packing clothing that can be mixed and matched is key for the business traveler. Whether you bring a pantsuit or skirt suit is up to you; just make sure everything else you pack can be worn with one or both suit pieces. Stick to black and gray for the easiest matching and look for suits in wrinkle-resistant materials. In general, wool and synthetics are a safer bet than 100 percent cotton.
This is an oxymoron, in some cases, since most shoes that are comfortable are going to look ridiculous with a suit. If you've got to run from the airport straight to a meeting and don't want to tote extra shoes around, you can either risk your life in high heels or compromise and look for a shoe you can pound the pavement in that can still work with professional attire. Consider a versatile wedge that can be worn with both pants and skirts and add a set of gel inserts for maximum comfort.
Sure, this wardrobe staple can serve as a jacket on a mild day or keep you warm in a chilly office building, but a wrap like a Pashmina shawl can also help you in the air, substituting for a blanket or pillow in a pinch.
You've got your carry-on luggage and your laptop bag, so you've likely left your big handbag at home. What you will need, however, is a small clutch or crossbody bag that you can take with you to work dinners and events on the road. No matter how cute, a laptop bag has no place at a cocktail reception. Choose a versatile bag that can work for day and night events and steer clear of overly embellished bags.
With the current restrictions on carry-on liquids, paring down your toiletry kit is often the hardest packing task. Buy a compact toiletry kit with a built-in quart-sized bag, and you'll know exactly how much space you have to fill from the start. For short trips, buy travel-size items and small containers and fill them with any must-have lotions and potions, face creams, and other hair products. Keep these mini-versions of your essentials packed at all times so you won't have to re-create your bathroom cupboard with every new trip.