How to pack like a pro | Overnight work travel


Ok, let's face it, travel for work is no fun and dragging around luggage just adds to the whole delightful experience! Frankly, I just got annoyed with taking all this stuff with me every time. I tried different sized bags and trolleys but I never felt like I had mastered the overnight travel. I seemed to take the same amount for one night as I would for a week which is really ridiculous.

The other annoying thing about overnight travel is that you actually have your luggage with you all the time. Airport to taxi, taxi to workplace, or rental, workplace to hotel, and in reverse order the next day. So it's a right royal pain to drag bags around all day.

So last year I gave myself a challenge  to see if I could reduce the amount of luggage to one bag all inclusive, no hand bag.

It was a process of trial and error but I mastered it. I am really happy that I now manage an overnight trip with just one bag, and no hand bag.

So I thought that I would share my process in the "art of light travel"

Step one - Decide on your travel bag and packing accessories

Traditionally I have looked for bags to fit the amount of things that I think I needed to take. This time I chose a bag which was just the right size for a carry on and it needed to actually be a nice bag. I didn't want it to look like a piece of luggage. A tote was the perfect answer to that.

Travel Tote

I sourced this simple tote ($8) from the local hospice shop. The colours are perfect for me and I knew that I would use it as a weekend tote as well, so a multi purpose buy for $8 and you are supporting the great work that the Hospice do.

Packing cells are really good when it comes to travelling light. There are some really good packing cells that you can get from various places, Amazon, Katmandu .

I like to use what I have at home. I actually use small sheet set cases and wash bags. However I was temped by these very cool wash and wear bags from Typo, too cute to walk past. They are perfect for what I need.

wash and wear bags

Step two- Decide on your outfit

The outfit has to be multi purpose, for me it has to cover off the three C's

  • Corporate standard
  • Casual evening
  • Comfortable

I need the outfit to take me through two days of work and going out at night for dinner.  In the end it was fairly simple ....a suit. Lucky for me I am a suit girl and all I need to do is to take a change of shirt, oh and undies!. You could also just do the same with a skirt and shirt and jacket. I personally love suits, they look smart , last a long time, don't go out of fashion and are really comfortable.

For the evening I just take a pair of casual jeans to change into.

I also have a set of house clothes or pj's for sleep. Just a light pair of leggings, t-shirt and socks.

I also think about the shoes as I only take the pair I am wearing. They have to be comfortable as you are in them for two days. As I will be wearing them out at night for dinner, they have to be both good for work and casual all at the same time. Therefore tramping boots are not really suitable for that, nor are high heels. For me, brogues or loafers are the answer and there are great styles out there that look great. Ohhh another excuse to buy some shoes!

Finally I think about the weather and what I will be doing. If I need a jacket I have to wear it and have it with me all the time. Don't take a big jacket if you will end up holding it most of the time.

Basically you will wear all your clothes all the time.

Step three - Reduce your Accessories

Accessories are my Makeup bag, toiletries and Jewellery. Jewellery is easy, just wear it. One outfit one set of jewellery.

I had to work at simplifying my make up and beauty routine for travel.

I went for minimal make up and wearing my hair up. This really reduced the amount of stuff I needed. So I only take what I actually use. I put all make up and toiletries in one bag including my items from my cosmetic bag that I normally carry in my hand bag. Again I only took what was essential.

On the day of travel I wash my hair and that will get be through to the next night. This means that I do not need to take any hair accessories.

Travel packing cells

Step four - Reduce your work documents

I look at my meetings and agendas and determine what documentation is needed. I load all relevant documents onto my devices so I can access them when needed. Now I only need to take a notebook and pen.  I do pack a very small tech bag which has all my chargers and cords. This is the same one I carry with me in my hand bag.

Overnight travel bag

Step five - Pack

Ok so it's actually important that at this point you do know how to fold clothes for travelling. Yes there is an art to good folding, especially a shirt. It's actually the key to light travel. There are heaps of Youtube tutorials on this so no excuse really!!!

In my bag I pack -

  • one clothes cell
  • makeup/toiletry bag
  • tech bag
  • ipad and cell phone
  • Planner (notebook and pen)

The clothes cell has my shirt, jeans, leggings, t-shirt, socks and undies.

The good thing with the bag I use is that even with all this in it there is still space for a book and or magazine.

This is a pretty simple guide, it works really well for me, take what is useful for you and I hope that you can master the art of light travel too!

Overall my key tips would be;

  • Plan your wardrobe - one outfit
  • Shoes - one comfortable pair
  • Makeup and toiletries - only take what you will actually use.
  • Meds - if you take meds do make sure you have enough for extra days just incase if travel issues.
  • Comfy clothes for evening in the hotel as well as pj's. If you travel a bit you would have experienced the occasional fire evacuation so it's good to have some clothes on.
  • Electronic bag - all chargers and cords
  • Smartphone - put your bank cards in the phone cover/case - no need for purse

So there you have it, I did master it after all and travel is oh so much easier without loads of bags.

Happy travelling everyone

Hugs and Smiles

Tania