Hi Frugalistas! I’m spending my Easter break getting ready for my trip to Europe. Like many of my trips, I need to combine some business and leisure. This means I need a packing list for business and leisure. But, of course, I still only want to take my usual one carry on bag. Planning a business and leisure packing list is not that hard. As with all my packing lists, it just takes some planning, a clear idea of what I am doing, and the weather.
Principles of a business and leisure packing list
The first thing I think about with any packing list is where I am going and the time of year. This trip is obviously spring, and I’ll be spending most of my time on the relaxed (but still trendy) Italian Riviera for leisure, and then travelling to London for leisure and some work.
The second thing I’m thinking about are the activities I’ll be doing – particularly those where I may need to be particularly dressed up or down. On this trip, I have a number of dressy leisure functions planned (which are little secrets for you, dear readers – all in good time). Because I don’t hike or do anything more athletic than walk around a market, dressing down is not such an issue.
Thirdly, I think about my itinerary. In particular, what percentage of my time is business/more dressy, and what percentage is pure leisure. Regular readers may recall this strategy on my post about packing for two seasons.
On this trip I’m spending about 4 days on work, or more dressy activities. The other 10 days of the trip are either travelling or leisure related. So I need to make sure I have about one third of my clothes suitable for work or more dressy leisure activities, and the other two thirds suitable for leisure activity.
Finally, my other key principle when planning a business and leisure packing list is to maximise the number of number of multi-tasking pieces I carry. Classic black pants can easily be dressed up with a smart jacket for business, or dressed down with a casual shirt or tee for a more casual day. I choose skirts that do the same. My trench coat goes everywhere. Smart scarves or a pretty necklace dress up a more casual outfit. I leave my sneakers at home.
My business and leisure packing list
As I recommended to you in my recent post on planning a packing list, I am starting with my shoes. My trusty ankle boots are coming, of course. They are patent leather, so are still appropriate under smarter pants. I’ve retired my ballet flats that have served me well for a number years, and have upgraded to a pair of loafers. They are more fashionable at present, and mine have a small inbuilt wedge sole to give my feet a little more support. They also have gold tassels that automatically dress them up and take them to another level. These ones aren’t exactly the same as mine, but they will do the job just as well:
Then I’m thinking about pants. I’m taking three pairs of pants. One pair of classic black pants that I will wear for both work and leisure. I’ve chosen a pair that go with both my boots and loafers for maximum flexibility. Then more casual pants for traveling days and leisure (although I can throw a jacket over either pair and be ready to go out for dinner if I need to).
I don’t always pack blouses, as I tend to prefer long sleeved tees when I travel. But I do think for a business trip they are handy. I also think one might do the trick for some of my special leisure activities as well. Of course, the one I choose will pack easily and not need much ironing. It will also go perfectly under my jacket and other layering tops. I love the idea of this polka dot one in an easy pack chiffon:
Then of course, I am packing my long sleeved tees to pop under cardigans and sweaters, or wear alone on warmer spring days.
A selection of light cashmere cardigans and sweaters will complete my leisure and travel wardrobe (three I’m thinking).
Then to complete my business wardrobe, I’ll be packing one plain classic black skirt, and a jacket that can be worn with my blouse and a range of my long sleeved tees.
Then to complete my main wardrobe, I’m packing a couple of more casual scarves, and then one slightly dressier one to mix my outfits up and keep out chills on cooler days and when travelling.
A trench coat completes my look regardless of what I’m doing.
When you are travelling for business, of course, you need to look your best. After all you are representing your professional self, as well as your employer. That means make up, befitting of the nature of your business. I like tinted moisturiser sunscreen rather than a true foundation – it does triple duty when I’m travelling. My favorite is Laura Mercier, but of course, cheaper brands are available if that is outside your budget. In addition to blusher, eye shadow and mascara, this is also the time I break out the fragrance samples that I collect during the year. I also pack travelling make up remover pads – they are much smaller, and do not need to be packed as a liquid.
The principles for creating a packing list for business and leisure that will fit in one carry on bag are not difficult. Think about what you are doing, think multitasking pieces, and as always, make sure that everything you pack will match with everything else in your bag. Then you can’t go wrong.