The Most Common Things Business Travellers Forget to Pack

While every experienced business traveller has their own ‘system’ when it comes to packing, many of us have not travelled much this year, meaning our packing skills might have become a little rusty. Below are some of the most common things business travellers forget to pack before they hit the road, so when travel commences again you’ll have these essentials in mind.

Phone Charger

If you are like most, you will charge your phone in the same spot every night, which makes it very easy to forget your charger. It’s something that you tend to pack at the last minute, so if you are running around sorting out last-minute things (are you sure the stove is off?), it’s understandable for you to forget to pick it up. You’re probably better off packing one phone charger when you pack your case (most phones now use the same charger types) and even leaving it in your favourite case so that at least you have a backup. Short of that, setting a reminder on your phone is also a good way to remember this vital addition to your kit.

Sunglasses And Reading Glasses

Another rather important thing that’s often forgotten by business travellers is glasses – both prescription if you only use them for specific uses like reading, and sunglasses. They’re also one of the most common items lost on business travel trips so you have been warned. When it comes to sunglasses, you will most likely be able to get a pair at your destination or at the airport, however, they’ll either cost you a fortune or won’t be a style that you like. You can’t, however, replace your reading glasses as easily, especially when you have a particular prescription.

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If you forget to pack your reading glasses you could spend your whole trip squinting at reports and lagging behind in meetings. If you can, make sure you preorder the glasses you need from somewhere like, then pack them prior to travelling. You can then use your old reading glasses up until your trip.


Yes, swimwear is another common item often missed from people’s suitcases. Even if you’re heading somewhere cold, you will want to pack swimwear for any indoor pools. They don’t take up much room, and if you don’t, and you arrive at a hotel with a great pool, you might end up spending a fortune buying a new pair. Swimming is a great low-impact workout and is also a great stress reliever and many business travellers swear by taking a dip to help fend off jetlag.


In the old days many travellers didn’t even bother bringing their own toothpaste and toothbrush, let alone shampoo or soap – hotels always had those great miniatures waiting, ready to serve. However, as many business travellers are actively trying to reduce waste and their carbon footprint, many are now packing their own toiletries and refraining from using those single-use hotel ones. That is unless they forget to pack them. A good solution is to have a toiletry kit packed with essentials that never leaves your suitcase – including full-size toothpaste, hair products, a comb or brush, and medications you might need on the road. It helps the environment and means you always have what you need.

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Walking Shoes

Depending on how light you like to travel, and how long your trip is, it’s always great to have a pair of casual shoes. Not only can you use them after hours, for a walk, or even at the hotel gym, but they also offer a comfortable alternative to your work shoes on planes and trains – and yet they are often forgotten, even when other gym clothing makes it into the suitcase. Considering today’s fashion trends, a pair of simple white sneakers works on all levels, so add them to your packing list.


While a pair of noise reduction headphones are pretty sacred to many business travellers, they are also easy to forget, especially if you’re using the same pair at the office or home. It’s also a pain if you do remember to bring your headphones, only to realise you’d forgotten to charge them. A good idea is to add this to the reminder about your phone charger, and to leave a pair of earbuds in your carry-on – this way at least you can listen to movies or music while you wait for your noise-cancelling headphones to charge!

Business Cards

Depending on where in the world you are, forgetting your business cards can range from a small, slightly embarrassing issue, to a huge deal. Even in the digital age, the exchanging of business cards is a symbolic gesture that’s still very important, especially in Asia. It’s a good idea to leave a few in your wallet, and 10 or so in each of your suit jackets (use the little ticket pocket) so even when you forget them, you’ll have enough to cover you until you can get some more printed.

Remember, forgetting your own business cards is one thing, but it’s also easy to forget business cards for other people who might be able to help you on your travels. It’s worthwhile looking through your collection and packing some that could come in useful. Wouldn’t it be handy if you got into an accident and needed a reputable personal injury attorney and you already had the business card of someone you could use? The same is true for taxis, translators, hoteliers, or even restaurant owners, for example. 

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About the Author

Staff Writer

The Art of Business Travel is Asia-Pacific's leading portal for corporate travel news and views. We cover everything from airline routes and airport developments, to new hotels, meeting venues, loyalty schemes, and entertaining.