When packing for a combined business/ pleasure trip, there’s a few key things to keep in mind, the most important one being: space. Who wants to have to check a bag for a two week trip? Solely carrying on, however, creates its own set of issues as you have a very limited amount of packing room and must thus pack strategically to avoid taking any excess. This was definitely the most strategic packing I have ever had for a trip: I headed to D.C. for a combined vacation/ business trip with about 9 working days plus two weekends for fun. Before I even started pulling clothes out of the closet I looked at my dress code for the conference I would be working, analyzing how many of each outfit (professional, relaxed professional, snappy casual) I would need and when it might be appropriate to repeat outfits. From there I was able to determine what I really needed to take. I hung outfits together to see what they would look like (see below) and planned every outfit to coordinate with black shoes, black blazer, and black coat, to minimize what I would need to bring.

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From there I laid everything out on my bed for packing purposes, to be able to make sure I had everything I would need and to visually see it:

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And then eventually it all made it into the suitcase, fitting perfectly:

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Above you can see the final result… everything coordinated into the suitcase, plus the books and liquids I put in my purse for easy access and the outfit I was planning to wear the next day on the plane.

Believe me, normally packing is not this planned out for me. Typically I tend to just take a bunch of things that I like, and hope it all works out. But for a trip where you have multiple needs and limited space, planning out what you are thinking about wearing is extremely helpful in terms of conserving space. Happy packing!

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