Two-month business trip

In a few weeks my cousin is leaving for two months of training at a new job. On a personal note, I’m super sad because we hang outTumi large suitcase all the time. He is one of my husband’s best friends and my baby’s favorite person. All of that aside, I am super excited that he has this opportunity. He hasn’t done much business travel before so I started going through past posts to pull some helpful information for him. However, I haven’t had a lot of experience with months-long trips, and I don’t get many questions about them either. So instead of sending him a bunch of links, I am writing a post just for him (and all you other business travelers gone for months at a time.)

Here is the situation: he will be in one place, staying at a residential hotel, with one trip home. We’ve talked before about traveling to different locations over several months, but things are a bit easier if you’re in the same place. So it’s not an overload of information, I’m covering a few categories in each post. Today we’re talking about packing clothes and toiletries.


Normally I am the carry-on type. About the only time I have to check my bag is when I’m bringing wine on vacation. But in this instance, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with checking your bag. This isn’t a backpacking trip across Europe; you’ll be in one place the whole time, plus you need to look professional. (Pictured: I give you permission to bring the big boy. Tumi Alpha Extended Trip Packing Case, $945 on Amazon.) It’s not a license to bring everything under the sun though! You still need to be smart about your packing.

Capsule wardrobe. Ideally, all of the things you bring can be worn together. Focus on a few main colors to build your wardrobe around, and bring plenty of accessories to change things up.

Laundry. Obviously you will need to take advantage of your hotel’s laundry facilities. Find out ahead of time what your company will cover—if it won’t cover what they hotel charges, a nearby dry cleaner can still wash and fold and will likely be cheaper.

Use FedEx. Regardless of how smart you are about what you bring, I can totally see getting bored with wearing the same thing for two months. One option is to pack a box of clothes before you leave, and have a loved one FedEx it to your location during your stay. Then pack up the clothes you are tired of and send them home. Your company may even pay for some of this.

The “just in case” stuff. There are a few large items that you wouldn’t need for a 3-4 day trip, but would likely come in handy during a long stay, for example a rain coat. In this case I would definitely utilize packing cubes to condense the bulk.

Toiletries. Since you won’t be checking your bag, I would bring your regular, full-size toiletries. As you run out just replace as you would at home. Of course, for a lot of guys (like my cousin) they could probably just buy shampoo once they arrive, or even just use the toiletries the hotel provides.

Shoes. For two months, I just don’t think my normal “three-pairs only” rule applies. I would try four pairs, and maybe buy another pair at some point. Consider putting a pair in your box of items to be shipped during your trip so you can rotate out.

One last note: be careful that your suitcase doesn’t exceed weight limits set by your airplane.

Next up: how to live somewhere else for an extended time without losing your mind.

Readers, any suggestions for how to pack for two months? Any suggestions to my cousin for what he needs to bring?

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  1. I definitely FedEx for long trips on the road. I often will just FedEx entire suitcases (when on the move each week).

    As it is a residential hotel, likely laundry facilities are provided. If company won’t pay for wash and fold, wash your own clothes.

  2. I’m on a three month business trip right now, so I feel your cousin’s pain! I went heavy on the basic tanks/dresses, and then brought a lot of different color cardigans, accessories, etc – a variant on the capsule wardrobe (though I didn’t plan it all out like that). I think you’ll be surprised how few clothes you need – I realized I wear a lot of the same stuff over and over whether I’m traveling or not!

  3. I moved to Ghana earlier in the year for a 3 month project. I checked two bags (thanks BA) and included a bunch of things I absolutely needed and a few I could have left at home. This list is unique to a developing country.

    Pen/Paper – your favorites may not be in regular supply where you are
    Dry goods – this might actually be a good thing to pack, even for the business traveler eating on the company dime. By dry goods I mean granola bars, trail mix, things you can grab in a pinch and/or you can snack on when room service closes.
    Water bottle
    Pictures of loved ones – the hotel room starts to look like a very impersonal cell
    Nail clippers and other personal grooming tools

  4. We are regularly out for months at a time and I pack 10 days worth of clothes and 3 pairs of shoes. Basic wardrobe and some scarves/jewelry to bling it up a little. If I get bored with what I’ve got I’ll go get something but generally what I have will suffice.
    Personally, I love living in hotels.

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