[Not a wardrobe malfunction] How to get your shirts dry cleaned when you travel a lot! My answer!

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

I love to travel and share the latest around business storytelling tips at conferences and in meetings. I also learn a lot from these trips. For example: What others are doing in the industry and also how to pack!

The other day I was introduced to packing cubes, which I have yet to buy or use myself, but I’m thinking about it.

And while there are many tricks to pack, one that really has made my business travel live easier is that I now box my dry-cleaned shirts. Or rather: The dry cleaner does that for me. Here’s how that looks:

Need help with your points game? Set up time here.

If I only have one shirt, which does happen from time to time, they literally put it in a box and it looks like this when I pick it up:

In that box, the shirt is folded and wrapped in plastic:

When I have a number of shirts – which is the more common scenario I pick them up folded in a bag like this:

And I know few people do this because every time I drop of my dry cleaning, they double and sometimes triple check that I want this and “what is this again?”

Then at times, the dry cleaners actually forget to do it and I get shirts back on a hanger. Usually I would send it back and ask them to box or fold them them.

Then, when the shirts come back they usually end up looking for hung up shirts. Sometimes, I say that it should be a box or a bag, which prompts them to say: “Oh yes, I did see a bag and was wondering about that earlier.”

When one shirt comes in a box, they often ask: “What’s in the box?” or “what is this?”

I do much less dry cleaning nowadays as I don’t dress up day to day but I do wear dress clothes or even a suit when I’m speaking or meeting with clients. The most casual ever was when I wore t-shirts under a suit and then I took the dress shirt and t-shirts off to talk about the layers of business storytelling. That was at a pharmaceutical conference in New York City.

Another time, at a conference in Victoria, Canada, their speaker gift – Converse shoes – didn’t for with my suit.

Check out this video from my trip to Victoria, by the way:

On that same trip they gave me Converse shoes that I wanted to wear with my outfit, but a suit didn’t look good, so I adjusted my dressy outfit to a dress shirt, dress pants and the Converse shoes with shirt untucked:

Christoph Trappe speaks in Victoria at Social Media Camp

But even that outfit needed to be dry cleaned when I returned home.

How to get started boxing your dry-cleaned shirts?

First, do you even need to? There are days where I dress up at home, fly to my destination, go to my meetings, speak, whatever, and then fly home on the last flight of the night.

In that scenario, I don’t need boxed shirts at all. But given that I fly out of Cedar Rapids, and really, I do wear my dress up clothes mostly on trips that include plane travel. I also spend the night before speaking, which is really an event best practice so speakers don’t get stuck in air travel delays, etc.

And I dress way down on airplanes. I wear seat pants and even use this shut-the-world-out neck pillow on super early or especially super late flights:

If I have a meeting shortly after I land, I just head to an Admirals Club or the bathroom if there’s no club and get changed quickly.

Either way, I often pack my shirts and don’t wear them to where I’m going. So if you pack your dress clothes, I would highly recommend get your dress shirts boxed. But if you are one of those travelers who fly in a full suit, boxing your shirts might not be that relevant – except if you go on multi-day trips.

Depending on where you live the increase in price could range from a few cents to dollars. When I started doing it my cost went up by about 15 cents per shirt so it was totally worth it and still is.

Did you know you can buy dress clothes on Amazon?