Business travel is a love-hate dynamic. While many people see it as a perk, especially when they get to combine business and leisure, frequent business travelers often find it inconvenient, even uncomfortable.
Traveling for business can be challenging. However, experienced travelers know that they can have a much better experience when they follow certain rules that are guaranteed to work. Here is my complete list of top travel tips and tricks to help you navigate your next business trip with ease.
Stick to carry-on bags only
This is one of those packing tips that can easily help you save lots of extra time. If you want to avoid losing an average 30 minutes at the baggage claim, or even having to go through the hassle of your suitcase being lost, then keep it simple, pack light, and stick to carry-on luggage.
Make comfort a priority
Whether it’s your bags, your clothes, your meals, or your sleep and skincare routine, make sure you have all the basics you need in order to feel comfortable during your trip. Consider a neck-pillow, earbuds for music (make sure they’re charged!), or an eye mask to get a few extra Z’s during your flight.
Pack both business and casual attire
Even if the dress code at your meetings is always business attire, there might be occasions when you’ll have to dress casually. Even consider bringing clothes that you can put on for a 30-minute session in the hotel gym. It’s important to be prepared for all types of events.
Use a suit bag
If you don’t have time or you don’t know if you’ll be able to get your suit ironed before your business meetings, then bring it with you on the plane in a suit bag to make sure it arrives wrinkle-free. Check your cabin allowance beforehand to make sure you can bring it on board. Another popular option is wearing it during your flight to avoid getting too many wrinkles on it.
Another tip is to invest in a hand steamer. They run about $50 to $100, but they will save you tons of time. Ironing can be tedious, but steaming is quick and efficient.
First time business travel can make you nervous, and you might forget important details. International travelers need a current passport with at least six months until expiry. Do you need a visa or other authorizations? Do you have the right type of visa for business travel? There are many potential paperwork disasters lying in wait at immigration.
Keep security checks in mind when you pack
Security checks can be very strict, with all liquids, electronics, and even chargers often being required to be taken out of your suitcase. To ensure you make your way through security checks as quickly as possible, keep all items to be checked at security ready to unpack when the time comes.
Also, make sure you wear socks. It can be more comfortable wearing flip flops or slides at the airport, but you’ll need to walk through security without your shoes.
Review travel insurance
Before you take to the skies, check travel insurance off your list of to do’s. Whether it’s a short trip or a long one, on a first business trip, make sure you’re covered.
Money may not buy happiness, but it can get you an annual policy – saving you time, money, and a whole lot of headaches down the road – it’s also tax deductible Also, don’t forget to scope out the risk landscape of your destination to make sure it’s in policy.
Do your research on foreign business etiquette
Depending on where you’re traveling, business etiquette can be very different from your own country. Make sure to check the basic rules beforehand, so you will be able to go into a client meeting with confidence.
Take advantage of lounges
Airline lounges can reduce the stress of flying and lift you out of the chaos and noise of the main concourse. Walk into peace and quiet, showers, decent food, and drinks for free. Business Class fares generally include lounge access, but some are available for a fee. There is no better place to be if you’re dealing with delays. Once again, this is a business write-off.
Use a firewall when using public internet
Especially when you use your work computer and access work-related information, make sure your antivirus is up to date and you have a firewall to protect you from anyone accessing your data.
Navigate different time zones
If you’re traveling to a different time zone, try to sleep in the night-time of that zone prior to take-off. Body clocks are hard to reset and it’s better if you can do this on the flight. While sleeping in Economy Class can be a challenge, earplugs and noise-canceling headphones may help. If your business meeting is crucial, paying for a Business Class fare could be the game changer you need.
Yoga (in your seat)
There are yoga and exercise workouts you can do in your seat. At least get up and walk around and stretch every so often. And be aware that it is not easy to work in Economy Class. If you plan to prepare for your business meeting on the plane, know that you will be cramped and regularly interrupted. Most important of all, stay hydrated preferably with water, not alcohol.
Review company expense policies
Make sure to check with your boss before you travel on what you can charge, rather than return to a frosty reception and a bill you have to pay. Retain all your receipts and make a note on them. For every trip I take, I keep a separate envelope to quickly stash away my receipts. Then, at the end of each day, I track my expenses, so they do not build up at the end of the week and I have to rush to get everything over to accounting.
Get some movement in
It’s important you keep a check on your mental and physical health while you travel. Find time to sweat in the gym, do some laps in the hotel pool or walk to a local attraction. Your mind will be clearer, and you’ll look and feel fresher.
Bring travel size toiletries
You want to look your best at that important business meeting. Even if your hotel offers many quality toiletries, there’s nothing like your own products, which are the best match for your needs so bring them along.
Pack healthy snacks
For many business travelers, a work trip often means irregular meal times and unhealthy snacks. Pack enough healthy, balanced snacks to keep with you not only on the plane but also whenever you’re on the go.
When you travel, you’re either representing your company or yourself. And your country. Know the local laws, be courteous, and tip when needed. Remember to watch what you eat. Although it may be a good idea to grab food from a local vendor and try new food, this can affect your health. Stick to distilled water and stay hydrated as much as possible.