Tips for Making Work Travel a Breeze
By Greg Nunan
Trying to squeeze your carry-on luggage, plus a laptop and other work materials in a small overhead space, navigating from the airport to your clients office in a city you’ve never been to, spending the night away from home while eating a room service dinner…business travel isn’t always as exciting or fun as one may think.
While a business trip to visit clients, attend a conference or for a big meeting may seem exciting, especially if it’s your first time to meet clients, or you’re really excited about the conference, the reality is that business travel can be a big hassle. It’s always easier to conduct business in an environment you’re familiar with, like your office or city where you work. But the reality is that business travel is a must – so we’re here to share some tips on how to make it easier.
Join Frequent Flier Programs. Chances are your office has a preferred airline, and if they are flexible on which airline you fly with, you can choose your airline of choice! Join the frequent flier program of the airline you think you’ll fly most often, to rack up points and increase the chances for perks and upgrades.
Don’t limit joining these types of programs to airlines, either. Find out if your company has a preferred hotel chain and see if they offer any rewards programs.
Use your Rewards Credit Card for Business Travel. Most offices have a per diem policy for entertainment and meals while you’re out of town for business, but make spending that money worth your while. Utilize your rewards credit card (don’t have one? Now’s the time!) to pay for meals, entertainment and other travel expenses. Your work will reimburse you and you still get the rewards from the card, like points or miles. Win-win!
Pack for Reality. If you’re only gone for a few days, you probably don’t need to check a bag, but with a laptop and other business items, you may need to pack wisely. Pack clothing options in one color scheme, so that you can get more use out of the items. For example, bring one pair of black work slacks, black shoes and tops that will match both the slacks and jeans, for after-work excursions. Make sure that everything you pack coordinates well together, including accessories and shoes, so you don’t have to pack full outfits for each day.
If you’re unsure what to pack, make a list a few days in advance of all the items you think you’ll need, both for clothing and toiletries and for business purposes. Don’t forget to bring all the necessary charges and electronic equipment you may need for your business purposes.
Be Prepared for the Worst. Unfortunately, no matter how well you pack or how prepared you are for a few days of great meetings, the worst can occur, and in business travel that’s typically a flight delay or cancellation. Being prepared to deal with delays and cancellations can help ensure that you stay stress-free and you arrive to your destination as quickly as possible, without being too late. A few easy ways to be prepared for the worst:
- Check the flight departure board often
- Be proactive in speaking with representatives about alternative flights
- If a flight is cancelled, wait in line to speak with an agent, but call the airline on your cell phone while waiting – you may get through sooner!
- Keep your office and clients alerted and aware of any possible delays or cancellations – especially if you’re set to arrive on the same day as your meeting
- Before you leave, do a quick search to be aware of any other alternatives – other flights or airlines that fly into your destination
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Upgrades. This rings true for rental cars, hotel rooms and on the flight. What’s the worst that they can say? Being friendly goes a long way and you may just find yourself in a full size car or upgraded room without having to pay additional costs.
Stick to your Normal Routine. If you’re usually in bed at 10pm when at home, be in bed by 10pm when traveling. Try your best to stick to your normal routine, avoid alcohol and heavy food and get plenty of sleep so you feel (and perform) your best!
Charge your Devices the Night Before Traveling. There’s nothing worse than settling in on your flight, opening your laptop to do some last-minute work, and having the battery die. Make sure to charge your laptop, cell phone and anything else that needs charging the night before you leave, so that they are ready to go when you need them next.
Worried you’re going to forget them if they’re on the charger? Place those charging items right next your wallet or car keys so you can make sure you grab them before heading out for the airport.
When it comes to traveling for business, a little extra preparation can go a long way – and ensure your trip is a success!