Essential Business Travel Tips
Business travel can quickly lose its allure. From lengthy airport security lines to cancelled flights and bad hotel pillows, business travel can be a dreaded aspect of work — a necessary evil, but evil nonetheless.
Whether you’re a frequent business traveller or just have the odd trip to corporate headquarters to plan for, the following business travel tips will help take the stress out of surviving your next work trip.
- Keep travel-designated chargers for your devices in your luggage . The myriad of chargers you own won’t do you any good if they stay in your miscellaneous drawer at home. Always keep a set of travel chargers for your phone and laptop in your main carry-on bag or suitcase, so you’re not stuck purchasing a replacement one at the airport or making a mad dash to the nearest shopping mall in your destination city.
- Brush up on expense reporting requirements pre-work trip . Before you leave, find out what your entitlements are for things like meals and ground travel, and make sure you collect receipts for everything.
Plenty of apps nowadays, including QuickBooks, use your phone’s camera to scan receipts, which you can attach to your expense transaction listings and save as a digital file for documentation at tax time.
- Create rideshare/car share accounts . Most cities have embraced rideshare options, but you’ll want to do a little pre-travel research and find out which rideshare services are available where you’re going and if there are any specific rules to be aware of beforehand.
For example, not all cities permit rideshare services at the airport or car share is only available within a specific area of the city. Make sure you download both Lyft and Uber, and set up accounts before your trip.
- Create a master packing list . Having a master list makes packing foolproof and quick, which comes in handy for those last-minute business trips. As you become a more seasoned business traveller, you can adjust your list and remove any items that you rarely use.
- Invest in quality luggage and organization tools . Whether you’re team carry-on or team checked-baggage, you’ll want to invest in durable luggage that’s easy to pack and haul around, especially if you’re starting to rack up the frequent flier miles. Once you’ve had a few work trips under your belt and you’ve had a chance to fine-tune your master packing list, you’ll have a good sense of what you want in a quality set of luggage. That way you can make informed decisions about things like material (ABS hard shell or ballistic nylon?) or number of wheels (two or four?).
There are plenty of travel accessories and suitcases organizers available that will make for truly stress-free packing. Packing cubes help keep folded clothes neat and organized, and durable, washable pouches are a smart upgrade from using Ziploc bags to store liquids and toiletries.
Next-level organization might include an electronic cord organizer or an undergarment organizer. And don’t forget to invest in a high quality toiletry bag. Frequent business travellers may want to keep a second set of travel-sized toiletries that are always ready to go.
- Find opportunities to make healthy choices . Let’s face it, living out of a suitcase and ordering room service while travelling makes it really challenging to do things like work out or eat healthy. Most hotels have gyms and there are even a few, like the Westin, who will lend you workout gear so that you don’t have to find a spot in your luggage for runners and gym shorts. And if hitting the hotel gym is unrealistic, find opportunities to walk around town when you can. It’s a great way to sneak in some exercise and see a bit more of the city you’re visiting
As for snacks, skip the vending machine and find a nearby grocery store or urban market (if possible) and grab a few fresh, healthy items to keep on hand in your hotel room, like fruit or protein bars. When dining out, keep deep-fried items and alcohol to a minimum. It’s difficult enough to recover from jetlag and get adequate sleep in an unfamiliar bed without adding indigestion and the ill effects of alcohol to the mix.
- Join NEXUS . If you frequently travel to the United States, you may want to consider applying for NEXUS to help avoid long lineups at airport security and receive expedited clearance through the U.S. TSA pre-check lines. The application processing fee is $50 and is good for a five-year membership.
- Consider an airport lounge membership . Regular air travellers end up spending a lot of time waiting in airports. Having access to a quiet area where you can eat a meal and plug in the laptop to get an hour or two of work done might just be a worthwhile investment.
- Bring a piece of home with you . Frequent business travel can be draining and lonely, so it’s good to bring along something that reminds you of the comforts of home like a small memento or maybe a scarf or t-shirt infused with your partner’s signature fragrance.
- Prepare for the unexpected . There are times when, despite all the careful planning and organization, travel plans go awry. Delayed or cancelled flights, hotel booking issues, or lost baggage can turn a simple work trip into a total nightmare. Have backup systems in place where you can. For example, you can use Airbnb to find last-minute accommodation or use a travel agent to arrange your business trips so that rebooking flights is as easy as a quick call to your agent and they’ll take care of the rest.
Business travel may not be as glamorous as it sounds, but with a few helpful tips and tricks, you can certainly make business trips less stressful and more efficient.