How to Win at Business Travel – Part I
To many, the jet setting business lifestyle is a dream. The opportunity to see and experience the world on the company’s dime. And it’s true, jobs that allow you the luxury of frequent international travel can be extremely rewarding. But, as with most lifestyles, there can be downsides to travelling for business. Delayed flights, time away from family and friends, jet lag. To help you manage the business travel lifestyle like a pro, we’ve pulled together some tips from experienced corporate travellers. So, next time you travel for work, you’ll come out on top.
This is the most important tip when it comes to business travel. By planning in advance, you’ll avoid getting waylaid by minor details that will suck your energy and make you less effective for the purpose you’re there for. Some ideas for planning ahead:
- Map your route to the hotel. Take a picture of the map on your smartphone in case you can’t access the internet when you land.
- Double check your dates. Flights, check-ins and meetings. Make sure you keep time zones in mind.
- Set multiple alarms to make sure you don’t miss your flight, taxi, meeting, etc.
- Make sure you have all the documents you need for travel and for any meetings or events. Store them together in a handy folder you always have to hand.
- If you’re driving to the airport or meeting, make parking arrangements beforehand. You don’t want to waste precious time driving around looking for a spot, or get stuck paying exorbitant car park charges.
Check out this article from The Muse on 6 Secrets for Surviving a Business Trip.
Packing is everything. Get your packing right and you’re ninety percent of the way to successful business travel. Here are a few key tips to keep in mind:
- Buy good luggage. If you’re a frequent traveller, you’ll need a sturdy, good quality bag that can withstand the constant shifting from place to place. Don’t skimp on your luggage. You can’t go wrong with a good backpack, ideal for fitting clothes, laptop and wash kit and easy to transport.
- Roll your clothes. This is how they do it in the army (apparently). Rolling instead of folding clothes when packing helps to maximise space in your luggage and minimise wrinkles in the fabric. If you’re bringing a suit, store it in a garment bag and then carefully fold it into your bag. This should help reduce wrinkling.
- Bring a travel kit. This will be a lifesaver, we guarantee it. In your travel kit, you should include earplugs, painkillers, tissues, an eye mask, cleansing pads (to clean your face while flying or in a humid climate), hand sanitiser and a sewing kit. As a bonus, consider bringing a small pack of cards if you’re travelling in a group, to while away time spent in airport lounges and hotel lobbies.
- If you can double up on items of clothing – do. You don’t need multiple pairs of heels or an extra belt if you’re only going for a short trip. Save space in your luggage for the things you really need. Pack simple.
- Buy travel-sized products in bulk. In the interest of saving luggage space, travel sized products are great. But they can also be expensive. Buy a load in bulk to save some cash.
- Don’t pack your coat, wear it! For most travellers, this goes without saying.
- No one needs their phone running out of juice just as they need to bring up the directions to their meeting. Bring an extra portable battery pack to avoid any such emergencies.
- Always make sure you have some spare cash in the form of smaller coins and bills for tipping serving staff, taxi drivers, etc. Research the country’s customs when it comes to tipping before you go.
- The day before your return flight, make sure your bag is packed. This will save you rushing around in the morning and will allow you to get to the airport unharried.
NEVER check a bag
Any experienced business traveller knows to forgo checking a bag. It’s really unnecessary, unless your trip is longer than a few days. A good sized, quality hand luggage bag will do just fine (see tip above on buying a good bag). You will not only save time at the airport, but you will also make things a lot easier for yourself when getting around from place to place. Plus, you’ll never arrive at your destination to discover your suitcase has ended up on the wrong flight and you’re left with nothing but the rumpled clothes you’re wearing!
Dressing appropriately for business travel can be tricky. If you’re hopping straight off of your flight and into a business meeting, you’ll need to be dressed for the occasion. Long flights in uncomfortable suits are no fun, however.
- Opt for cosy yet professional attire. A shirt or blouse with loose, smart trousers and a blazer will look professional while still being comfortable enough to wear during the flight. Don’t bother with heels. Smart flats will do.
- Wear dark clothes that will hide any potential stains. Go for neutral colours that can be mixed for different outfits.
- Try to bring clothes that don’t wrinkle as easily. If you don’t have an iron in your hotel room, many business travellers swear by the shower trick – hang your shirt in the bathroom, turn the shower on hot and close the door. In just a few minutes, the steam from the shower will have worked wonders on those wrinkles.
Read this guide from The Travel Team with 14 Business Travel Tips for Frequent Corporate Travellers.
If you travel away from home a lot, it can be easy to neglect your health and wellbeing. Living from hotel room to hotel room, the temptation to eat unhealthily and overwork yourself is strong. Keep the following tips in mind for staying healthy while travelling for business:
- Stay hydrated. Make sure you’re drinking enough water at all times. Frequent travel can really dehydrate you. Staying hydrated has the added benefit of helping you fight jet lag and keeping you energised. Opt for water on the plane instead of alcohol or fizzy drinks.
- Bring healthy snacks. Airport snacks are wildly overpriced as many of us know. Pack a few healthy snacks for your journey so you won’t be running to WHSmith for an oversized bar of chocolate and a pack of McCoys.
- If your hotel has a gym or swimming pool, make use of it. It might be tempting to forgo exercise while you’re away, but the benefits, especially when you’re feeling tired and jet-lagged, can be hugely positive.
- Avoid stiffness. A great tip for long flights is to bring a tennis ball in your hand luggage. Roll the ball under your feet and thighs to help prevent stiffness. And make an effort to get up and walk the aisle for a few minutes when on a flight. You’ll thank us.
- As hard as it may be, try to go for healthier options when eating out. Junk food will only serve to make you feel more sluggish*.
*A quick tip to avoid jet lag, the business traveller’s constant unwelcome companion, adjust to the local mealtimes before you arrive in the country. This will help you adapt better.
We hope you find these tips helpful. If you have any more tips you’d like to share with other business travellers, let us know! And remember, with Spire Travel, you can take advantage of our business accounts for frequent flyers, offering you easy and flexible executive airport transfers to all major UK airports. Get in touch to learn more.
Stay tuned for How to Win at Business Travel – Part II, for more expert tips at surviving corporate travel.
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Jack McGivern Works with Spire Travel as a marketing specialist.