Seven smart travel tips for frequent business travellers

Do you travel often for business? Read seven smart travel tips for frequent business travellers and make sure your next trip is a success. 

Even with Skype, online meeting software and email, many jobs or businesses still require international travel.

Business trips are often short and packed, with little time for relaxing or shopping. So it’s important to plan them carefully and ensure you arrive with everything you need to make it a success – and are able to care for your wellbeing so you can perform at your best.

Seven smart travel tips for frequent business travellers

To help you get the most out of your frequent business trips without experiencing burn-out or any travel disasters, here are seven smart travel tips.

1) Get TSA pre-check clearance

Why spend more time at the airport than you have to? When traveling for business, your time is valuable – especially if you run your own business (you don’t get paid for queueing up for security clearance).

If you often travel to or around the USA, applying for a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Pre-Check Clearance is well worth the $85 for a five-year membership. You can speed through security without removing clothing items or having your laptop checked.

2) Carry copies of documents

Before you leave, make photocopies of your ID and passport, and pack them in a bag that is separate from the originals. Even better – give an extra copy to someone at home who will be contactable while you’re away, if needed.

3) Make sure you’re financially prepared for emergencies

Emergencies can happen on even the most carefully planned trips. So make sure you’re financially covered if you need to react quickly, and ensure you have emergency funds in the bank account that your debit card is linked to, or have a credit card with enough credit on it.

An example is missing your flight wherein you might need to purchase a new ticket. However, if the airline is at fault that you missed your flight, they will provide you with a flight delay compensation.

This is a security blanket in case anything should come up that is unexpected, like needing to change a flight and pay for it, or having to see a doctor while out of the country.

4) Pack smartly and skip baggage claim

One of the biggest delays when flying can be waiting for your suitcase to make it through to baggage reclaim (if it does!). So try to pack carefully and stick to carry on baggage only.

Try to opt for suitcases that are lighter in weight and also durable. Many people choose soft shell suitcases due to their weight and the ability to fit into tighter spaces. But cases with hard shells are more convenient as they are compact, more sustainable, and look better for business travelers. You can easily find hard-shell cabin suitcases of lighter weight and compact sizes.

Most airlines will allow you a bag for overhead lockers and a small handbag that will fit under the seat in front of you (though some, on busy routes, will only allow one piece of hand luggage).

So what should you pack to maximise the limited space in carry on luggage if you want to skip baggage reclaim?

In your carry-on, overhead bag, pack wrinkle resistant clothing that can be rolled or folded tightly. Stick to colours that complement each other so you can mix and match tops and bottoms, and take accessories to dress outfits up or down. (With the right accessories, no one will going to notice that you are wearing something twice!)

And don’t forget a compact umbrella, just in case. Other essentials are a underwear and sleepwear, a handbag that collapses or folds flat, chargers and adaptors, and toiletries and makeup. If you’re giving a presentation, save a back up and any data you need to a USB stick.

5) Prepare for jet lag

If you are crossing time zones, be aware of how jet lag may make you feel (and therefore impact your performance). Stay well hydrated before and during your flight, and if you can, plan to arrive the night before your first meeting so that you can get some sleep.

Avoid salty, processed meals at the airport and in-flight. Instead, grab some fresh fruit or a salad to eat on the plane, and eat well when you reach your destination.

If it is in the budget, arrange for car service at the airport so you aren’t dealing with public transportation with your bags. And book a hotel with a fitness center. You can recharge by doing a 30 minute pre-breakfast workout the morning after you arrive at your destination.

6) Skip the drinks

When travelling for business, clients sometimes like to wine and dine you after meetings or presentations. This is nice, and you should accept graciously.

However, some clients find this to be a time to party on the company’s dime. When the alcohol starts flowing too much, be prepared to excuse yourself. You can always say you are tired from travelling or have a big day tomorrow.

It is likely that your hosts might not even notice that you have slipped out. Always thank them for the hospitality, but remember that alcohol and business don’t mix very well.

7) Repack the basics

When you return home, replenish your toiletries kit and place the basic necessities back in your carry-on bag so you are all set for the next trip.

Prepare for a successful trip

It’s always a good idea to be prepared for travel ahead of the trip. Keep a business travel checklist that you can refer to before leaving so you don’t forget anything. And do a little research on where you are going so you know what the customs are, what attire is expected of you, where to get a good meal, and what ground transportation is available.

Planning well can keep you focused and stress-free – and ensure your business trip is the success you hope it will be.  

Caroline Bird is a freelance writer. She currently writes for Reddy Airport Parking, a service company in New South Wales, Australia. Aside from working on her own business, she likes to use social media, and read travel books.