For most people, the word “travel” conjures up images of sandy beaches, romantic foreign cities, or relaxing mountain resorts. But for people in business, travel often means stress, hassle, and hectic schedules. Between living out of a suitcase, keeping up with TSA guidelines, and planning for meetings and presentations, business travel can be tiring and taxing.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Whether you’re new to the business travel world or have accumulated hundreds of thousands of airline miles, you can make traveling a little less of a headache with the following nine tips.
1. Keep Your Bag Packed at All Times
All travelers-leisure and business alike-know what it’s like to forget crucial items, such as charging cables, deodorant, or socks. You can avoid forgetting something and having to make a trip to the local grocery store by keeping the essentials packed at all times.
Buy a small travel bag, and place bottles of shampoo, toothpaste, and deodorant in the bag, along with charging cables, lip balm, and whatever else you need on a daily basis. Doing so will save you time during the pre-trip packing process.
2. Pack Wisely
And by packing wisely we mean avoiding checking your bags. Checked baggage costs more, takes longer to retrieve, and weighs you down because it’s harder to carry.
Instead, pack wisely with the following tips:
- Take a maximum of two pairs of shoes-one pair on your feet and one in your bag.
- Pack one color of pants (or skirt) and a matching jacket. This allows you to mix and match your shirts and accessories, which take up significantly less room.
- Bring sleepwear that can double as leisure or workout wear.
- Try to stick to these guidelines when possible to make travel easier.
3. Maximize Your Downtime
Business travelers rarely have downtime on their trips, but if you do find the time to take a break, make the most of it. Rather than turning on the TV, try calling a loved one, working out, or reading a book.
4. Cut Back on the Noise
Leave the loud, bulky headphones at home. Instead, buy a set of disposable soft foam earplugs. Whether you want to work or sleep on your flight, these will cut out any unwanted noise and allow you to concentrate on what’s most important. Furthermore, earplugs are cheaper and much easier to pack than headphones.
5. Keep Germs at Bay
Nothing ruins a business trip like a nasty cold or stomach bug. And since airplanes are breeding grounds for germs, you’ll need to take steps to keep viruses and bacteria at bay.
To prevent the sniffles from getting in the way of an important meeting, carry the following items with you:
- Small bottle of hand sanitizer-apply after you go through security and before and after you eat.
- Package of wet wipes-use to wipe down airplane tray tables.
- Don’t forget to wash your hands often during your business trip, especially with all the handshaking going on.
6. Develop a Cure for Jet Lag
Whether you’re traveling across the country or across the ocean, chances are you’ll experience a little bit of jetlag if you’re changing time zones. As such, you’ll need to figure out what your body needs (and doesn’t need) to recover from jetlag.
If you’re not sure how your body responds to jet lag, here are a few tips to try:
- Book overnight flights that allow you to sleep during the flight.
- Stay hydrated.
- Put on comfortable clothes, brush your teeth, etc. before a transcontinental flight.
- Reset your watch to the time of the city you’re traveling to-this will help your mind and body transition to the local time.
With time, you will find the techniques that work for you.
7. Buy a Local Paper
When you arrive at your destination, buy a local newspaper as soon as possible. This is especially important if you’re travelling in a foreign country.
Carrying a local paper makes you look more like a local and less like a tourist, which in turn makes you less of a target for theft.
8. Remember the Golden Rule
Treating others like you want to be treated will get you a long way in the business world. While treating your clients and colleagues with respect is important, it’s just as important to treat waiters, clerks, flight attendants, and TSA agents with respect.
Always remember to smile, to say please and thank you, and to compliment the people you interact with. Although it sounds simple, being nice will help you zip through airport security, land a great hotel room, and travel around town quickly and easily.
9. Opt for a Taxi Over a Rental Car
One of the biggest hassles of traveling is figuring out transportation once you arrive in your destination. Many leisure travelers enjoy the freedom and independence a rental car can provide.
As a business traveler, however, you probably won’t enjoy having to stand in line at the rental office, reading through what seems like an entire book of paperwork, and paying for potentially expensive gas.
You can take the headache out of transportation by skipping the rental car and booking a taxi instead. Doing so will save you time and money, and riding in a cab will help you stay focused on the point of your business trip: business.