Nowadays many entrepreneurs spend much of their time on planes, trains, cars, airports and terminals, while rushing from one meeting to the next. For those of you in the same boat it’s crucial to optimise the way you travel, from planning your trips to the way you travel and everything in-between.
Here are our top 10 business travel tips to help you make the best out of your trips.
1. Plan ahead
Want to take out a lot of hassle? Then plan your trips beforehand where possible, with a travel check list, a ready-to-go bag, the right apps on your phone (like Tripit) and your metro or Oyster cards in your wallet. Know where you’ll stay, how to get there and what is around your destination.
In many cases you can take an express train or bus from the airport to your hotel. The prevailing opinion that cabs are generally less stressful is not always true. Sometimes it’s just way more straightforward (and cheaper) to use public transport. When you book them online you may travel for an even better prize and don’t have to buy a ticket on-site.
2. Travel light and carry-on
Just can’t stress it enough, forget big luggage, don’t check your bag, ever … You may think that you need it, but the truth is you don’t. As we all saw in Clooney’s “Up in the Air” when you’re a frequent flyer with many short trips it’s just so not worth it, you lose tons of time, it’s getting lost, you won’t need 80% of the things you packed, it’s impractical, heavy (remember that you have to get from and to your hotel and other places), in other words: an unnecessarily high stress factor.
I can guarantee to you once you let go of big luggage your life quality will be rapidly increasing.
3. Stay packed and be prepared
Always keep your business-travel-bag partly packed, with a complete travel toiletries kit, business cards, pens, shoes and whatever else you regularly take with you on your trips (it’s also worth buying some things twice just for that purpose). That way you’re always ready to go.
Additionally learn to pack wisely, as said above you should avoid checking bags, therefore everything you need has to somehow fit into your carry-on bag. You need to develop an efficient packaging strategy including clothes that are combinable and both acceptable for business and social purposes, also somehow try to find that one pair of shoes that you can wear with everything.
4. Be productive while travelling
In case that your work consists of preparing presentations, writing (blog posts or books for example), or if you’re a programmer or graphic designer, well, basically anything that you can do on your laptop, then you should try to use waiting times efficiently, it might belong to your most productive times (as odd as it might sound).
5. Combine purposes
Whenever you’re preparing for a trip, check if there are business partners or clients you could meet around your destination, you might save yourself an upcoming flight or in case one of your meetings doesn’t go as well as it should another one might make up for it.
Or contact your social network, you might connect with someone you wouldn’t have met in ages, it’s almost always worth it.
6. Sleep well and get some rest
For those travelling a lot it’s essential to develop a way to get rest, for some it’s for example helpful to cut down the noise with earplugs and sleep masks during flights.
When you’re at your hotel room and want to sleep you should completely unplug, if you don’t you might be tempted to check every 5 minutes if you have to answer a mail or message. Also try to turn off the lights from any digital device in the room. In case you are disturbed by surrounding noises you can try to turn on the fan to create white noise.
Another part you should not ignore is your itinerary, sometimes it’s just not worth those $20 that you save for a flight that will take 8 hours more with additional stop overs…
7. Beat the jet lag
Unfortunately there is no magical cure for jet lags, it is part of your life when your business travels force you to travel great distances. Additionally you might not have the time to just sleep them off like during your holidays.
One thing some long-distance travellers count on is a very well-timed sleeping strategy to get their body as fast as possible into the new time zone, starting beforehand and trying to already sleep their way into the new time zone during their flights.
Others just force themselves to stay awake an additional night during the flight (mostly those that just can’t sleep on airplanes no matter what and secretly envy all those that basically sit down and fall asleep within half a second … how is this even remotely fair?) and then try to get into the right time during the next night, which mostly doesn’t work, and then accept that insomnia will probably forever be part of their lives …
8. Eat healthy while travelling
First of all try to avoid coffee and alcohol and focus on staying hydrated, try to stick to your normal eating schedule and check out where the locals go to make the best out of your stay.
If you are stuck at the airport check out where the flight personnel goes, they generally know where to eat best at the airports.
9. Use rewards and score upgrades
Check out loyalty programs for flights, hotels and car-rentals to get the most out of your frequent trips. There are also travel program sponsored credit cards that are awarding extra points.
Also try to be better organized and score upgrades for your flights (Skyscanner has some tips to get flight upgrades).
10. Be kind
Kindness and a nice demeanour always pays off, no matter where in life. Although you shouldn’t be nice just to get something, just treat people the way you want to be treated.
Do you have business travel tips, tricks and advice that we haven’t listed above? Share it in the comments!