Over the years, I’ve read a lot of business travel articles. Most of the advice I tried at one time or another. What worked, I kept. What flopped, I didn’t try again.
So based on my hard-learned experience, I’ve compiled some great business travel tips in this section that I hope will make being on the road for work a little less of a pain, and if not fun… at least a little more enjoyable.
In fact, I wish I’d had these business travel articles / tips when I first started travelling for business a million years ago. Because at first, it was kind of fun. Hotels with clean sheets on a bed everyday that I didn’t have to make up. Meals delivered to my door that I didn’t have to cook.
But after a few of them, it just didn’t seem so much fun anymore. Getting from here to there just became too much of a hassle. That’s why I hope this will be different from many of the other business travel articles in that it gives you practical advice that will be real help to you. Some can help save you money. Others will help save you time. Still others will save you stress (these are my favorites!).
1. Don’t check your bags at the airport.
Seriously. Just don’t do it. What’s going to happen if you show up at your destination, but your bags don’t? How are you going to make that all-important presentation in your jeans and t-shirt? Pack lightly and use the kind of luggage that has wheels.
And while we’re on the subject of bags, consider keeping one packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. I read about this tip years ago in one of those business travel articles. I started keeping small bag with cosmetics, toiletries, and a change of clothing in my car so that whether I have to jump in the car and go somewhere, or head to the airport, I’m ready at a moment’s notice.
If you need an extra bag (or a new set of luggage), I’d like to recommend you try eBags.com. They have high-quality bags at great prices. Click the link below to check them out.
2. Stay healthy.
When you’re traveling, it’s easy to get run down, tired, and sick. So it’s important that you continue to eat right and exercise to keep your health quotient up and your stress level down.
Stay in hotels that have a pool and/or gym. If that’s not possible, consider going for a run or a walk in the morning or at night (instead of renting the in-room movie!)
Additionally, be cognizant of what you’re putting in your mouth. Business travel is no excuse to indulge or get off your regular routine. Don’t overeat and avoid foods that you wouldn’t normally eat. (Trust me, late-night room service desserts can be killer!) Consider carrying your own healthy, portable snacks for those times when the late-night munchies hit you.
One more thing… wash your hands often. In a strange town, surrounded by strangers and strange germs. – it’s no wonder so many people wind up getting sick when they travel. You might also consider carrying alcohol wipes or hand sanitizer in your briefcase or purse.
And while you’re at it, be sure carry a small bag with over-the-counter medications with you so you don’t have to run out to get some if you should fall ill while you’re traveling. Include pain reliever/fever reducer, antacid, vitamins, and any other OTC drugs you use often like sinus tabs, etc.
3. Bypass big airports and hubs.
I have traveled through some of the largest airports in the world, and there is absolutely nothing cool or glamorous about it. Oh sure, they have lots of flight choices, and cool restaurants and stores – but if you’ve seen Chili’s, you’ve seen them all. Big airports have lots of congestion… people and planes. Check-in and security lines are a nightmare.
Instead, book the smaller or regional airports whenever you can. For instance, fly into or out of Newark instead of JFK. You may (or may not) have to drive a little further, but you will save so much time and brain damage.
4. Take advantage of frequent flier and loyalty programs.
Why wait in line if you don’t have to? If you can, try to use the same airline all the time and sign up for their frequent flier program. (Like American’s “Aadvantage” program or Delta’s “SykMiles.”) Each program has its own benefits, but some include getting to board sooner, notification of specials, air miles which can be traded for a ticket or upgrade.
In addition to American’s “Aadvantage” program, I also have a membership to their Admiral’s Club. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s a place inside major airports where members can go between flights to make use of their facilities. Some of them are pretty posh. Most have restrooms, restaurants/bars, comfy chairs, free beverages and snacks, internet and computers, soothing environment. These types of clubs are really geared to the business traveler. Believe me, the quiet alone (compared to the chaos outside) is worth the $400 yearly membership fee to me. I almost don’t mind layovers! If you must fly major airports, seriously consider checking into your carrier’s internal club. Before you pay the membership fee, though, check with your credit card company. Some (mostly platinum cards) offer complimentary entrance into these areas.
Rental car companies have their own “frequent flier” program, called “loyalty” programs. Members usually have their own area to check in and drop off, saving you lots of time waiting in line.
5. Have iPhone, will travel.
I discovered this a few months ago when my family and I were traveling in Los Angeles. Desperate for directions, I grabbed my iPhone to check Mapquest on the internet, and discovered I actually had a map icon on my screen. Cool! Didn’t know that was there! All I had to do was type in my location and destination and it gave me step-by-step visual and written directions! A cool little portable GPS/phone/web browser! And I thought it was just for calling and playing my videos! With this, I thought, I can go anywhere and actually get there!
Since then, I’ve learned that other types of phones have this feature as well, so be sure and check your owners manual and operating instructions to make sure you don’t discover yours by mistake, too. If it doesn’t carry this feature, consider buying a phone that does when it’s time to replace your old one.
6. Try to fly direct.
This seems like a no-brainer, but in our efforts to save money, we often end up with one, sometime two or three layovers in a roundtrip. Direct flights may cost more, but think about what you’ll save in time and frustration! Let your travel agent know that you would prefer direct flights over layovers whenever possible.
But if you’re someone who books his/her own flights, and you’re interested in saving money, one of the best booking sites I’ve found is Cheapoair.com. Check them out by clicking on the banner below:
7. Just don’t go.
This is the biggest money-saving tip from any of the business travel articles you’ve ever read! When you can, opt for having a conference call or video conference instead of hopping a plane. While it may not be appropriate for all business situations, use it whenever a face-to-face isn’t a necessity.
8. Give your business to business-friendly hotels.
Make sure the hotel you book caters to business travelers. Late check-in policies, free in-room internet, soundproof rooms, conference rooms, complimentary newspaper, gym… these are all amenities that can make your travel a lot more comfortable.