As you’ve probably heard many times before, business travels are a special breed of people. Not everyone is cut out for living out of a suitcase, dealing with airport delays, or spending so much time away from home. But for those road warriors among us who have found a way to cope with this lifestyle, there are some very simple tricks that make business travel easier. The only reason I’m able to keep up with my travel schedule is by applying these tips that I’ve acquired along the way.
Most of these tips aren’t so secret, and most can be applied to both business and personal travel. Try them out and see for yourself how much they cut down on the stress of traveling.
- Create a master plan, or itinerary that covers everything you need for each trip. This might be something that exists on your Blackberry or iPad, but make sure it is accessible from any device. Include all the flight numbers, hotel reservations, meeting locations and confirmation numbers, and don’t forget addresses and phone numbers, times, dates, etc. Print a hard copy for your wallet and/or briefcase.
- File all the necessary documents and confirmations on a Gmail or Yahoo account so you can access them from any computer. In addition to the docs for each trip, include a scanned copy of your passport, medical insurance card and other information that may be needed while you’re away from home.
- Always have a few of your business cards available to give out, just in case you encounter a potential business contact in your travels. With all the time you spend in airports, you are bound to strike up a few business-related conversations.
- Receiving an AARP card in the mail may be a little discomfiting at the age of 50, but why not sign up and use the card to get travel discounts?
- Keep a pen and a small notebook handy to capture confirmation numbers, addresses, phone numbers and ideas that might come to you while you are on the road.
- Never travel without some cash. This might sound like advice that your mother would give you, but in the age of plastic money it is easily forgotten. In the event of a power outage at the airport or a lack of available ATM machines, you wouldn’t want to be stuck somewhere without any cash.
- Avoid checking a bag whenever possible. Not only is it getting expensive to check luggage; it will help you avoid long lines at check-in and the inevitable wait for your bag on the other end.
- Invest in an oversized travel wallet that will hold all your tickets, itinerary, passport and receipts.
- When selecting new luggage, pick out something in a bright color or patterned fabric that is easy to recognize, or simply wrap some brightly colored luggage straps around your current bags. If your carry-on is a shoulder bag, upgrade to an ergonomically designed strap that will stay in place without straining your back.
- Keep a detailed packing list inside of your suitcase so you can reference it every time you pack. Also, keep a duplicate set of toiletries in your bag at all times.
- Use dry cleaning bags to wrap around your clothes before packing. They are the best way to prevent wrinkles and keep your clothes fresh while traveling.
- Reduce the hassle of traveling with liquids – use travel packets of makeup remover, facial wash, nail polish remover and deodorant.
- When parking at the airport, always park in the same area or section of the parking lot. It will save a lot of time when you come back from the trip and cannot remember where you parked.
- Create a travel kit for the hotel room that includes your phone charger, travel alarm, a bottle opener, sewing kit, earplugs and a small flashlight. Keep this in your suitcase at all times.
- Personalize your travel experience by bringing a piece of home with you. A scented candle, a framed photo of the family or some of your child’s artwork will make any hotel room feel homier.
- If you are bringing a laptop and you’re using a rolling bag, keep the laptop in a smaller protective case that can be pulled out easily in the security line. This will also help on full flights when the flight attendant says you need to check your bag at the gate.
- Check in for all your flights before you leave for the airport. Not only will this save you time at the airport, it will alert you to any delays before you arrive at the gate.
If you are an experienced business traveler than you might already use a lot of these tips, but it never hurts to learn more. The better prepared you are for your business trips; the more you will enjoy your destination.
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