Business travel is particularly fruitful in terms of the ROI, and it’s a good way to combine business with leisure. Traveling for meetings, events and conferences is a refreshing break from business as usual, and you get to do a lot more business than you do at home. But it can take a toll on anyone, even the most hardened frequent flyers and road warriors.
What you need are the comforts of home and all the little luxuries that you keep close at hand. There are many things to take care of beforehand, as part of your business travel plan or checklist. There are even more things to remember while traveling. This is a list of all the business travel tips we could think of, which you should keep in mind before getting on a plane, during the trip, and right after you come back.
A week before the trip is planned
- 1. Shift your bedtime to match the time zone of the destination.
- 2. Shift your watch to match the time zone of the destination.
- 3. Eat properly right up until before the flight.
- 4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol intake.
- 5. Do check the passport has available pages and is valid.
- 6. Check and collect all the required travel documents, including a visa (if required).
- 7. Get a map of locations nearby the hotel you have booked, and a map of the city for easy navigation.
- 8. Pull the luggage to be used out of storage.
- 9. Keep your full packing list ready, and think of all the important items you need to carry.
- 10. Start putting together all the items as per your packing list.
- 11. Pack for your destination’s climate and the season, and try to keep it as light as possible. Include business and casual attire, shoes, jackets, etc. as per your travel plan.
- 12. Stay up-to-date on all the trip details – travel dates and times, flight and hotel bookings, car rental, scheduled meetings, etc.
- 13. Keep contacts of the people who can be of help any time during travel.
- 14. Create a document or spreadsheet and start saving your travel details in advance for future reference.
Quick packing tips
- 15. Pack light.
- 16. Purchase luggage suitable for your trip and destination, if necessary.
- 17. Get durable carry on bags.
- 18. Pack toiletries, and get the rest at the destination.
- 19. Try and store all the similar items of use together.
- 20. Find out if there are web check-in options.
- 21. Check the luggage rules and regulations with your travel provider.
- 22. Keep all phones, tabs, ipods, etc. fully charged, and keep the chargers together.
- 23. Keep medicines, essential food items, vitamins, pills, etc. arranged and in enough stock.
- 24. Keep glasses, socks, lip balms, essential makeup and urgent house items in your bag, within easy reach in flight.
Planning for your trip ahead
- 25. Sign up for hotel stay loyalty programs, if you haven’t.
- 26. Book early and reduce wait times and ticket for connecting flights.
- 27. Avoid traveling during peak hours to avoid crowd at security checks.
- 28. Try and book hotels within limit from work place and airport. (if you are booking)
- 29. Contact your concierge early as well.
- 30. Do some travel research to find places to visit nearby, and local attractions and hotspots that you can checkout, apart from business schedule.
- 31. Select your seating early, so that you get it as per your preference.
- 32. Provide your in-flight meal preferences in advance as well.
- 33. Sign up to take advantage of frequent flyer programs too.
- 34. Get some extra business cards printed for carrying.
- 35. Keep all the luggage tags ready.
- 36. Keep all the contact information of the local hosts at your destination handy.
- 37. Find the nearest and most well known restaurants at your destination and place of stay as per your food and dining preferences.
- 38. Know what is expected out of this trip.
- 39. Check non-negotiable priorities of travel and focus on them first.
- 40. Double check everything once more, to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
Before leaving home checklist
- 41. Get your flight details online, and plan your transportation to the airport in advance.
- 42. Make sure you have cell phone service from your provider at the destination, so that you are in contact continuously.
- 43. Keep documents easily accessible and in proper order.
- 44. Keep your wallet arranged properly.
- 45. Keep extra envelopes and zip pouches to carry receipts, bills and other sheafs of loose paper that you have to carry as you start travel.
After reaching airport
- 46. Park your vehicle safely at the airport (if it’s your own vehicle)
- 47. Find a VIP Lounge at the airport, if available and accessible.
- 48. Go through the airport check-in, and keep all the carry-on baggage handy.
- 49. Wear light and appropriate clothing for the journey.
- 50. Carry a proper laptop bag to protect your laptop, and for the scanning to be smooth.
- 51. Do you know what the airport security will allow through? If not, find out and don’t pack anything that can’t be taken on a flight.
- 52. Take advantage of frequent business travel services and facilities.
- 53. Automate all frequent flyer numbers online and sign up for hotel loyalty points.
- 54. If traveling to or from the U.S., get your TSA pre-check status or Global Traveler in advance.
- 55. Don’t forget to stretch your legs and walk after every few hours when in flight, to keep up the circulation.
- 56. If in-flight meals are not something you can handle, then it’s better to eat right before you board the plane, drink plenty of fluids while on the plane, and in transit while you’re waiting for connecting flights.
- 57. Always be polite and friendly to all airline personnel. You don’t want to end up on the news or on Youtube for having an argument with the airline crew.
- 58. Don’t ignore fellow travelers on the seats next to you. You get to meet new people, learn new things, and you may even find a potential new customer, business partner, or employee.
- 59. Store a copy of your tickets / boarding pass / important documents in your phone.
- 60. Don’t be shy to ask for help and directions if you feel lost, and for upgrades that may be available.
Essential business travel apps
- 61. Download all the travel apps you need, and stay signed in while you’re traveling.
- 62. Use the Awardwallet app to keep track of all the loyalty programs you participate in.
- 63. Use Expensify to keep track of your travel expenses.
- 64. Use Google Translate to get past the language barrier.
- 65. Get Kayak for all your travel search needs.
- 66. Use the Taxi Magic app for taxi booking, tracking and payments.
- 67. See Tripadvisor reviews to find the most popular hotels, restaurants and attractions.
- 68. Get Wifi finder to find hotspots near you and stay connected.
- 69. Get any apps which may not be necessary where you are, but may be important at the destination (example: Ola or Uber cabs for local transportation).
- 70. Keep all your devices fully charged and updated in advance.
Destination attractions and things to do for business travelers
- 71. As you get free time, check out all the attractions and local tourist hotspots already researched.
- 72. Don’t do too much sightseeing by skipping your work schedule. It’s okay to mix business and leisure, but only so long as you get your work done first.
- 73. Explore local restaurants for food and entertainment.
- 74. Stick to your regular diet and don’t experiment much with food.
- 75. Keep up your normal routine of exercise, walking and jogging, and get a good night’s sleep as per habit.
- 76. Keep health options open – spa visits, gym, cycling for local transport, etc.
- 77. Check what else is included in your stay and make use of it as well, such as spas, concierge and room service, taxis, room service, etc.
- 78. Use a corporate card if possible to avoid expense forms.
- 79. If traveling as a group, let team members have some alone time if they feel it is necessary. Alone time matters for everyone, and team bonding can be given a break for a little while.
- 80. Make the most of face to face meetings.
- 81. Get to know the people around you, and build relationships when you are there physically.
- 82. Take pictures and videos, for they will be your cherished memories of the trip.
Travel tips for everyone
- 83. Avoid drinking too much at ‘events’ as it will disrupt both your sleep as well as business meetings and travel.
- 84. Don’t stress too much about taking notes at seminars. Use the event brochures and handouts as reminders about what are the important points in the session.
- 85. If you are going for a meeting, carry a tablet or laptop to use at the meeting.
- 86. Never skip breakfast at any point of travel.
- 87. It is very difficult to maintain a proper diet while travelling, so keep munching on energy and protein bars at times where you start feeling tired or sleepy.
- 88. If you are travelling to Europe from the US, or to the US from Asia, you will usually arrive in the morning at the destination. If possible, check in to your hotel, take a shower and get dressed before going to your meetings.
- 89. Do give feedback for all the travel services you have booked and used.
- 90. Always check the bill to see if tips have already been applied.
- 91. Tipping is important. The secret to good tipping, especially if you are a frequent visitor at a hotel or restaurant, is to tip on arrival to be accorded royal service during the stay.
- 92. Spend by card instead of cash to help gather a good amount of bonus points.
- 93. Try and keep two of everything, as far as possible, so you can reduce packing time to and fro.
- 94. All this preparation is good, and expect good things to happen. Don’t think too much about any mishaps. Enjoy the trip, do business, and treat it as a holiday from your daily routine.
Post-trip checklist for travelers
- 95. Unpack your suitcase, do the laundry, and put the suitcase back, with repacked items, into storage for the next visit.
- 96. Do an examination immediately, while it’s fresh, about what happened, what were the successes, and what are the next steps (who is responsible) for followup. Make sure everyone is on the same page.
- 97. Have a quick conversation about how the trip was, and get feedback from your manager.
- 98. Respond to the pending pile of emails (“I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you, I was traveling…”), voice messages, etc.
- 99. Learn from the travel experience and note down the positives and negatives for future reference.
- 100. Keep the pointers you learnt and missed out on in your mind, and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes the next time you have to travel for business.
- 101. Last, but not the least, cherish the memories created, and keep in touch with the people you met and made friends with.
December 13, 2017