The top business travel tips for the first time business traveller

10 essential tips for the first time business traveler

Heading off on your first business trip and not sure how to prepare?

From packing like a pro to working and adapting to the local time — we've got the top business travel tips to help you master it all! These travel tips will help you save time and avoid the most common issues. Just sit back, relax and keep reading to get ready for the first of many business trips.

1. Pack like a pro

Start with proper carry-on luggage and take the time to pack light. Packing cubes and internal pockets can make all the difference for business travel. Bypass the lineups and head straight to your destination – you're on a roll! Read our packing personalities tips to find out which packing personality you are.

Here are a few key tips for carry-on luggage:

  • Good quality materials
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to maneuver (4 spin wheels are the best!)
  • Security lock


2. Papers, please

As a first-time business traveler, you might be nervous about forgetting important documents. Let's do a quick review. For international travel, you need a current passport with at least six months until expiry.

And there's more. Do you need a visa or other authorizations? Do you have the correct type of visa for business travel? Starting in 2025, US passport holders traveling to Europe will need to apply for visa authorization through the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).

There are many potential paperwork disasters on business trips, but lucky for you, your dedicated agent knows it all.

Check out the Traveler Resource Hub for more helpful information on travel visas.


3. Is your business travel covered?

Before you take to the skies, check business travel insurance off your to-do list. Whether it's a short trip or a long one, on a first business trip, we want to make sure you're covered.

Money may not buy happiness, but it can get you an annual policy – saving you time, money and many headaches later. One last thing: don't forget to scope out the risk landscape of your destination to make sure it's in policy. Questions? Your dedicated Travel Consultant is in the wings.

Ask about business travel insurance coverage for trip interruption and emergency medical treatment. Corporate Traveler offers a range of insurance products both for single-trip and multi-trip annual plans. Contact your Travel Manager for more information


4. Level up your airport experience

Airline lounges can reduce the stress of flying and lift you out of the chaos and noise of the main concourse. Step into peace and quiet, showers, healthy snacks and drinks for free (hello, morning mimosa!).

Business Class fares generally include lounge access, but some are available for a fee. Credit card rewards programs can also give you access to airport lounges. There is no better place to be if you're riding out flight delays or prepping for important business meetings.

If you're on a business trip during a busy time of year, this guide to airport survival for the holidays shares the top airport tips.


5. Going the distance

The carry-on bag is stowed and you're settling in. If you're on a business trip to a different time zone, try to eat and sleep during the flight based on the local time zone you're heading to. Body clocks are hard to reset, and it's better if you can start the transition mid-air.

While sleeping in Economy Class can be a challenge, earplugs and noise-canceling headphones may help. If your business meeting is crucial, upgrading to a Business Class fare could be the thing you need if your travel policy allows.  

For long-haul trips, make sure your member numbers are locked and loaded so you can maximize loyalty programs. Once you land, eat a meal, stay hydrated and move around a bit to beat jet lag.


6. Take advantage of tech

Apps exist for almost everything, and they can make your first business trip more relaxed, too. Keeping all of your travel itinerary together, finding a place for dinner, or translation apps are all at your fingertips.

We've selected the 9 best travel apps to help you plan ahead and stay organized while traveling. Get travel tips from other travelers and locals too!


7. Always ask about amenities

Global travel is a huge industry, and many operators are adopting sustainability programs. Small changes can make a big difference, especially on business trips.

It's now common for certain services and supplies to be on request at business travel hotels as part of efforts to reduce waste. Daily housekeeping, razors, lotions, and other amenities are still available, but they might not be stocked in the hotel room by default. Pack light and ask what's available when you check in.

What's the strangest perk we've seen? A full set of gym clothes and shoes to borrow while staying at a hotel.


8. Counting costs

A greasy burger or room service? Should you use a limousine, take a taxi, or use public transportation? Check with the boss before you travel on what counts as travel expenses rather than return to a chilly reception and a bill you have to pay.

Hold onto all your receipts and make a note on them if they're low on details, like a taxi ride.


9. Work smart and stay refreshed

It's easy to go from meetings to drinks to dinner to bed and repeat. It's important you keep a check on your mental and physical health while you travel. Jet lag can sneak up on you. The first day, you feel fine, and then, to your surprise, you wake up at 4 am every day. 

With the rising trend of digital nomads, business travelers have come up with new ways to find balance while on the road. A physical change of scenery can help.

Instead of working in the evening in your hotel room, why not answer emails in the lobby or patio of the hotel? Set a clear divide between work and travel, then your mind will be clearer, and you'll look and feel fresher.


10. Flawless first impressions

When you travel on business trips, you're representing your company and yourself. And your country. But a few travel tips can help you make a good impression. Know the local laws, be courteous and tip when needed.

Pro travel tip: watch what you eat and drink on a business trip. It may be fun to experiment on the deep fried delights from a street food vendor but why take the risk? Stick to bottled water in some destinations and avoid ice if you can.

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