10 Essential tips for the first time business traveler

Suitcase Airport

Travelling for business can be a chore, especially for first-timers, and there are a few tips, tricks and hacks you should learn.  Check out our top 10 tips for reducing the stress and giving you a better experience in transit. 

Pack it like Bingham

suitcase at airport

George Clooney made packing look easy as Ryan Bingham in the 2009 movie Up in the Air.  One small carry-on case, perfectly packed, gliding through security like a head of state.  This should be your goal. Get a good-quality carry-on case, pack light and use packing cells.  Beat the immigration queue and go straight to your meeting – time is money.  And as retro as it sounds, a notebook and pen may come in handy. For more tips on packing like a pro and maximizing your carry on, click here

Coming and going

Passport image

International travelers need a current passport with at least six months until expiry. And there can be more requirements. Do you need a Visa or other authorizations? Do you have the right type of Visa for business travel? There are many potential paperwork disasters lying in wait at immigration. Check with your Travel Manager – they are experts in what you will need to enter, and sometimes exit, foreign countries.

Got cover?

Insurance image

Travel insurance is essential, especially for overseas trips. An annual policy for worldwide cover is tax deductible, not prohibitively expensive and you won’t have to remember to buy a new policy for every trip. Check the current risk assessment of the country you’re travelling to and ensure your policy covers that region. If you are concerned or unsure then contact your Travel Manager for advice and best practices. 

Lounging around

Lounge image

Airline lounges can reduce the stress of flying and lift you out of the chaos of the main concourse. Walk into peace and quiet, showers, decent food and drinks for free.  Business Class fares generally include lounge access but some are available for a fee. There is no better place to be if you riding out a delay.

Going long haul

going long haul in airplane

If you’re traveling to a vastly different time zone, try to sleep in the night time of that zone prior to takeoff.  Body clocks are hard to reset and it is better if you can do this on the flight.  While sleeping in Economy Class can be a challenge, earplugs, noise-cancelling headphones and Shiraz may help. If your business meeting is crucial, stumping up for a Business Class fare is never a bad option.

Plane stretching

yoga stretches

There are yoga and exercise workouts you can do in your seat. At least get up and walk around and stretch every so often. And be aware that it is not easy to work in Economy Class. If you plan to prepare for your business meeting on the plane, know that you will be cramped and regularly interrupted. Stay hydrated.

Build relationships

build relationships

Essential in business and just as useful for travelers. Developing relationships with car hire companies, hotels and airlines is a surefire way to boost your experience.  Again, your Travel Manager may have suggestions. Loyalty programs deliver discounts and familiarity.  “Welcome back, we have your usual room ready” is a sweet greeting after a long flight.

At what cost?

receipt at what cost

A greasy burger or glazed salmon with a white wine jus? Limo, hire car, taxi or bus? Veuve or VB? Better to check with the boss before you travel, rather than return to a frosty reception. Retain all your receipts and jot a note on them if they’re obscure, like a taxi ride. There's a whole range of apps for it. If you’re self-employed, keep a diary of your movements and spending.

Work and work out

towels and spa

It’s easy to go from meetings to drinks to dinner to bed and repeat. Find time to sweat in the gym, do some laps in the hotel pool or walk to a local attraction. Your mind will be clearer and you’ll look and feel fresher. For more ways that business travel can actually help not hinder your health click here

Remember where you are

meeting new people

You are either representing your company or yourself. And your country. Know the local laws, be courteous and tip where it is customary. And watch what you eat. It may be fun to experiment on the deep fried meat from a street food vendor but you are here to work – why take the risk? Remember to stick to bottled water in some destinations.