10 Business Travel Tips for Jet-Setting Entrepreneurs
Are you a business owner closing deals and meeting clients all over the world, one who could use a few business travel tips to make it easier?
Business Travel Tips to Keep You Sane
While travel has the potential to be exciting, it can also be draining and stressful, especially for someone like you who’s working on the road. And believe it or not, business travelers in the US took 463 million business trips in 2018, which means you are not alone. It also means that millions of clever people have come up with equally clever solutions to the troubles of business travel.
In this article, we share some of our favorite business travel tips so your next trip can be as enjoyable as it is productive.
1. Become a Master of the Carry-on Bag
Do you sometimes check your luggage when you fly? While luggage handling has improved across the board by 30%, there are still 24.8 million bags lost or misplaced per year in the airline industry. Checking and receiving luggage takes enough time — imagine showing up to a business meeting in another city without your snappy business attire?
Now’s the time to start practicing only taking a carry-on bag, no matter where you go. To do this, you may have to learn how to pack more efficiently. First, make a packing list — figure out everything you need (and don’t need) before you even start. Remove redundancies. Second, roll your clothes: they’re less likely to wrinkle and you can fit more into a bag. Third, wear or carry a jacket instead of packing it. Fourth, you can usually bring a personal item like a laptop or messenger bag apart from your carry-on — put everything you need for the flight right in there.
The truth is that you don’t want to be dragging a heavy bag on the way to a business meeting, and you definitely don’t want to risk losing luggage that contains your favorite power suit or high-heeled shoes.
2. Sign Up for TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry
TSA Pre-Check only applies to travelers inside of the United States. For international travel, Global Entry will be your choice for speeding up your security check.
Average time travelers spend in TSA security check is around 30 minutes, though some locations in particularly busy cities or at certain busy times can end up with far longer waits. Of course, that’s assuming the average, and that everything during the check goes as planned. If you (or even someone in front of you) is flagged or taken aside, the amount of time you lose could be significant.
According to the TSA website linked above, travelers who take advantage of the TSA Pre-Check program have wait times of less than five minutes. Plus, with over 200 domestic airports implementing the program, it will help you in almost all major cities.
Reduce stress and the amount of time you spend waiting to get to your gate by signing up for these programs, which allow you priority access to checkpoints at the airport.
3. Charge Your Electronics Before You Fly
These days, many airplanes have WiFi on board, so you can get work done while you fly.
However, they don’t always have easily accessible electrical outlets. In order to ensure that you can use all your devices in the air, make sure you charge them beforehand. That way, you can check your emails and make revisions to client proposals without worrying about batteries.
And remember that at places like conferences, the WiFi or your mobile data signal can be bad, which drains your battery faster as it searches for a signal. Keeping your phone and devices topped up could be doubly important in those circumstances. Another handy business travel tip: consider apps like WiFi Map that help you avoid these kinds of dead spots when you’re trying to get work done on the fly.
Lastly, consider investing in a pocket charger for your devices. Pocket chargers are independent batteries you can charge in advance, which you can then plug your dying phone or tablet into through a number of different USB-type connections. This gives your devices an “extra life,” even if you’re far away from outlets or don’t have the time to stop.
4. Book Non-Stop Flights When Possible
Even though flights with layovers are sometimes cheaper, they also lengthen the duration of your travel time.
In addition, they increase the likelihood that you’ll miss a connection and end up at your destination later than expected. Instead, always try to book non-stop flights. When visiting flight booking websites, you can always filter your search results by “non-stop,” so you’re not even tempted to buy a flight with a layover.
Just remember that while non-stop flights can save you time and stress, they do tend to cost more money. As always, traveling is a balancing act between money and convenience, so pick the option that works best for you.
5. Book Everything in One Place
These kinds of one-stop booking apps usually come with more than travel and lodging — they’ll even connect you to Groupon or other services that help you find activities and deals at your destination. From fun leisure activities like finding movie times or taking a class to helping you make a dinner reservation at a vetted, quality restaurant.
When it comes to business travel tips, they can’t all be about efficiency. Travel can be depressing and lonely, so make a little time to have a good time every now and again.
Just make sure the travel site you choose keeps your data safe. The danger of all-in-one solutions is that all of your digital eggs end up in one basket.
6. Pack Healthy Snacks
Flying can be physically draining, and airlines aren’t necessarily known for their healthy gourmet food.
When it comes to your in-flight meal, don’t settle for pretzels or peanuts. Instead, be prepared with a healthy snack or meal of your own, and you’ll feel better overall. The kind of snacks you choose have a massive impact on your mood and energy levels. The food you consume has proven effects on depression levels and even decision-making abilities, both of which often take a hit during the stress of travel anyway.
Cheese that can travel easily like Babybels or string cheese has fat to help sate hunger and protein to keep you going. Dried fruits travel easily and are snackable. Nuts pack protein, as do prepackaged, cooked meats like salami or pepperoni. Luckily, all of these are also allowed on airplanes, so it won’t be a TSA problem.
7. Bring a Comfortable Pillow
How many times have you started nodding off on a plane, only to find that your nearest headrest is your seat neighbor, who definitely doesn’t want your drool on his or her shoulder?
Do yourself a favor and invest in a comfortable and ergonomic travel pillow, which will help you get some much-needed rest when you’re on the way to a client meeting or coming home from a grueling trip. They can also double as a pillow for an uncomfortable hotel bed as well.
Even if you think that you can’t sleep on planes, the right travel pillow may change your mind.
8. Protect Your Cash with a Travel Wallet
When you’re traveling, you often need to keep certain documents handy, like your driver’s license and passport.
You also don’t want to put yourself at risk for theft by carrying your full wallet with all your cash and credit cards. Instead, a travel wallet can keep your important documents secure. Since it’s typically more slim than a regular wallet, a travel wallet is easy to keep on hand and won’t leave you vulnerable.
Remember that often the cards in your wallet might not be your own. If you have an expense account card from your company, you’re holding a potential financial breach everywhere you go. Keeping a sharp eye on your spending and keeping comprehensive expense reports could save you, but if that corporate card gets stolen or cloned you could end up in hot water.
9. Consider a Cable Organizer
As a business traveler, you likely have a charger for your smartphone, your laptop, your tablet, and maybe even some other items, like Bluetooth headphones.
Do you often find that all your cables get tangled in your briefcase, handbag, or carry-on bag? A great business travel tip is to purchase a cable organizer that is built exactly for this purpose, and you’ll never have to scramble to find your phone charger again.
Tired of pulling out a huge, tangled knot of cables when you’re just trying to charge your phone and get some much-needed sleep? Check out a cable organizer.
10. Save Space with Packing Cubes
When you travel for business, you’ll want to avoid checking bags, since waiting at the baggage carousel can waste precious time. Furthermore, you don’t want to risk losing your luggage.
As we’ve discussed, a carry-on is always a fantastic alternative if you can make the space. The downside of traveling with a carry-on, however, is that you can’t take as many items. If you absolutely need a suitcase, perhaps for long trips, there may be a solution. To fit more into your small suitcase, try using space-saving packing cubes, which can help you make the most out of your limited space.
What are some of your favorite travel accessories that you already use regularly? What business travel tips do you have for your fellow travelers?
We’d love to hear some of your top picks and ideas.