Business travel: love it or hate it. While many people see it as a perk, especially when they get to combine business and leisure, frequent business travelers often find it inconvenient, even uncomfortable.
Traveling for business can be challenging, yes. However, experienced travelers know that they can have a much better experience when they follow certain rules that are guaranteed to work. On this list you’ll find a complete list of business travel tips and tricks that will help you navigate your next trip like a pro!
Before you travel…
1. Check your company’s business travel policy
Before you start planning your trip, make sure to check your company’s rules, procedures, and do’s & don’ts when it comes to corporate travel. Here you’ll find more information about corporate travel policies, which include things such as where to book your trip, who needs to approve it, what expenses you can claim a refund for, and how the refund process works.
2. Stick to carry-on bags only
This is one of those packing tips that can easily help you save lots of extra time. If you want to avoid losing an average 30 minutes at the baggage claim, or even having to go through the hassle of your suitcase being lost, then keep it simple, pack light, and stick to carry-on luggage.
3. Keep your essentials packed and ready to go in your suitcase
Keep your essential items, such as toiletries and medicines, always at hand and ready to pack. If you travel often, it’s a great idea to keep these items in a case which you only use for your trips.
4. Keep your essentials handy when on the road
Boarding passes, IDs, important documents, your phone, agenda, credit card, wallet… Pack them together where you can always easily find them when you need them. There’s nothing worse than not finding your ID when you get to the gate, and delaying the boarding while you unpack everything in a burst of panic!
5. Pack both business attire and casual clothes
Even if the dress code at your meetings is always business attire, there might be occasions when you’ll have to dress casual too—and you don’t want to “waste” business clothes for these occasions. Besides, you never know when your clients might invite you to a casual meal or activity!
6. Keep security checks in mind when you pack
Security checks can be very strict, with all liquids, electronics, and even chargers often being required to be taken out of your suitcase. To ensure you make your way through security checks as quickly as possible, keep all items to be checked at security ready to unpack when the time comes.
7. Make comfort a priority
Whether it’s your bags, your clothes, your meals, or your sleep and skincare routine, make sure you have all the basics you need in order to feel comfortable during your trip.
8. Sign up for rewards programs
Are you a member of any loyalty program? Make sure you check out the advantages you can benefit from as a frequent flyer, which could really upgrade the quality of your trip! If you’re not, you could be interested in signing up. First, because you can already use the points from your upcoming trip to start saving. Secondly, because membership can sometimes give you interesting perks even if you haven’t saved any points yet.
9. Make sure you charge your electronic devices
Charge all your electronic devices before leaving your house, and even throughout the trip when possible. You never know when a delay, cancellation, or work-related issue that requires you to use your phone might come up!
10. Fly non-stop
Whenever possible, choose non-stop flights and avoid layovers. You’ll spend less time traveling and you’ll be able to arrive better rested. Plus, you’ll have better chances of avoiding delays, cancellations, overbookings, and lost baggage situations.
11. Make use of airport lounges
Offering a comfortable space, Wi-Fi connection, plugs, food, drinks, showers, and sometimes even spas, airport lounges can definitely enhance your business travel experience! They’re a great way to relax before your flight or catch up on last-minute work when necessary. Access to airport lounges is usually included for business class passengers, but can often be bought separately.
12. Use a suit bag
If you don’t have time or you don’t know if you’ll be able to get your suit ironed before your business meetings, then bring it with you on the plane in a suit bag to make sure it arrives wrinkle-free. Check your cabin allowance beforehand to make sure you can bring it on board. Another popular option is wearing it during your flight to avoid getting too many wrinkles on it.
13. Bring a power bank
This was never proven to be a bad idea! You never know when you might need it since it can be difficult to find a plug when you’re on the road for long periods of time.
14. Bring your (travel size) toiletries
You want to look your best at that important business meeting, but we all know those hair products from the hotel probably won’t cut it. Even if your hotel offers many quality toiletries, there’s nothing like your own products, which are the best match for your needs—so bring them along!
15. Pack healthy snacks
For many business travelers, a work trip often means irregular meal times and unhealthy snacks. With a little preparation, you can actually avoid this: pack enough healthy, balanced snacks to keep with you not only on the plane but also whenever you’re on the go.
16. Choose your plane seat wisely
Especially if you’re traveling on a long flight, your seat selection can make a difference between a decent and an uncomfortable flight. There are dedicated websites where you can find the best and worst seat for your flight in particular, so it’s always a good idea to check these before selecting your seat.
17. Do your research on foreign business etiquette
You’ve prepared your speech and you have all your stats ready, what else? Depending on where you’re traveling, business etiquette can be very different from your own country. Make sure to check the basic rules beforehand, so you’ll be able to stretch that client’s hand—or not—with confidence!
18. Download helpful apps
From your company’s travel and expense management software to your hotel and rental car providers, in today’s world apps can give you access to an easier way of doing things. Other helpful apps for business travel are Uber, taxi apps, and apps for booking coworking and meeting rooms.
19. Bring a power adapter
If you’re traveling abroad, chances are the electric plug system is different. Make sure you pack an international power adapter to connect your devices, but also to prevent them from breaking due to voltage issues.
20. Check in beforehand
Whether it’s for your flight, a TSA precheck, your hotel, or even your car rental—if it’s possible to check-in beforehand, then don’t hesitate to do it. It will save you precious travel time!
During your business trip…
21. Choose water, skip alcohol
Drinking enough water and staying hydrated is key to preventing jet lag, but not only: staying hydrated is also good for cardiovascular health, your skin, and your overall mood.
22. If you have a meeting shortly after landing and need to be fresh, try drinking coffee two hours before the meeting
While drinking unlimited amounts of coffee during your flight will definitely not help, sometimes you do need it—especially when you have no time to take a nap before your business meeting.
23. Layover tip: take the time to connect
If you have enough time during your layover, use it wisely to catch up on emails and calls. This way, you’ll be up to date on any important news and changes to your business trip. You’ll also be able to avoid the stress of having to deal with an endless list of emails to answer when you finally arrive at your destination.
Sitting in the same position for hours on end can have terrible effects on your circulation, your back, and your neck. And who wants to arrive at their important business meeting with a stiff neck? Take time to stretch every now and then throughout your flight, and you’ll feel much better.
25. Adapt to meal times as soon as possible
This is one of the few key tips that make all the difference when it comes to fighting jet lag. Try to adapt your meal times to local times at your destination as soon as possible, even before your flight. Adjusting your meal times will tell your body when it’s time to wake up and be active, or when to sleep.
26. Beat jet lag with exercise
Recent studies show that exercise can counter the effects of jet lag. In particular, exercising in the early morning or early afternoon pushed the circadian rhythm to an earlier time while exercising between 7 and 10 pm had the opposite effect.
27. Don’t be tempted to sleep as soon as you arrive
Last but not least, the most obvious tip for fighting jet lag. After a long, exhausting trip you might be tempted to sleep as soon as you arrive, no matter the local time. Try to avoid doing this at all costs, and let your body adjust to the new time zone as soon as possible.
28. Try to stick to your most important daily routines
Staying physically and mentally on top of your game is important to make the most out of all those business meetings. That’s why it’s a good idea to take your most important daily routines from back home on your business trip. Some examples might be meditating, practicing yoga, or going for a morning run.
29. Take pictures of all your receipts
Every expense that is being paid for by your company needs to be documented. No receipts, no refunds is a pretty standard rule here. This is why we recommend you take a picture every time you get a receipt. This way, even if you lose the paper version, you will always have the picture to prove your expenses.
30. Store your receipts properly
That means: don’t scatter them around in every possible pocket! If you need a paper version of all receipts, make sure to bring an appropriate folder or envelope where you can keep them.
31. Use a firewall when using public internet
Especially when you use your work computer and access work-related information, make sure your antivirus is up to date and you have a firewall to protect you from anyone accessing your data.
32. There are alternatives to working in your hotel room
Need a better working space than your hotel room? A last-minute meeting came up and you don’t know where to receive your guests? A coworking space is probably your best option. With new shared office spaces popping up in all major cities, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find.
After your business trip…
33. Don’t forget to report your expenses
Once back home, it’s time to do the expense reporting. If you’ve followed the previous tips and kept good track of your receipts, it shouldn’t be that complicated. However, make sure to do it in time and check that nothing is missing!
34. Send thank you emails
If your business partners and clients made sure your business trip was successful, send them an email to thank them for that and for their time. They will definitely appreciate it!
35. Leave reviews
Did you enjoy your stay at the hotel? Was your customer care agent nice to you? Be kind and leave a good review! You might be back at the same hotel next time, and it will give them something nice to remember you for.
We hope you found these travel hacks helpful! Now it’s time to put them into practice on your next business trip: wherever you’re traveling, we wish you a comfortable and successful business trip.