The life of a business traveller is not an easy one. Days without seeing the family, rushing to get there on time, waiting in queues, hanging around in airports, running after taxis, lonely hotel rooms... Nevertheless, business travellers often rate travelling positively, even to the point that it ranks among the main points they like about their job. It offers great opportunities for professional (and personal) growth and it certainly breaks up the monotony of office life.The experience is well worth it and, as time goes by, every traveller gathers tales and adds them to their own list of lessons to bear in mind for better travelling. We have put together a list for you of a few rules of thumb that we have heard (with minimal variations) from plenty of regular business travellers.
- Packing your luggage is a true art form. Anticipating what you are going to need and knowing how to keep it to a minimum is a real skill, especially if you are going to catch a flight and packing well can save you the hassle of checking in a suitcase. Small luggage will save you time and having to drag it like a packhorse around the airport terminal or looking for taxi.
- Always carry a small first-aid kit in your luggage. We all know what little ailments we are prone to, so you should know what is best to take with you. Ibuprofen for headaches, indigestion relief, fruit salts and sticking plaster for blisters, etc. They should figure on your list for making a basic first-aid kit.
- If you are catching a flight, always check in as early as possible. If you wait to do it in the old school way (at a desk in the airport), you’re highly likely to be left with the worst seat. This is more important than you may think if your flight lasts over two hours.
- We all know that taxi trips are often the cause of arguments, particularly when you are abroad, and you sometimes get the feeling that you are being conned. To avoid misunderstandings, get an idea of the route you should be taking before you go. You can search on Google Maps and save it.
- Always take out travel insurance, especially if you are going abroad. You never know what may happen. Lots of credit cards offer insurance that covers the contents of your wallet or purse. This is basic but extremely useful if you ever need to replace your documentation. Depending which countries you travel to, don’t forget that you may not be covered for healthcare. Roadside assistance is never a bad idea if you are going to be driving.
- You should make sure you know your company’s expenses policy, but also use your common sense when deciding whether it is worth spending money. If your flight lasts 10 hours, it may be worth spending a bit more money to get a better seat. If you would need 3 changes of public transport to get to your hotel, it might be a good idea to pay for a taxi. It is important to know how to manage our money, but if it is a matter of health or comfort, it is surely worth spending some.
- When it comes to important information that you have to remember, don’t forget that your smartphone has a camera. Take a photo. This helps you to remember things like where you parked, the details from a business card or receipts to include in your expense report (although there are much better alternatives in this last case).
- If you are a regular traveller, it is worth signing up to all of the loyalty programmes run by airlines, hotels, etc. When you collect a certain amount of points, you’ll be upgraded and gain access to interesting offers. However, many organizations will reward you simply for belonging to the programme.
- Plan your free time before travelling. Of course, you’re on a business trip, you’re there to work but you will have some free time. In fact, that is the great thing about business travel. Making the most of this free time is down to you. If you at least have an idea of what there is to see, what is worth visiting or simply where you should aim to eat, you just have to keep your fingers crossed that you get a bit of spare time.
- Last but by no means least: take it all in your stride. There are many factors in your trip that are beyond your control. If your plane is delayed, you hit traffic or any other unforeseeable annoyance occurs, try to take it as well as you can. If you can’t do anything to resolve the situation, try not to make it worse by getting stressed.
If you regularly travel for your company, you are sure to have your own set of tips to share. It would be great to hear some of them in the comments section!