Every day millions of hours are spent travelling for business around the world. Here are my top business travel hacks to make your next work trip even simpler and stress-free.
Did you know that there’s a difference between a ‘direct’ and ‘nonstop’ flight? A ‘direct’ flight sounds great but could still stop - it just means you will have to sit on the plane rather than change planes. Opt for ‘nonstop’ rather than a ‘direct’ if you can.
Check departuresDelays are bound to happen so do take time out to check for delays before you leave – there’s no point being at the airport longer than needed. But, remember things change so don’t cut it too fine!
If you do lots of back-to-back business travel, save time by keeping a partially packed suitcase. Replenish toiletries and essentials such as underwear and sleepwear as soon as you return. Then, next time you have to pack, you’ve only got to add some business clothes and you’re ready to go.
We all know that taking cabin luggage only means a faster exit on arrival. However, if you’re late boarding you may find that the overhead bins are full, forcing you to check in your baggage. Instead of taking a standard cabin-sized, rigid suitcase and laptop case, take two more equally-sized bags (check with your airline first). One should be the maximum size that you could, if necessary, fit under the seat in front. The other should be a non-rigid canvas bag which can be slotted into any odd space in-between the big suitcases in the overhead bins.
Where to stay?
The last thing you need if you’re preparing for a big meeting and have those all-important last minute tweaks to make to a presentation is to be without WiFi, or stuck in a hotel with a load of partying students when you’re trying to catch-up on your sleep after a night flight. Easily find hotels recommended by other business travellers so you can rest assured you’re choosing the right stay for business.
Recharging and plugs
Almost all devices can be charged via USB. So don’t haul around lots of individual plugs and cables when a couple of connection cables to your laptop or a USB adapter will do. Similarly, a multi-country adapter plug is much better than multiple plugs for different countries.
If you don’t mind eating veggie, consider pre-ordering your meals before you leave, as a ‘special meal’ will invariably mean you will be served first. This means you can relax/go to sleep while everyone else is still being served their food.
Spotting the ‘right’ security queue
The shortest line isn’t always the fastest. Try and check out the efficiency of the personnel manning the line and the mix of travellers ahead of you, such as families with small children. Pick right and you could literally save weeks of queuing over a business lifetime.
Get your ZZZ’s in
Transcontinental and transatlantic flights don’t always provide enough hours to get a full night’s sleep. Maximize the amount of snooze you get by eating before you get on the plane. You can even brush your teeth and get into some comfortable sleep gear before boarding so you can ‘hit the hay’ as soon as you’ve buckled up. But bear in mind that the best way to beat jet leg is to sleep as if you are in the time zone you’re due to arrive in.
Have an onboard bag
Don’t be one of those people who wait to get on the plane before rummaging in their bags to extract the items they don’t want to put in the overhead bins (holding everyone else up in the aisle in the meantime). Instead, keep all those items you will want during the flight in a small separate bag that you can easily extract as soon as you board. An outside pocket of your suitcase is great for this.
Be app happy
One of the biggest headaches of business travel is keeping a record of and claiming expenses as well as keeping on top of boarding cards and schedules. There are plenty of apps that can help which let you track any kind of expense as well as billable time and mileage too. Expense reports needn’t be taxing.
Record room and parking numbers
If you’re on the road and constantly changing hotels it can get a little confusing trying to remember the number of the room you’re staying in. Take a quick photo of your door or your car parking space on your phone as soon as you arrive.
Enjoy the journey
If you feel like all you ever see of a new country is the airport, the road to your hotel and the meeting room you need to get to it’s time to try and do a little bit of forward planning. Could you arrive a little earlier to enjoy a weekend stop over? Could a colleague recommend a local restaurant or café near your hotel that will give you at least a little flavour of the country that you are visiting? A little bit of planning in advance will reward you richly.
By Gillian Tans, COO/President of Booking.com