Whether you travel regularly for your business, or travel infrequently, implementing these business travel tips will save you time, money and reduce stress.
In this week's roundup post, what better place to start than with this video from our archives.
Best Business Travel Tips for Executives and Entrepreneurs
While this video was published a couple of years ago, the tips are still relevant today. Here's a summary of the business travel tips presented in this video.
Things to Pack
- Bring earbuds. Have multiple pairs, in your briefcase, car, office, etc.
- Bring extra phone chargers - including a portable phone charger.
- If you're going to a meeting with an agenda, have your assistant print out your agenda with as much information on it as possible (who you're meeting with, information about the meeting, the outcome, what they want, what you want, etc. ).
- Hand sanitizer. When you sit on a plane, sanitize your hands, the arm rests, tray, etc. You never know who may have been sitting there before you, and if they were sick, they may sneeze, touch their face, and then touch other things. As an entrepreneur, you can't afford to take time off as a result of getting sick.
- Have cash on hand to tip curbside assistants that check your bags for you. They work for tips, so always have cash on hand to tip them.
Things to Do (or not)
- Put in the notes section of your phone your favorite restaurants and places to visit in cities you've traveled to. Also make note of what you like to order. In addition to be able to remember what good restaurants to go to, if you have a friend that is going to visit a particular city, you can provide them with good recommendations.
- American Express Lounges - An American Express Platinum card allows you to go into the lounges that they have at different airports. The lounges have chargers, T.V.s bars, restaurants. They're quiet, and you'll be around other business people as well.
- Use Uber, rather than taking a taxi.
- Write a thank you note to the pilot, thanking him or her for a safe landing. Put your business card in the note. You'll be surprised by how many times a pilot will remember you, and greet you. Sometimes there are additional perks that come with it.
- Don't use WiFi on the plane. Instead of working, use your flight time to recharge, read books, write letters, etc.
- Add apps for the airlines that you travel on to your phone. If there are delays or other issues, you'll receive notification.
- Sign up for TSA Precheck to avoid long security lines, having to remove your shoes, etc.
- If you miss your check in time, check your bags for a later flight. Get on your flight, make your meeting, and then you can send someone to pick up your bags later.
Settle on an Airline Strategy
When it comes time to book a flight, you can go with one of two strategies.
The first is to fly the same airline, every single time. There are benefits to this, of course, such as racking up miles, and elite status. This option benefits entrepreneurs who are truly frequent flyers more than those who travel only occasionally.
The second strategy is to shop for the cheapest flight. If you go this route, there are a few things to keep in mind. One is that these cheaper flights often come with hidden expenses, such as high cost even for carry on luggage. So if saving money is your goal, be sure to factor in those costs, as well as other costs that may not be so obvious. For example, I once thought I got a good deal on a flight, but it was one of the most uncomfortable flights of my life. Not even water was served, there were no tray tables (perhaps because there was nothing to eat or drink?), and the seats were incredibly cramped. It's a flight I won't soon forget, and an experience I have no desire to repeat.
The Best Flight Deals Around the World
Having said that, if you do want to save money on a flight, this article published on Business Insider provides some great tips on how to find cheap flights. One thing I hadn't tried before was the suggestion to use Google Flights to search for your flight. I tested it out, and just for the heck of it went with their suggestion, to get pricing for a flight to China. The lowest cost for a round trip ticket from Denver to Shanghai, China came in at $553.
That sounded like a great price for a round trip ticket to China, but guess what? I was able to find the same deal on Travelocity. What does this tell you? The bottom line is that the particular flight search and booking service you use to a large degree is just a matter of preference, since they all search the same deals for you. Having said that, some offer package deals (flight, hotel, rental car, for example) that can offer you additional savings. For those features, Travelocity and Kayak are popular options.
By the way, if you prefer to book your flight with the airline directly, this article published on Business Insider provides a list of the best low-cost airlines around the world. It's especially worth checking out if you travel internationally, as it covers airlines from India to Brazil to Australia and more.
Flight delays are one of the most frustrating aspects of travel, especially if a delay results in missing a connecting flight. According to this article published on Business Insider, the three most common causes for delayed flights are "backups within the US aviation system, weather, and airline related issues" with around 50% of the late flights being within the airline's control.
Obviously, one of the best things you can do to prepare for delays is to avoid the impact of them by flying direct whenever possible. This keeps the domino effect of one late flight causing you to miss a connecting flight from happening.
One of the things you can't control, however, is flight delays due to weather. Sure, you can avoid traveling at times when weather is at its worst, but you can't always control the timing of your travels when others are involved. In this case, I keep an eye on weather reports and come up with a plan B if it looks like I may end up stranded somewhere. My plan B can include anything from checking options for flying into a different city, to car rental options, to checking out hotels in the city where I may end up stuck.
If a delay may keep you from making a commitment such as a meeting, have a backup plan that includes options such as GoToMeeting and using your phone as a hot spot.
One of the easiest ways to reduce stress when traveling is to invest in quality luggage. As this article on Business Insider states,
Cheaping out is just not worth it anymore. Not when you're 1,000 miles from home and the only things you have with you are in a flimsy container that is scraping its stuck wheel against historic cobblestone streets. It's hard to take in the sights when you're trying to ensure your belongings are still with you.
If you've ever made the mistake of buying crappy luggage, I don't have to tell you what a pain it can be. From wheels that don't roll to zippers that get stuck, it's just not worth it. So save yourself some heartache, and buy the good stuff.
Out of all of my business travel tips, my favorite one is to travel light. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. Here's what happened.
I'll never forget the day when the luggage cart groaned beneath the weight of all my suitcases. I obviously loaded it with more than I should have. Nevertheless, I headed toward the long, steep, concrete ramp, attempting to steady the contents of the cart as I went. As I made my way down the ramp, the cart gradually began to pick up speed until I could no longer control it. Pigeons, tourists, and cab drivers scrambled in a desperate attempt to get out of my way as I sped recklessly downhill. By the time the wild ride was over, I had several cuts and bruises on my left shin. In spite of my injuries, I refused all offers of help, and with as much dignity as I could muster, held my head high and limped painfully to a waiting cab.
And that, my friends, was the day that I vowed to never again travel with luggage that weighed more than I do. Not only does traveling light keep me from terrifying innocent bystanders or ending up bruised and bloody, it means I have less to deal with in general.
Unless traveling internationally, I never check bags. And due to the backpack that I typically travel with, I'm never the unfortunate one that ends up having to check my carry on due to no more room in the overhead bins. While it takes a little bit of creative packing to make it happen, I'm able to pack my laptop, and enough clothing and personal items for a couple of days, and still fit everything under the seat. As limiting as that may seem, especially for a female traveler, I've never regretted my decision to travel light.
What Are Your Best Business Travel Tips?
Be sure to share your best travel tips or any of your favorite travel stories (good or bad) in the comments below.