Travelling for business can be a chore, especially for first-timers, and there are a few tips, tricks and hacks you should learn. Check out our top 10 tips for reducing the stress and giving you a better experience in transit.
George Clooney made packing look easy as Ryan Bingham in the 2009 movie Up in the Air. One small carry-on case, perfectly packed, gliding through security like a head of state. This should be your goal. Get a good-quality carry-on case, pack light and use packing cells. Beat the immigration queue and go straight to your meeting – time is money. And as retro as it sounds, a notebook and pen may come in handy.
International travellers need a current passport with at least six months until expiry. And there can be more requirements. Do you need a Visa or other authorisations? Do you have the right type of Visa for business travel? There are many potential paperwork disasters lying in wait at immigration. Check with your Travel Manager – they are experts in what you will need to enter, and sometimes exit, foreign countries.
Travel insurance is essential, especially for overseas trips and even more critically for the US where the cost of medical treatment can be crippling. An annual policy for worldwide cover is tax deductible, not prohibitively expensive and you won’t have to remember to buy a new policy for every trip. Carry a copy with you and register your movements with the government’s smartraveller.gov.au website. Check the current risk assessment of the country you’re travelling to on the same website and ensure your policy covers that region.
Airline lounges can reduce the stress of flying and lift you out of the hurly burly of the main concourse. Walk into peace and quiet, showers, decent food and drinks for free. Business Class fares generally include lounge access but some are available for a fee. There is no better place to be if you riding out a delay.
If you’re travelling to a vastly different time zone, try to sleep in the night time of that zone prior to takeoff. Body clocks are hard to reset and it is better if you can do this on the flight. While sleeping in Economy Class can be a challenge, earplugs, noise-cancelling headphones and Shiraz may help. If your business meeting is crucial, stumping up for a Business Class fare is never a bad option.
There are yoga and exercise workouts you can do in your seat. At least get up and walk around and stretch every so often. And be aware that it is not easy to work in Economy Class. If you plan to prepare for your business meeting on the plane, know that you will be cramped and regularly interrupted. Stay hydrated.
Essential in business and just as useful for travellers. Developing relationships with car hire companies, hotels and airlines is a surefire way to boost your experience. Again, your Travel Manager may have suggestions. Loyalty programs deliver discounts and familiarity. “Welcome back, we have your usual room ready” is a sweet greeting after a long flight.
Macca’s or pheasant under glass with a white wine jus? Limo, hire car, taxi or bus? Veuve or VB? Better to check with the boss before you travel, rather than return to a frosty reception. Retain all your receipts and jot a note on them if they’re obscure, like a taxi ride. There's a whole range of apps for it. If you’re self-employed, keep a diary of your movements and spending.
It’s easy to go from meetings to drinks to dinner to bed and repeat. Find time to sweat in the gym, do some laps in the hotel pool or walk to a local attraction. Your mind will be clearer and you’ll look and feel fresher.
You are either representing your company or yourself. And your country. Know the local laws, be courteous and tip where it is customary. And watch what you eat. It may be fun to pig out on the deep fried meat from a street food vendor but you are here to work – why take the risk? Remember to stick to bottled water in some destinations.