Business travel hints, tips, and advice comes in extra-handy as of late: Running a business today often requires lots of movement, despite the glut of technology available. Happily, the following suggestions can help make all the usual hustle and bustle a little less jarring. For many professions, such as sales and marketing, it’s a given that you will be on the road: But the need to travel for work even affects virtual companies — getting that next round of investment or connecting with customers face-to-face still means having to hop on planes, trains and automobiles. High-performing business travelers have the experience down to an art, however –here are 10 business travel tips and hints they’ve shared that can make your next trip as comfortable and as affordable as possible.
Bring a Carry-On – Avoid baggage claims, which can steal precious time when you land. Aim to fit everything into a carry-on instead: Use wrinkle-free clothes, space-saving airtight bags, and opt for versatile shoes to maximize any piece of luggage. Deploying conscious minimalism (a Kindle instead of a paperback, for instance) can also help you be ready when you land – a helpful business travel tip if ever there was one.
Get Priority Airport Lounge Access – Red-eyes, crowded planes, and sweaty seats are all enemies of looking (and smelling) good when you land. Airport lounges may sound like fancy places to schmooze or score free WiFi, but the major ones offer two necessities: Food and showers. There’s nothing like freshening up after a red-eye to get ready for your midtown meeting. Lounges run $50 or less for a day pass or a few hundred dollars for an annual membership and are often worth every penny – options like American Express credit cards and the Priority Pass can help you gain access to hundreds worldwide.
Do Global Entry – Global Entry is the big brother to the popular TSA Precheck program. Like Precheck within America, Global Entry allows you to fast-track through immigration when you’re returning from travel abroad. It currently cost about $100 for a five-year badge — and it is a must-have.
Grab an Airline Credit Card – Getting elite status on airlines is tougher than ever, but grabbing a free or low-cost airline credit card gives you many of the same benefits, including free checked-in bags and priority boarding. You also get bonuses on frequent flyer miles and usually a discount on airline purchases.
Choose a Carrier (and Stick with It) – Focusing on one airline makes it easier to stack up valuable frequent flyer miles — rather than having minimal miles spread across multiple airlines. Chances are your city has a primary carrier or may even be a hub, like Delta in Atlanta or United in Chicago.
Download Translator Apps and Currency Calculators – Language apps are great for your international business trips, but don’t forget to pack along currency exchange calculators either. The Amount app is a good pick for the iPhone. Don’t trust your potentially jet-lagged brain to quickly and accurately get the exchange rate right, let your smartphone do it for you.
Pay More for Direct Flights or Minimal Layovers – High on our 10 best business travel tips is making a point to choose direct flights. The more layovers come into play, the higher the odds you’ll have a plane delayed, missed or (worse) cancelled. Flying nonstop also allows you to rest more for your arrival rather than hopping from terminal to terminal.
Drink Lots of Water – Airplanes naturally dry you out because of the canned air pumped inside of them. In fact, some science shows dehydration is a major contributor to jet lag. On long trips, take it easy on the alcohol and drink as much water as possible. Consider bringing a refillable water bottle and loading it up at one of the now-common water stations after you go through security.
Make Your Schedule Lighter – It is terribly easy to overbook a trip, especially if it is a rare visit. You also, however, want to be mentally present and physically comfortable as you hop from meeting to meeting. Pencil in extra time for transportation, especially if you are taking meetings all across a busy or large city. Lighter schedules also compensate for any fatigue you have from the flight itself.
Make Your Hotel Feel Like Home- Frequent travelers will have a specific ritual that gives them the stability of home. One great habit is once you arrive at the hotel, spend at least 10 minutes unpacking and arranging your stuff. It creates a pause between the travel and the meetings: A kind of meditative space for personal centering. And, if you are in a hurry later, you’ll already have everything in the right place to grab and go from.
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Damon helps entrepreneurs make their mark without sacrificing themselves. He co-founded the #1 app Cuddlr and led it to acquisition while being caretaker of his first baby. Damon is an Inc. columnist and author of the best-selling The Bite-Sized Entrepreneur series . Get your free productivity guide at http://bit.ly/JoinDamon