32 Business Travel Tips
The life of a business traveler is less glamorous than perceived. In addition to the stress that comes with travel, business travelers face many health risks as a result of frequent travel. Trying to figure out how to make business travel better? We have rounded up the most comprehensive list of business travel tips from start to finish. Following these tips may not eliminate all of the health risks caused by frequent travel, but it will make your next trip less stressful.
Before You Travel
- Sign up for TSA Pre-Check. If you travel domestically, invest in TSA Pre-Check. The process can take up to 8 weeks, so plan ahead. The $85 fee is well worth it, as TSA Pre-Check membership is good for five years.
- See Related: How to Sign Up for TSA Pre-Check
- Sign up for Global Entry. If you travel internationally, invest in Global Entry. Global Entry provides the same benefits at TSA Pre-Check, PLUS expedited processing at Customs and Border Patrol at airports upon arrival into the US. The cost for Global Entry is $100.
- Join travel loyalty programs. Before your trip make sure you join the loyalty program for each brand you will encounter during your trip. Update your reservations with your loyalty information. Many hotels offer perks such as free wifi to loyalty members (even during your first stay!).
- Be a Loyal Traveler: As much as possible, fly on the same airline, rent a car with the same rental company, and stay with the same hotel brand. Have a back-up brand, and use that anytime you can’t travel with your preferred brand.
- Purchase an airport lounge membership. Whether you join your preferred airline’s lounge, a credit card lounge, or a private lounge, you will appreciate the quiet environment and amenities before your flight and during layovers.
- See related: 5 Reasons to Find an Airport Lounge During your Layover
- Charge Up: Charge all electronics 100% before you leave for the airport. You never know if you will have access to an outlet at the airport or in-flight.
- Print Your Itinerary: Make sure you have your travel information available someplace besides your phone. The thought is cringe-worthy, but your phone could easily get lost or break during travel.
- Out of Office: Set your out of office reminder, even if you are replying to email, let your recipients know the response may be delayed. This will keep your stress down and set expectations for the recipients.
Apps to Download Before Your Business Trip
- TripIt: TripIt is a travel management app that builds and tracks your travel itinerary. The paid version ($49/ year) has many other features including flight tracking, gate change notifications, and the ability to find alternative flights.
- Expense Report App: There are a number of apps that provide expense reports. You take a photo of the receipt and upload it in the app. Forget worrying about losing your receipts! And you can avoid dealing with the dreaded mountain of receipts at the end of the month.
- Ridesharing Apps: Download both Uber and Lyft and create accounts with both before your trip. Some places only have service from one (such as the Orlando MCO airport- Uber only!). If you prefer to take a taxi, or simply want whichever services can arrive the fastest, also download a taxi app such as Curb.
- Airline App: Download your airline’s app so you can access your mobile boarding pass, gate information, and more!
- Rental Car App: Download your rental car agency’s app. Many allow you to check-in online and skip the counter when you arrive.
- Hotel App: Download the app for your hotel to find your reservation information. Many hotels offer mobile check-in (huge time saver during busy check-in times. And, the ultimate hotel app bonus is using the app to access your digital key (meaning you can head straight to your room with even going near the registration desk).
- OpenTable: OpenTable will make it easy to find quality restaurants, make reservations, and entertain clients during your trip.
- More Apps for Business Travelers:
Business Travel Packing Tips
- Carry-on vs Checking Luggage: Business travelers tend to prefer to carry-on only, especially for shorter trips. This reduces the change of lost luggage and saves time when you arrive. Some frequent travelers hate lugging luggage through the airport and always check a bag. Personally, I think carry-on the way to go, even for long trips. If you are traveling for more than five days, plan on getting your dry cleaning done at your hotel or locally to save luggage space.
- Invest in Luggage: After you figure out if you will be a “carry-on only” or “check only” type of business traveler, invest in a lightweight, durable piece of luggage that has a warranty. The same goes for a laptop bag. Whether you choose a shoulder bag or backpack, make sure it has a lot of padding and distributes weight evenly. You do not want your luggage breaking in the middle of an airport.
- Rolling vs Folding: This is the age old packing debate. Personally, I am a huge fan of rolling, unless I am using packing cubes, in which case I will roll and fold, depending on what the clothing is. It seems the best method for most travelers is a combination of both.
- Pack Minimally: Do not pack more than you need. Plan your outfits before your leave. Document each outfit by taking a photo and pack. Planning outfits ahead will also make sure you do not pack two black sweaters or two black jackets. Coordinate outfit colors with shoes to pack minimal pairs of shoes.
- Make a Packing List: Create a master packing list and use it for every trip. I have one in my phone memo. This ensures I don’t forget my laptop charger (it has happened), make-up bag (also happened), and other essentials that I am using up until I head to the airport.
- Buy Duplicates and Leave Them in Your Luggage: Once you take a few trips, you will see what you always need to travel with. Identify these items and buy one of each for your travel bag. Leave those items in the bag when you get home. A few items that never leave my travel bag include headphones, phone charger, lint roller, and all liquid toiletries.
- Pack Workout Clothes: If you pack the clothes you will have one less excuse to skip your workout. Working out reduces jet lag, stress, and has many other benefits for business travelers.
Healthy Business Travel Tips
- Reduce or Eliminate Alcohol Consumption: On your day of travel, avoid drinking any alcohol. Drinking in-flight will cause you to be dehydrated and increase jet lag. Once you arrive, keep the alcohol to a minimum. In addition to disrupting your sleep, alcohol will pack on unnecessary calories that add up over time.
- Skip Free Treats: The more frequently you travel, the more perks you will receive. Often these perks include free food and usually the food is not healthy (like the famous DoubleTree chocolate chip cookies upon check-in). Just like alcohol, these empty calories will add up.
- Find Healthy Food: When possible, skip the unhealthy fast food and find fresh, healthy meals. Grocery stores are a great place to pick up fresh, healthy food on the go.
- See Related: 10 Tips for Eating Healthier During Business Travel
- Pack and/or Find Healthy Snacks: Whether you pack healthy snacks in your carry-on bag or grab some at the airport, always have a healthy snack nearby. You are less likely to grab a candy bar (or two) if you have a protein bar to hold you over until your next meal.
- See Related: 30 Healthy Travel Snacks for Flying
- Exercise: Whether you hit the hotel gym, workout in your room, or take a walk to explore the area you are visiting, be active!! There are many benefits of exercise for business travelers, including stress reduction, increased productivity and decreased jet lag.
More Business Travel Tips
- Customize Your Travel Schedule: If you are an early riser, enjoy one more night of sleep in your own bed and take an early flight. Or, if you like to be on location in advance, fly in the night before and get situated in your hotel.
- Reap Your Rewards: You earned the points and miles, take time off to enjoy them! Find out what your points are worth and cash them in for some fun. Bleisure travel (adding a few vacation days onto your business trip) is a great way to vacation without taking as much time off.
- Stay Organized: Keep your laptop bag and luggage organized. This includes cords, medications, papers, and anything else that has a tendency to get tossed into the bag. The more organized your bag, the less likely you are to lose or forget something along the way. Packing cubes, plastic bags, cord organizers, and smaller travel bags are all useful tools to stay organized.
- Stay Productive: Invest in travel size electronics that are lightweight and effective to stay productive during travel. This may include a power bank, WiFi card or router, mini keyboard, etc.
- See Related: Travel Friendly Electronics
- Keep Your Routine: As much as possible, follow your home routine on the road. Traveling is stressful enough, don’t make it worse. If you workout in the morning at home, workout in the morning during travel. If you eat breakfast before work at home, eat breakfast before you leave the hotel. Keep your bedtime routine as well. If you drink tea before bed, bring tea and have some before bed. Following your night-time routine will improve your quality of sleep on the road.
What are your best business travel tips? Please comment below!
Business Travel Life
Business Travel Life is an online resource supporting the road warrior lifestyle. We give business travelers the tools they need to maintain their wellness and productivity when traveling. The topics we cover include business travel tips, travel workouts, healthy travel hacks, travel products, general travel tips, and industry trends. Our goal is to make business travel a healthier experience – and to make healthy travel practices more accessible to all road warriors.