You're finally booked for that first business trip you've been longing for all these years. Whether it's for training or a client visit, it's always exciting to think about packing your carry-on and finally finding a reason to use all the sample size beauty products you've accumulated from Sephora.
Leisure travel is great, right? You boss signs off on your vacation request, you happily turn on your Out-Of-Office, tell your assistant to text you only in an emergency and boom, you're on glorious vacation. You get to focus on fun activities you'll do, where you'll take the perfect Instagram shot and what dollar amount threshold you have for giving up your seat for an overbooked flight.
Business travel seems just as glamorous at times but think twice. It can certainly be fun and a great way to explore a new city but never forget you're on company time. Your e-mails won't stop and your office door is metaphorically still open. You are still expected to be fully available.
When I was in the corporate world, I traveled for work at least 1-2 times a month - almost as frequently as a flight attendant. During that time, I learned and perfected a few tricks to make business travel seamless and a little less stressful.
Of course, some of these tips aren't mutually exclusive between business and leisure travel. However, I did write these with business travel in mind!
1. Book your flight and hotel as soon as your trip is confirmed and directly off their site.
In general, flight and hotel prices increase closer to your travel date. Many hotels and airlines are unable to modify your booking when done through a 3rd party site. Book off their site so you can avoid unwanted issues.
2. Book a direct or nonstop flight when possible.
If you can avoid layovers, always choose that option. Layovers can cause stress from delayed flights, the layover time being too short, finding the next gate, making sure your bags transfer in time, etc. Note: the difference between a direct and non-stop flight is that a direct flight may stop at another airport but passengers will most likely not be allowed to deplane and will continue on to the destination. A nonstop flight is, well, non stop.
3. Locate and reserve a hotel as close as possible to the event.
If an event is located at a hotel, book that hotel even if it's a bit pricier. If you're visiting a client, book a hotel that is closest to their office. Long story short, it saves stress, time and money.
4. Join airline mileage programs and hotel loyalty programs.
Pick one and stick to it. The more miles or points you accrue, the closer you get to a free flight or stay for yourself and enjoy all the benefits you'll derive like free checked bags, upgrades, early boarding and complimentary amenities.
5. Check-in 24 hours prior to departure and hotel arrival.
Airline check-ins are a must, 24 hours prior to departure. Check in, save your boarding pass on your phone and avoid having to stand in line to print a boarding pass at the airport. Many hotels nowadays provide online check-ins as well; some will let you choose a room number but the best part is walking up to the front desk and simply picking up your keys.
6. Pack smart.
In conjunction to #7, invest in a durable carry-on with wheels. Think of each day you are traveling and lay out each outfit. Take something that can be used more than once (think blazer, white blouse, black dress, etc) and don't forget to take into consideration your free time. If you're a gym rat, don't forget your workout gear.
7. Don't check your bag.
Lost luggage is a nightmare and one way to avoid it is by carrying on your bags. Not only will you save money, you are stress-free from wondering if your bag is in fact flying beneath you.
8. Sign up for TSA PreCheck (if in the U.S).
TSA PreCheck is in one word, amazing. Who wants to deal with TSA and their long lines, taking out laptops and unzipping your boots? Nobody. I have a post on everything you need to know about TSA PreCheck; how to obtain it, what the process is like, the cost, etc. Click right here and thank me later.
9. Dress nicely.
Would you wear leggings, moccasins and a Wildfox Couture pullover to work? Probably not. Dressing professionally even while you travel is more advantageous than not. You may not be comfortable but imagine your surprise when you run into a colleague or your flight is delayed or god forbid they've lost your luggage and the only choice is to present to clients in what you flew in.
10. Be nice.
It sounds like common sense but I've been on both sides. It's stressful to travel for work and it's easy to forget about your surroundings. Be nice to your Uber driver, ticket agents and front desk agents. They're used to people complaining to them all day long, a simple smile and thank you goes a long way.
Do you have any tips or advice for business travel? Share them below!
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