Business travel is a necessity, and not always a pleasant one. It can be costly as well, but it does not have to be. There are tips and tricks, discounts, rewards, and frequent flyer perks you can and should take advantage of.
Want to take some of the pain out of business travel? Here are some tips on the smart way to travel for business.
Book Ahead When You Can
Sometimes business travel is an emergency trip because the client needs help now. There is nothing you can do about that, but you can plan sales trips, conferences, and other trips well ahead of time. Planning ahead saves you both time and money.
For example, using travel sites like Expedia you could find flights from Dublin to London, but the further in advance you plan and book your trip, the more you will save. This means if you have an itinerary in Europe, even the flights for various legs of the trip should be planned as far in advance as possible.
Booking ahead also allows you to be flexible. Flights often cost much less if you leave Sunday night instead of Monday morning, or fly back Thursday rather than Friday. Booking ahead lets you explore these options. Check out the best days to book flights too.
Upgrade Your Seats
Even though business class costs more, the room you have in your seat and some of the conveniences will let you work while you are on the flight rather than wasting that precious time. Coach seats are often too small to really get your laptop open and get to work or to spread out any notes at all. While there are things you can do to be comfortable while flying economy class, an upgrade is almost always a better option for you.
This may seem like a simple thing, but it does help. This also does not mean that business class is your own office either. You will still have to be considerate of others, but at least you won’t have to sit next to screaming babies or families with small children.
A general rule of thumb while flying is that if you do not need to check luggage, don’t. If you can get everything you really need into a carry-on bag, you will be much better off. This eliminates time at your destination, the risk of lost luggage, and simply less stress. This means two different things:
- Take only what you really need: Don’t over pack clothes or technology. If you are making a quick trip, make sure you limit yourself to necessities.
- Get the right luggage: You will need the right kind of bags to pull this off, ones that fit easily in overhead bins, do not exceed size standards, but that have extra pockets and efficiently use space.
Packing light will make your trip quicker, smoother, and less stressful.
Cancel the Noise
Business class or economy, either way there will be noise, from the jet engines to the people around you. Using noise cancelling headphones will help you isolate yourself while you get some work done. It will also eliminate seat chatter that can be very annoying.
This doesn’t mean you should always cut yourself off though. Noise cancelling is great, but often you can network with those around you, and even learn something while meeting interesting people. Still, there are those times when shutting out the world works best, and a good set of noise cancelling headphones will work wonders in those situations.
Use Layovers Wisely
You will have layovers from time to time. The key is to use them as wisely as possible. There are several ways to do this. Most airports have good Wi-Fi, or you can use your smartphone as a hotspot to access and answer emails and get some work done. If you are a frequent traveler, many airlines have a business lounge that is much quieter than the rest of the airport and has a better internet connection.
Even if you are not a frequent flyer, you can pay for these privileges or find a quiet corner where you can get some work done. Sometimes though it is best to use those layovers to leave work behind. Relax, grab a quick meal at the bar, although airport food can be truly expensive.
You can also use layovers to get a bit of exercise. Some airports have gyms or walking tracks. Just be courteous about how sweaty you get unless you also have time for a shower. Someone has to sit next to you on the next flight.
Finally, use rewards points, travel rewards credit cards, and hotel rewards plans to earn free miles and free rooms, or at least heavy discounts. Your employer will often compensate you for these or allow you to use some of them for your own personal vacations.
If you are self-employed, these programs can be a great way to save your business money and help you be more profitable. Depending on how much you travel, these programs can be extremely worthwhile.
Business travel is often necessary, but you can be smart about it. Book ahead when possible, use upgrades, pack light, cancel the noise, use layovers wisely, and reward yourself when possible. Your business travel will not be as tedious because of it.
How do you save space in your luggage when you pack for travel? Leave a comment with your best travel packing tips in the section below.