April 04, 2017


In 2015, 11% of Australians took at least one flight for domestic business travel.


While 11% may not seem like a huge number of people, (2,101,000 to be exact) that doesn't account for business travel made by car, other means of transportation, or for the people taking multiple trips per year.


While business travel may be an unavoidable cost of doing business, there are a number of different ways to maximise your time while traveling and make your trip as smooth and hassle free as possible.


Below, we've listed 20 tips to help you make the most of business travel: from what to pack, to how to best use your time when you're away.


1. Plan your trip to the hour


As the old saying goes: "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail."


To get the most out of your business trip, it's important that you plan out each hour the same way you would at home.


You may not feel like you have a plan at home, because you have a routine instead, but that routine started out at some time as a plan, which you followed every day until it became a routine.


2. Create a routine

Obviously, if you are just going away for a day or two and don't travel all that frequently, it's unlikely you will create a routine.


However, if you are on a longer trip or make short trips on a regular basis, look to develop a routine that incorporates all the things you normally do at home. Keep in mind, it needs to incorporate your personal activities as well, like running, exercising, meditating or doing yoga.


The best way to ensure you will adhere to these practices while traveling is to make them a part of a daily travel routine.


3. Use a packing list

Using a packing list not only makes it easier for you to pack quickly and at a moment's notice, but it means someone else can even pack for you in a pinch.


If you are traveling and realise there is something that would be useful for traveling, you can add it to your list so you will remember it next time. 


If you're looking for a packing list to work with, join over 3,000 fellow travellers by downloading this one below:



4. Pack light


With all of the restrictions on luggage that change from airline to airline, being able to travel with the smallest luggage possible is a huge plus.


While traveling for business may come with free checked baggage, checking your bags is time consuming, and bags regular get lost by airlines. Instead, do your best to stick to just a carry on bag, and remove the stress.


Executive packing cubes can help you maximise your space, while still looking professional and stylish.


5. Have a go-to piece of luggage

Like having a packing list, when you have a go-to piece of luggage, that's just one less thing you have to think about when getting ready to travel.


Two great pieces of travel luggage for business travellers are the Commuter and  Toby Duffle. Both are small enough to use as a carry-on.


Below is a snapshot of the Toby Duffle:



6. Take a change of clothes on the plane 

Airline travel is already stressful enough on your body, you don't want to spend 2 hours or more wearing tight fitting or uncomfortable business clothes. Nor do you want to show up wrinkled and disheveled.


Dress comfortably for your flight, but take a change of clothes with you (especially if you check your main bag) to change into once you arrive. Or, take a comfortable change of clothes on the plane with you and get changed once you've settled into the flight.


7. Don’t forget power adaptors 

While power cables for most devices are readily available wherever you travel, replacing them can be pricey. For any small devices you regularly take with you, like mobile phones or tablets, you can prepare a small travel bag with extra cables, ready to pop in a bag at a moment's notice.


The iCube has been uniquely designed for this type of room-saving packing:



Don't forget to take power adaptors that actually plug into a socket, and for travel outside AU or NZ, you may need voltage adaptors as well. 


8. Backup your important documents before going 

Traveling is a time when small electronics like mobile phones, laptops and tablets are at increased risk of being lost or damaged.


So it's not a bad idea to make a back up of your entire hard drive, but definitely make sure you back up your most important documents - particularly any you may need on your trip.


Cloud based storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud are excellent ways to ensure that your files are not only backed up, but are accessible from anywhere. 


9. Have a secure laptop

Before going on a trip, make sure your laptop and other devices are all properly password protected, and encrypted if possible.


Any time you use public Wi-Fi it's always good to use a VPN service (Virtual Private Network), but this is especially important when traveling. 


10. Book a flight with Wi-Fi 

While you certainly don't have to work every hour of your business trip, it's important to use every moment wisely. Getting some work done on your flight means you can take some time when you arrive to rest, have a leisurely meal or take in some sights.


Booking a flight with Wi-Fi means you can do some work or even do some research on local events that might be happening while you are in the area. 


11. Take a business book 

If there is no Wi-Fi available, or you just don't like the idea of working on the plane, then take along a great business book.


Books like Good to Great, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People or Lean In may inspire you to accomplish more on your trip than you thought you could.


To save space in your bag you could download an audio book and sit back and close your eyes while you become inspired. 


12. Take snacks in your carry on for energy 


These days, snacks on a flight - not to mention full meals - are becoming more and more rare. Even when they are available, they are often cheap snacks, high in simple carbs that raise blood sugar and make many people drowsy.


Take some healthy snacks along that are high in protein to help you keep your energy up. Fruit is also great, because fruit is packed with vitamins and anti-oxidants that will help combat everything from airborne viruses to jet lag.


13. Stay hydrated on your flight


If you were to soak a hand towel until it was dripping wet and carry it with you on a flight longer than 90 minutes, it would be bone dry by the time you land. Flying is dehydrating on your body.


Avoid coffee or tea, as they are diuretics that will take more fluid out of your body than they add. Alcohol also requires water for your body to process, so stick to straight H2O and lots of it.


14. Be aware of theft at your destination

Once again, you are most vulnerable to being robbed while traveling. Not only do thieves lurk at airports and other public areas just waiting for unsuspecting marks, but you have a lot more on your mind, since you are also navigating an unfamiliar area.


It's not just your valuables that are at risk either. Everything from your credit card information, to the RFID information in your passport can be stolen. A bag like the Metroshield Anti-Theft Messenger Bag can keep all of your digital information safe and sound. 


15. Keep up to date with travel warnings 

Weather can change at a moment's notice, not to mention strikes, protests and any other public demonstrations can disrupt your travel plans. Keeping up to date with travel warnings can not only keep you safe, but also help you arrive at important destinations on time.


For Australians, the Smart Traveller website is a good place to monitor.


16. Renew your passport well in advance 

Renewing your passport can take up to three weeks for standard processing, as long as all of your paperwork is in order.


There is of course priority processing that is available within two days with additional mailing and handling time, but it comes with a A$183 fee.


Save yourself the time and hassle by renewing your passport several weeks in advance and you won't have to worry if it will be ready in time.


17. Join a good rewards program 

Your business may be paying for your travel, but that doesn't mean you can't benefit from it. By traveling for business, you can collect everything from airline miles to percentages back on credit card purchases, which are generally reimbursed by the company.


If you travel often, you may rack up enough rewards to get your vacation travel for free.


18. Learn how to beat jet lag 

"Jet lag" is actually an all-purpose term that is caused by several factors - not the least of which is dehydration. Time changes are certainly a factor in jet lag, but even people that take short flights of 2 hours or less with no time change can still experience it.


Lots of water and high doses of Zinc and Vitamin C can combat the worst of the symptoms.


19. Get involved with the culture


You may not be able to personally travel the way you travel on business, so take advantage of it by putting aside some time to soak in the local culture.


The point of disciplines like scheduling your time and working on the flight is not so that you can spend every moment you are away working. It's about maximising your work time so you can carve out some leisure time to enjoy the social aspect of business travel.


20. Use your spare time wisely 

When you are on a business trip, there is really no such thing as "spare" time, but good time management needs to involve a good mix of business and leisure so that you don't burn out.


You can't pack activity into 24 hours of every day and expect to function when you get home. Create a good blend of business, leisure and fun activities that include time to explore the local culture and time to take a nap, get a massage or relax by the pool.


Conclusion

Business travel can offer a number of unique and exciting opportunities.


It can go smooth as silk, or be fraught with a wide variety of complications - but it largely depends on how prepared you are.


Doing some solid planning for your business trip can allow you to rest, relax and even take in some sights while you are there.


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