Business travel — some love it, and others mostly hate it. Sure, in the beginning, travel provides a nice break from the normal office routine. Plus, it’s an exciting opportunity to experience new cities and the local culture. Whether you travel locally or globally, newness is abundant with quirky charms of each new city. After a meeting, grab a drink atop a rooftop bar in San Francisco. Or, delve into a classic lobster roll in Boston. In Paris, sip a cafe au lait (or better yet, a glass of sparkling rosé) in a bustling café. In Rome, enjoy a hearty pasta carbonara for a late lunch. You get the drift.
Yet, after some time, business travel gets tiresome. It’s not exactly a vacation because you’re NOT on vacation. You are traveling because you have to — for work. Also, the stress of air travel, living out of hotels, and not seeing your family can wear a person down. So, when you get to the stage when you start dreading your next work trip, what can you do? Let’s explore our top business travel hacks so that your next trip is at least bearable.
1. Seriously, Skip the Lines
This is a no-brainer. Every experienced traveler will tell you that this is the single most important business travel hack. As a frequent flyer, you should take full advantage of the Global Entry, TSA Pre✓® and CLEAR, all part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler programs. The application process is fairly straightforward. You will seriously thank us, especially when you’re breezing through long security lines. You may find yourself thinking “suckers” about the other novice travelers who didn’t smarten up and follow this simple yet one of our top business travel hacks.
2. Have a Solid Packing Plan
Every traveler knows that it’s all about strategic packing. Whether your stay is a few days to a week, be smart with your packing. When outfit planning, think versatile pieces that can be worn interchangeably and more than once. Neutral colors work best for mixing and matching. For women, think about a dress or outfit that will transition from work to an evening out. Add a hip necklace or scarf to dress up the look. For men, pack (or wear) a trendy pair of comfy sneakers that can go straight from the airplane to hotel gym and then out for drinks and dinner. Lastly, be sure to check the weather at your destination so you can pack a compact umbrella, if needed.
3. Charge All Electronics Ahead of Time
Despite being self-explanatory, it is crucial to charge all your necessary electronic devices the night before you leave for your trip. Nothing is worse than hovering in a corner trying to charge your laptop before a flight. Sure, nowadays many flights have onboard wi-fi and charging outlets. But, why risk it, just in case your flight is on an older airplane? Also, what if you need to finish that presentation, only to find that your battery is at only 10%? This is one of those simple yet essential business hacks to follow and remember.
4. Grab & Go Bag
No one likes to pack and unpack every time business travel calls. Have the essentials already packed ahead of time. This grab and go bag would consist of pajamas, undergarments and socks, various toiletries (all 3-ounce and under), earplugs, sleep masks, chargers, pens (to fill out custom forms), etc. Add your pillow or blanket if needed. These items would fit easily into your carry-on for easy access while in the airport or onboard. Don’t forget your toothbrush and toothpaste (and some perfume or cologne) so you can freshen up when you land.
5. Download Movies or Shows for Offline Viewing
Just in case your airplane doesn’t provide wi-fi access, consider downloading movies, TV shows, and music videos prior to travel. Unfortunately, some of the most popular websites that stream video don’t provide downloading options. Try using Movavi Screen Recorder for Mac when you want to record streaming video Mac. They also have a PC option. You will be able to save and copy any video and enjoy it offline (on the airplane or hotel). We are currently obsessed with Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and any sappy rom-com out there! What are your must-watch movies or TV programs?
6. Carry-on a Tennis Ball. Yes, We Said Tennis Ball!
Believe it or not, this is one of our favorite business travel hacks. A few years ago, we came across an experienced business traveler who swore that she never left home without her trusty tennis ball. Yep, that yellow ball that you can throw to your dog to fetch or affix at the bottom of each medical walker. She loves to carry-on a tennis ball because she uses it to roll under her feet or even under the thighs to keep from getting sore. We all know those long flights can get us cranky, stiff and sore. Trust us, your tired feet and aching muscles will thank you!
7. Combat Jet Lag
After a five hour or even twelve hour flight, we are all a little worse off. Although each of us can react differently to changing time zones, we can at least try to stave off jet lag as much as possible. Firstly, drink lots and lots of water. Dehydration will only make jet lag worse. Also, avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can disrupt your sleep and increase dehydration. Try foods like goji berries, cherries, cantaloupe and ginger. These foods may help you to naturally reset your internal clock. Overall, try to stay awake until your normal bedtime. Don’t take naps, even though your body might be dragging. The sooner you can psychologically align yourself with the new time zone, the better off you will be during your overall trip.
8. Fitting in Fitness is a Must
When you travel, your normal exercise routine will be thrown off. Or, you just don’t feel like it. After a day of negotiations or meetings, you may just want to veg out in from of your hotel TV. But, just take 15 minutes and go run off the day’s worries on the hotel treadmill. Or, go for a walk around the hotel property. Another option is to try exercising in your hotel room. There are many mobile apps that can give you a quick workout. Our particular favorite is the 7 Minute Workout. Think about it, 7 minutes is nothing! But, at least your body will feel better afterwards. This is perhaps one of the most important business travel hacks to follow.
9. Carry a Photo Wherever You Go
This last business travel hack may seem silly. But, we recommend carrying an actual physical photo of your partner, spouse, kids, pet, or even favorite vacation spot. Why would you do that? Especially when our mobile devices all have the capacity to hold countless photos and memories? Call us sentimental, but we find that holding an actual physical photo or memento helps to calm our dread of leaving our loved ones at home. It doesn’t have to be a formal 8×10 framed image. Just a small snapshot that can fit easily in your wallet is all you need. Pull it out and take a glance whenever you feel anxious or stressed. Believe it not, it helps us feel a little less frazzled. Think of it as your emotional support photo.
Ah, business travel. It is a must for some of us. After each trip, we grow more and more weary of another city and another hotel. We feel your pain. We realize you would rather sleep in your own bed and eat dinner with your family. So, keep in mind our practical business travel hacks the next time you head out of town. Bon Voyage!
Tell us if you have your own travel hacks. Please share in the comments below.
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