Do you feel like you spend more time on a plane than you do in an office?
On top of all the responsibilities of your career, business travel is a lot of work on its own.
Meetings in different timezones, work due on a deadline and time away from home are tough enough without the stress of travel. Managing business travel can seem like a struggle between productivity and comfort.
But with the right planning, you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. You can have an enjoyable trip and still get your work done.
Here are 10 tips to make your business travel seem less like work all while getting more done:
#1. Get TSA Pre-Check
Nothing slows down even the speediest traveler faster than the security checkpoint. And long lines always seem to happen when you are already time crunched.
Going through security is time consuming, but if you sign up for the TSA Precheck (if you travel domestically) or Global Entry programs (for international travel) you can skip waiting in those notoriously long and slow moving lines.
Signing up for either program means you won’t have to fumble to take out your laptop and you can keep your shoes on!
#2. Check in Early
With so many details to manage, you can cross one thing off the list when you check-in early for your flight. Most airlines allow you to check in 24 hours prior and some even allow you to do so on their app.
By checking in early online, you’ll save time at the airport and be able to view your trip information right away. Knowing where and when to go ahead of time can give you time to focus on everything else you’re scheduled to do that day.
Get your check in taken care of and the rest of the to-do list can start to look a lot shorter.
#3. Download Travel Apps
Downloading the app for the airline that you’re flying is a simple way to keep your travel information all in one place. The app will keep track of your boarding pass and some apps will update you with information about your flight.
When you get real-time notifications from your app, you can start making changes to your schedule without having to wait for an announcement at the gate.
Downloading airline apps lets you organize your travel plans in one place so you can separate your work from your travel.
But if you don’t always travel with the same airline, you don’t want a million airline apps on your phone. In this case, try TripIt. TripIt is an app that will keep all of your travel organized in one place.
- Enables you to share travel plans with friends or family
- Provides flight change and travel notifications
- Automatically combs your email to aggregate your travel plans (so you don’t have to lift a finger)
- Brings together your accommodation, flights, tours, and other travel information in one app.
#4. Bring Just a Carry-on
When packing for your business trip, bring the essentials in just one or two carry-on bags.
Since flights get delayed and canceled when you least expect it, with only a carry on item, you won’t need to stop at baggage claim when you’re already running late from a delayed flight. If your flight is canceled, you’ll be able to make arrangements without worrying about tracking down your checked luggage.
It can also make your overall travel faster, cheaper, and easier.
For tips on what to bring here’s a few carry-on packing hacks to make the most out of small luggage space:
- A change of clothes. Extra business attire and comfortable clothes in case plans change or the unexpected spill. Try to make sure you pack wrinkle-resistant clothing in case you’re nowhere near an iron.
- Phone and laptop chargers so you can stay plugged in and get work done.
- Essential toiletries like your toothbrush, deodorant, and dental floss.
- Travel first aid kit for any unexpected illness with items such as aspirin, Sudafed, cough drops, and vitamins. Throw some Inflight Elixir into your personal item so you stay healthy during your flight.
- Healthy snacks and a bottle of water in case you don’t have time to stop for food and refreshments.
- Important travel documents and IDs in a safe place so you don’t lose them.
- Your passport, even if you’re traveling domestically. Don’t forget to protect them with a passport wallet.
If you’ve never traveled with just a carry-on, you might think there’s no way you could do it. But carry-on luggage is a reasonable size now, and it’s less of a hassle to leave the nice-to-haves at home anyway.
Business Travel Tips to Work Smart
#5. Set Yourself Up for Productivity
You can find wifi in almost all airports and most airlines now offer inflight wifi.
Even though wifi at 35,000 feet is a useful amenity, it’s a relatively new technology. Sometimes technology -- especially new tech -- doesn’t work. You don’t want to be working on something important when your inflight wifi cuts out
Save yourself the headache by bringing work that you can do without wifi. A saved document, reading material, or even a pen and paper helps provide a buffer..
#6. Enable Offline Work
If you work with Gsuite, good news: if you find yourself with no or intermittent inflight wifi you can still work offline.
First, ensure that your Google Drive has Offline Access enabled. Go to the Google Drive that you want offline access to (you can only have one enabled at a time). Click the gear icon at the top (settings). Then activate the “Offline” checkbox.
You may still want to bring up the documents you want to work on before your flight, but this will ensure your changes are saved offline.
You can also send email offline with Gmail. You’ll draft your messages and press send, and the email will go into your Outbox for sending the next time you’re connected to wifi. This’ll load your email inbox for you so you can even respond and see emails.
#7. Bring Portable Battery Chargers
Cell phone and laptop batteries can fail you at the least opportune moments. Portable chargers are your best friend in times like these.
Airports and sometimes even aircraft have outlets. But as a business traveler it’s important to be prepared when and if you can’t find somewhere to plug in.
Investing in a portable charger is worth the effort when you can rely on your phone to have enough battery to order an Uber when you land.
#8. Consider Smaller Electronic Devices
While you might have all your work saved on a laptop, trading that larger device for something more portable could help you get more work done on your flight.
Tablets with their own keyboards are much smaller and lighter than most laptops so they’re easier to carry with you.
Because tablets are smaller than laptops, you can easily place them on your tray table with extra room for your inflight beverage and snack. These smaller devices could be a good investment if you like more desk space when you work.
If working with a tablet isn’t practical for you, then consider a MacBook Air or another lightweight laptop.
#9. Invest in Noise-Cancelling Headphones
There’s a lot of noise in the airport and on the plane. Sometimes it can get distracting with someone speaking loudly to their neighbor or babies crying nearby.
Noise cancelling headphones to the rescue. These are a travel essential. They’ll help you focus in on your work, block out disruptions, and even catch some sleep.
Top tech pick ($$$): Bose QuietComfort 35
Runner up ($$): Sony WH-CH700N Bluetooth Noise Canceling
Budget pick ($): COWIN E7 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Business Travel Tips to Get Comfortable
#10. Upgrade Your Seat
Where you sit on your flight has a big impact on your stress level for the day. Getting enough space for yourself can help you relax and when you’re relaxed, getting work done isn’t as daunting. So when it’s seat selection time, choose wisely.
You don’t have to rule out first-class or economy class seating if you’re on a budget. Seat prices change depending on factors like holidays, availability, and weather.
Being flexible with the dates of your trip could help you find seats in first class or economy that are closer to your price range. If you can’t be flexible, try booking first or business class closer to your flight (ideally day-of).
This could be especially helpful if your business trip takes you across the country or internationally. Long haul flights are often worth the expense of a seat with more amenities.
#11. Book Direct if Possible
Flights that stop in connecting cities might save you money, but it won’t save you much else.
For every connecting flight there’s a chance for delays and unexpected cancellations that can have you scrambling to figure out your next move. If you’re traveling on a red-eye or on a long-haul flight, these also interrupt your chance to sleep on the plane and reduce the impact of jet lag.
Getting straight to your destination without having to get to another plane will give you peace of mind that you’ll be in your final destination when you land.
#12. Dress for Success and Comfort
Whether it’s a necktie that’s tied just a little too tight or heels that are pinching your toes, business attire can be uncomfortable for the typical work day let alone a cross-country flight. You don’t have to sacrifice business professional attire for a more comfortable travel experience.
Investing in clothing and shoes that are stylish but functional is a small change that will make a big difference when you travel. Shirts and blouses that are simple and made from breathable materials can help you relax inflight and maybe even get some rest without feeling stiff. Shoes with arch support will also save your feet from wear and tear during the day walking from gate to gate.
You can also wear comfortable travel clothes when you’re on the plane and bring a change of clothes in your personal item. Just change when you land or, if you’ll be in a rush to get to a meeting, on the plane before the seatbelt sign goes on.
What you wear to your meeting is just as important as what you wear on your way there, so try and choose clothing that makes your travel day more comfortable.
#13. Pack with Comfort in Mind
When you’re packing your laptop and other work materials don’t forget to throw in a few other items that can make your flight more comfortable. Things like eye masks for sleeping and even a small travel pillow can make it easier for you to fall asleep on a red eye flight. Even a book or a journal can help you destress while you wait for your plane to start boarding.
Just because you’re on a business trip doesn’t mean you don’t need certain things for entertainment and comfort.
#14. Improve Circulation
Planes are designed to be efficient and aerodynamic so sometimes your personal space isn’t prioritized. We all know a middle seat on a long flight is a recipe for all kinds of muscle pain and impaired circulation.
Check Out: What Happens to Your Body When You Fly?
Alleviate this kind of stress by stretching when you have the chance. A quick walk through the aisle when the seatbelt sign is off or stretching your legs out in the airport can make a big difference for your body and overall comfort.
Business Travel Tips to Stay Healthy
#15. Bring Healthy Snacks
Sometimes sitting down for a meal is impossible when you’re traveling. Plus, airport and plane food is known for being overly processed, unappetizing and unhealthy.
Packing a few snacks or even a small lunch in your carry-on can help.
You’ll need fuel for your day, but relying on time to stop might not be an option.
Some easy-to-grab, whole-foods snacks that fit into your carry-on include:
- Energy bars (focus on the ones with real ingredients like Larabar)
- Trail mix or assorted nuts like almonds, macadamia nuts, or cashews.
- Nut butter to-go pouches.
- Meat sticks and jerky.
- Sliced fruit and vegetables.
- Cheese and flaxseed crackers.
Opt for healthy snack options to provide premium fuel to your body so you can be sharp for work when you land. Flying already comes with a host of negative health impacts, and the last thing it needs is to deal with processing unhealthy airplane food.
#16. Take Your Vitamins
Traveling takes a lot out of you and it can leave your body feeling depleted of important nutrients. You can give your body what it needs right away when you bring your vitamins and supplements with you.
Try bringing FLIGHTFŪD Inflight Elixir with you on your next flight to help your body naturally combat the negative impacts of flying. The inflight elixir is made up of superfoods designed to support your body in the air.
It was also developed by and used by flight attendants so you know it’s a must have for your carry-on!
#17. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can lead to brain fog, sleep problems and lethargy, none of which you want to contend with when you need to be sharp for work.
Unfortunately, flying does a number on dehydrating the body. From dry cabin air to altitudes not natural to humans, and a compromised immune system, if you don’t take this seriously you’ll quickly lose water.
You need to bring your own large water bottle full of water and some hydration-boosting electrolytes and vitamins. You’ll never get enough fluid provided to you by the airline to remain hydrated.
This is one of the most important hacks for business travel. You’ll notice a difference!
#18. Try and Get Some Sleep
Sometimes you might like to work on your flights but other times it might make more sense to catch up on a little sleep. Travel takes a lot of energy and sleep deprivation affects business travelers more than those who travel less frequently.
You’ll also likely face jetlag if your business trip takes you to a country with a different time zone.
Taking the time to get a little shut eye on your flight can be beneficial for your health.
If you struggle to sleep while on the go, check out this article for a few tips to help you fall asleep on your flight
#19. Stick to your Routine
Even though you’re traveling to a new place that might be in another time zone, be sure that you keep some consistency. Maintain your normal routine by sticking to your diet and sleep schedule.
Airports have a lot of tempting food you wouldn’t normally eat. Opt for healthy options and the snacks you bring. Sticking to your normal sleep schedule on your home timezone can also help you adjust better when you get home from work.
Business Travel Tips to Earn Rewards
#20. Join Rewards Programs with Airlines and Hotels
Signing up for the rewards programs that airlines and hotels offer can be a great investment. Many programs reward frequent flyers with miles for future flights, meal and beverage vouchers, and even boarding priority.
Take a few moments to sign up for the rewards programs for extra travel perks.
Bonus: if you book your corporate travel on your personal card and get reimbursed by your company, you can use your points for personal travel as well. Win!
#21. Sign up for a Travel Credit Card
Along with rewards programs, a lot of airlines and hotels now offer credit cards as well. Swiping these cards while in flight or on the ground can give you discounts and earn you miles. Many airline programs offer miles as soon as you sign up and make your first few purchases.
Knowing you’ll get rewards for your purchases makes paying for that expensive airport food a lot less stressful. And if you designate this new card to travel expenses you can easily keep track of your spending while on the go.
#22. Consider an Airline Lounge Membership
Airline lounges at the airport offer multiple amenities that can help make your business trip more comfortable. If you fly often, these lounges are another investment to consider because they provide a space for you to feel at home while you’re away.
You can escape the crowded airport and find privacy in these lounges. Many also come with complimentary food, drinks, wifi and sometimes even a place to sleep and shower. After a long haul flight, a nice shower and warm breakfast could make all the difference before your meeting later that day.
Though some are pricier than others, lounge memberships offer amenities that frequent flyers can use for a more relaxing experience.
Be a Business Travel Expert on Your Next Trip
Take the stress out of your next business trip with these tips and strategies for a comfortable travel experience.
It’s tough managing work and travel, but how do you find your balance? What are some of the ways you like to make the most out of your business travel? Is there anything we missed that you would like us to know? Let us know in the comments below.