Business travel is not necessarily as glamorous as some people think and it can even increase stress levels and be seen as a dreaded chore. But it can be a real adventure, when done properly.
‘One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.’ Henry Miller
How to prevent business travel making you miserable
A recent study by the University of Surrey suggests that regular business travel can negatively affect your physical health, your state of mind, and your social and family life.
It is ‘frequently a lonely and isolating experience’, according to the study, and even occasional business trippers can find it stressful and see it as an unwanted chore.
But business travel doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. With the right preparation and state of mind you can embrace it as a new adventure, and actually enjoy it. And here’s how…
How to pack for business travel
5 tips for efficient packing
1) Pack light – you’ll be carrying your bag and could be travelling around a lot.
2) If it doesn’t fit in a carry-on case, you’ve packed too much.
3) Take a soft bag to the airport for coat, hat, gloves etc so you don’t have to hold them when going through security.
4) If you’re not sure if you need it, you don’t.
5) Remember, there will be shops at your destination.
More tips can be found in BootsNAlls article.
What you need for a few days’ business travel:
☐1 x suit/suitable work outfit
☐2-4 sets of underwear
☐1 x shoes, suitable for work and leisure
☐1 x jeans/casual trousers/shorts
☐1 x jumper, depending on destination
☐1 x jacket/coat, ideally waterproof
☐1 x item of nightwear
☐1 x essential accessory – belt, tie, scarf etc
☐1 x notebook
☐2 x pens
☐1 x leisure book
☐Phone and charger
☐Laptop and charger
☐Passport, boarding pass and any necessary tickets
☐Travel guide for destination
☐Toiletry bag – toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, comb, any medication, perfume/aftershave (100ml or less if going in a carry-on)
If you feel the need to pack more see this larger checklist from One Bag.
Plan some remote family time
One of the reasons business trips can make people miserable is that they have to spend time away from their loved ones. Making time to contact family while travelling is a great way to stay connected and happy.
3 tips to stay connected to your family
1) Set a time slot to speak to your family each day – Consider time zones and make sure you’re available at a certain time, which can become a daily treat.
2) Set them up with Skype/Facetime – If your family are not on Skype, Facetime or similar set them up before you leave, so you can actually see each other when you chat, making you feel closer to home.
3) Take some family photos – A few pictures kept in your notebook or wallet will help you feel at home anywhere, and they’re a great conversation starter when meeting strangers at your destination.
More tips can be found in Penelope Trunk’s article and the comments below.
Getting to the airport
Most airport trips will be in taxis, cars or on trains, but if your budget is a little more generous here’s how you could travel in style:
3 luxurious options for airport transfers
1) Mercedes E Class Saloon
2) Mercedes Viano MPV
3) Rolls Royce Phantom Limo
3 outrageous alternatives
1) Batmobile Limousine
2) Lamborghini Aventador Stretch
3) Europcopter EC 155
Check out this article from TheRichest.com for more amazing limos.
How to enjoy the airport
The airport doesn’t have to be a butt-achingly boring chore where you shuffle through security to then wait hours for your flight. In fact it can be quite a treat if you plan ahead and find out what restaurants, bars and airport lounges are on offer.
The 10 best airport lounges in the world
1) British Airways Concorde Lounge, London Heathrow
2) Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, New York JFK
3) Qatar Airways Lounge, Doha
4) The Private Room, Singapore
5) GVK Lounge, Mumbai
6) Emirates First Class Lounge, Dubai
7) Finnair Premium Lounge, Helsinki
8) Plaza Premium Lounge, London Heathrow
9) No. 1 Traveller Lounge, London Heathrow
10) Oneworld Lounge, LAX Los Angeles
The 5 best airport bars and restaurants
1) City Bar and Grill, London City
2) CRU Food and Wine Bar, Denver
3) Beer Garden, Munich
4) Runway 34, Zurich
5) Pool Bar, Singapore
How to enjoy flying for business
For a lot of people, flying – even for leisure – is not a pleasurable experience so here are a few tips to help you relax and enjoy your flight.
5 essential tips for your flight
1) Leave time to relax before boarding – It may not seem efficient but having some time to sit back before boarding your flight will help you relax.
2) Book extra legroom – Any fairly tall passenger should book extra legroom, giving you more space to relax and enjoy your trip.
3) Book your seat in advance – Even if it costs a little extra, this will remove the stress of piling on the plane and finding a decent seat, and mean you won’t end up unexpectedly having to sit next to the toilet.
4) Take entertainment – Music and podcasts on your phone, movies on your laptop or tablet and something to read will help the time fly by.
5) Try not to work – If you’re with colleagues it may be tempting to work on that report but give yourself chance to relax, as you’re bound to have plenty to do when you arrive at your destination.
5 ways to get an upgrade
1) Travel at quiet times – You have a higher chance of upgrades on bank holidays and times when business travellers are unlikely to fly.
2) Get there early – If there are just a couple of upgrades available the early bird will probably get the worm.
3) Be nice – Smiling and generally being nice to airline staff is always a good tip.
4) Be loyal – Joining an airline’s loyalty programme should bring benefits, especially for frequent flyers.
5) Dress sharp – Look like you belong in business class and you could end up there.
There are more tips on getting an upgrade from Skyscanner.
How to travel with colleagues
Relationships with colleagues can be tricky, and even trickier when spending extended period of time with them on business trips. With that in mind here are some tips to maintain a professional relationship and stay sane.
5 tips for dealing with colleagues
1) Get to know them – Take the extra time you have to chat and find out about them as humans. What do they care about? What do you have in common. It’s a great chance to bond.
2) Don’t overshare – Having said that remember you will have to work with this person after the trip, so don’t overshare.
3) Use the opportunity to impress – If there are just a couple or a few of you travelling it’s a great chance to impress your colleagues by volunteering for responsibilities such as managing the itinerary for the trip.
4) Don’t drink too much – It may be tempting to relax with a few beverages at the end of a day, but you don’t want your colleagues to see you legless.
5) Take some ‘me’ time – Whether you get on well with your colleagues or not give yourself some time and space alone.
Embrace hotel life
The best way to have a good hotel stay is to stay in a very good hotel. If you’re lucky enough to have a sizeable budget there are some wonderful options to choose from.
5 of the best business hotels in the world
1) Mandarin Oriental, New York
2) Hotel Deluxe, Portland
3) The Peninsula, Hong Kong
4) The Dorchester, London
5) The Lowry Hotel, Manchester
3 ways to get a hotel upgrade
1) Tip well
2) Be nice
3) Tip well
More excellent information on this can be gleaned from writer and former hotel worked Jacob Tomsky.
And finally…plan some leisure time at your destination
One of the best things about business travel is that you get to see a new part of the world, for free!
In fact you’re being paid to travel, so make the most of it and plan some time to visit the local sites and meet local people.
You have a chance for a new adventure so find opportunities to get out of the boardroom and the hotel, and embrace the world.