Seven steps to making your business travel less hassle

  • 06th September 2013

1. Pack without panicking

Learn how to fold a suit into carry-on. It’s genius at its quiet best. This traveller has it down to a fine art: ( Everything else should be rolled up, so much more 21st century, efficient and crease-free than folding. Keep your collars stiff by rolling a belt where your neck usually goes and keep shoes in a shower cap (see, there is a use for them, gents) to keep clothes clean. Keep necklaces tangle-free by threading them through straws and put Clingfilm on toiletries before you screw the lids on, to prevent leakage.

Now, re-pack, leaving out three of the items you think you definitely, absolutely need. You don’t! Try and get it all in carry-on, but if you can’t then use an airline which doesn’t charge for cabin baggage. And if you’re taking back a bottle of wine back for your better half, put a shoe over each end to keep it safe in transit.

2. Make security lines seamless – play it like a pro

Spend the time in the line usefully: remove you belt, stuff your jacket pockets with keys, watches, coins, gents untie your laces (unless you’re wearing slip-ons, because, you know, they’re so much easier…). Have your passport and ticket ready to be checked and unpack your laptop (and your iPad/Kindle, they count too, now).

Oh, and any jokes or sarcastic quips should be left in your head. The security staff have a) heard them all before, b) think you’re a prat for even uttering them and c) their own far more hilarious retort will set you back at least half an hour…

HOT TIP for check-in – if you’re using your mobile phone for check-in take a screenshot of your boarding QR code for easy access and no paperwork at the airport. All you need to do is remember where you put your smartphone!

3. Life On The Road

If you’re walking to a meeting (or to meet someone), take a screenshot of the Google Map route on your smartphone via the hotel’s wifi. Don’t use your precious data allowance en route. In fact, check out what wifi is available in the hotel, airport, and venue before you leave.

Beat any jetlag or tiredness with exercise. Counterintuitive, true, but it works. Learn about where you’re flying to. Knowing what other industries, historical figures, football teams and screamo metal dubstep bands originate from your destination venue is going to break the ice at that first meeting. Well, the first three might.

4. Business Trip Etiquette

Working during the flight? Make sure it’s not confidential. That guy two rows behind you on the opposite aisle doesn’t need to know your forecasts for next year… but do use your laptop to take meeting notes when they’re fresh in your mind.

If you get an invitation to go out, take it – the cliché of airport-hotel-meeting-hotel-airport-home doesn’t need to be proven again. Have some downtime. But only after you’ve written up those meeting notes.

Oh, and prepare. Prepare for the meeting, the presentation, the networking and the possibility your host loves karaoke after any deal gets signed.

5. Money

If you’re going to use a cashpoint, do it early. Estimate how much you’re going to need and take it all out at once to keep withdrawal charges to a minimum. Using the hole in the wall is also probably cheaper than getting cash from the airport or your hotel. Make sure you tell your bank where you’re heading to avoid those 4am: “This is just a routine security courtesy call…” calls or, worse, getting your cards frozen.

Tip as appropriate. In Europe the rule of thumb is 10% in restaurants if no service charge is added and for taxis it’s ‘keep the change’.

6. Communications

Even if it’s a company phone it’s worth sorting out an international data roaming plan before you head off. Make sure you keep a check how much data you’re using when abroad and remember to have the roaming plan turned off when you get back.
Run out of juice? The flatscreen television in your hotel room probably a USB port for your to re-charge. Better still, pack a universal charger.

7. Too Much Air Time…?

It might actually be that you’ve spent too much of your working life flying to meetings across the continent. How will you know? Answer yes to more than five of the following, you might want to think about rejoining your family once a month:

  • Your chargers have chargers.
  • You know the hidden bars in airports
  • You won’t use the same bar of soap two days running
  • You refer to cities by their airport codes
  • You know more about the air crew’s kids on your regular routes than you do about your own
  • You leave towels on the bathroom floor and get annoyed when they’re still there when you get back from work
  • You could have written this in your sleep. If you ever had the chance to get some sleep…

So that’s bmi regional’s advice. What are your top tips for travel? Tell us here now.