Ten top travel tips for business travellers

  • 10th April 2014
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| BMI Regional

Spring and autumn are typically times when our diaries fill with business events and some may be overseas. Travelling the world makes it feel a smaller place and here we share some top tips from business travellers to save you time and hassle on the road:

1. Advance planning

If you are going to a trade fair it’s best to make sure you have made contact with all the key companies you want to meet and scheduled appointments at least a month in advance.

2. Use the trade show apps

Many trade fair websites such as the Frankfurt Exhibition Centre have helpful tools to schedule appointments and apps with maps of the venue to plan how long it will take you to get from one end of the trade hall to the other. If you are going to a big European trade fair such as Electronica, Imex or Automecanika make sure you have downloaded the maps and any apps to get around the show. Some of the halls are so big you need to allow 15 mins to walk from one hall to another.

If you are going to a conference try to get a delegate list before you leave so you can make contact with people via Linkedin which can really help networking both before, during and after your business event.

Here are some useful links to some of the key trade shows in some key German and Italian cities served by bmi regional flights from Bristol:

Frankfurt Trade Shows 2014 – 2015
Hamburg Trade Shows 2014 – 2015
Munich Trade Shows 2014 – 2015
Milan Trade Shows 2014 – 2015

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3. Before you leave home

It’s worth having a checklist ready that you can use to make sure you don’t forget anything and it’s worth packing in one go so you don’t forget what you’ve already put in your case.

4. Reduce the clutter

Charge up your gadgets the night before you travel and take a portable battery charger for times when you can’t find a socket. Bring a small port of USB hubs rather than a spaghetti of cables and bulky chargers for your gadgets to save space and for those hotel rooms that never have enough sockets.

5. Sleeping aids

Don’t forget to pack an adapter and some foam earplugs and an eyemask if you want to sleep on your flight or find yourself in a noisy hotel or one with thin curtains.

6. Packing tips

Zip lock plastic bags can be great for minimising spills in your luggage and reducing wasted space. Check that all your containers are less than 100ml in size if you are just taking carry on luggage.

A cotton money belt you can hide under your clothes is great for carrying cash and its worth having a few passport photos for any countries needing visas on arrival. Leave your itinerary at home so that your family can reach you via your hotel landline in an emergency if your mobile is switched off.

7. Useful mobile apps

Use a mobile app like MapsWithMe to download a local country map on your smartphone so you will always know where you are, even when you don’t have wifi. This app can also be useful for marking your entry point to any large exhibition centres so you can find your way back easily at the end of the day. Both MapsWithMe and Trip Advisor also offer offline city guides which means you can read about the main sights of the city you are visiting without needing wifi.

Other mobile apps like OsmAnd will give you point by point voice navigation on your smartphone and reduce the stress of trying to read maps if you’re driving solo and save on the cost of hiring a GPS. An app like Google Translate can help with any local language challenges and Google Maps are starting to show the layouts of large city buildings.

WhatsApp and Skype are great apps for staying in touch with friends and family for free whilst you are abroad if you have wifi. WhatsApp enables you to send picture messages and even video from abroad to any mobile phone.

Storing a copy of your travel documents onto a ‘cloud server’ such as Dropbox, Skydrive or Google Drive ensures that you can always print out another copy if they get lost or stolen. Check the weather at your destination so you know what to pack – the UK met office has a useful app for this.

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8. Tips whilst travelling

When you check in ask for the hotel wifi code as it will save you time trying to get it later. Ask for your bill to be prepared the night before you leave and settle it then to save queuing the next morning with everyone else.

Check carefully the frequency and cost of any airport transfers promised by your hotel and book any transfers in advance and at least the night before so you don’t find you’ve just missed a transfer the next morning and the next one doesn’t leave for an hour!

9. Tips when visiting trade shows

Taking a photo of the stand you visited with the people you meet can be a helpful reminder when you are sorting through your business cards. Scanning your cards using a phone app like Camcard can also save time when you need to put them into your contact database.

Many trade show stands now use QR codes to download documents which saves you having to take back heavy brochures. It’s always worth sending a reminder of your appointment details to the person the day before so that you know they haven’t forgotten you.

Most trade shows have meeting points for visitors who need to arrange meetings with other visitors who are not exhibitors. You can also use the trade show maps and apps listed above to find suitable cafes in or near the exhibition centre for meeting your contacts.

Many trade events have speed networking events where you can meet your target buyer or supplier so do check if these events are scheduled.

10. Airport time saving tips

If you have an EU passport with a chip you can save valuable time at the airport by choosing the queue with the chip symbol which works on recognition of your iris. Make sure you remove your glasses as the machine doesn’t work with them on.

For stress free travel remember bmi regional now offers direct flights to Europe from Bristol to Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg and Milan. Minimum fuss, no long queues and no trudging to London with the UK’s most punctual airline.

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