Recently, I have had two conversations with two different people. The first conversation, a month or so ago, was with my mom. “Why don’t you do an intro to business travel thing on your blog?” she said. Then, more recently, I was asked what my best tips are for making travel easier. With that, the idea for a new series was born! I am going to include “best of” tips for packing, security, safety, etiquette, comfort, and anything else I can think of. If you think of a topic that new business travelers need to know about, let me know in the comments or by emailing RoadWarriorette@gmail.com.
This week’s Business Travel 101 tips are general tips about making travel as easy as possible. For people who don’t travel often or haven’t traveled in a long time, the very idea of packing up and flying to a new place, while representing yourself as a competent professional, is daunting. Keep the following in mind, and your first business trip will go much more smoothly.
- Check the latest guidelines. Before your trip, go online to TSA.gov and your airline’s website to find out what the current guidelines are about security, what you are allowed to carry-on, and how big your suitcase can be.
- Print out critical information. You may think, I have access to all of my plane, car, and hotel reservations on my phone or computer. I don’t need to print them out! I promise, having that info in hand for your first few trips will save you some serious headaches. One time I did not print out my info, my computer for some reason wouldn’t connect to the internet at the airport, and I had to spend an hour calling various Marriott Hotels in the area looking for my reservation. NOT a fun time. Even after traveling for four years, I still print out my information if I am going to a new location.
- Carry-on. This is one of the big ones. You will save so much time (and money) if you simply carry on your suitcase. It is very possible to pack for four days easily, and for over a week with some practice, into a rollerboard.
- Be ready to go through security. Have your ID and boarding pass ready for the agent, have your laptop and liquids bag readily available to pull out of your bag, wear shoes that are easy to take off and put on. And don’t stand by the x-ray machine once you’re done, putting your shoes and watch back on. Grab your stuff and move it to a bench. This is one of my serious pet peeves. If everyone simply moved out of the way, security lines would go so much faster!!
- Be comfortable. Flying is not the time to wear too tight pants or spiked heels. If what you are wearing isn’t comfortable on the ground, there is no way it will be comfortable at 33,000 feet with pressure changes. There are ways to look good and be comfortable, and sacrificing comfort for style is not worth making your flight miserable.
- Bring things to entertain you. I always bring my iPhone for music, my Kindle, and knitting. Some people really enjoy Sudoku or movies. Whatever, as long as it passes the time for you. This is especially important if you get anxious about flying.
A little bit of planning can make a business trip, or any kind of trip, as trouble-free as possible. Readers, what are your tips for effortless travel?