Traveling for business is one of the best ways to fast track your career, connecting you with your customers and clients face to face. If you find yourself frequently on the road or in the air for business, it’s important to maximize both your budget and your time. This way you can make the most of each and every business trip you take.
Here are some of the pros and cons of business travel and tips that you can utilize before, during, and after you’ve arrived at your destination.
Pros and Cons of Business Travel
There are both pros and cons to business travel — let’s take a look at both.
- Make connections. Making personal face-to-face connections with your clients is a great way to build up those business relationships.
- See the world. When not working or in meetings, you can use free time for sightseeing.
- Earn rewards. Collect frequent flyer points for future travel trips, even those for pleasure.
- Meet new people. Learn about different cultures in new and interesting locations.
- Expand your business. Open doors for new and great business opportunities.
- Balance and routine. Maintaining a day-to-day balance when away from home can be difficult.
- Health and nutrition. Maintaining your health and eating right can be challenging when not at home.
- Leaving family. Travel means you’re away from family for extended periods of time.
- Anxiety and stress. Traveling for work can raise your stress levels.
- Cost. Business travel can be costly when you add up all your expenses.
Before You Take Off
Even before you travel, there are tips you can use to prepare for your trip. These guidelines can help set you up to have a successful and enjoyable trip:
- Avoid long line ups. Bypass those long lines at security by signing up for Global Entry and PreCheck apps.
- Protect important documents. Keep copies of your important documents in case you lose them, or they get stolen. This includes your passport and driver’s license.
- Use a business credit card. Be smart and earn travel or other rewards and benefits by using a credit card just for business expenses.
- Stay organized. Plan your itinerary ahead of time so your entire trip is well organized.
- Smart flight bookings. Book flights early in the day as insurance against flight cancellations or delays. This way you’ll still get to that important meeting on time.
Don’t forget these helping tips for packing:
- Pack efficiently. Pack light but include a change or two of casual clothing for any personal outings you can fit into your trip.
- Convenient and healthy snacks. Pack your own snacks and avoid the unhealthy options at the airport and when in flight. You’ll feel better when you feed your body right.
- Charge electronics. Don’t rely on being able to charge your phone and laptop at the airport – make sure all your electronics are fully charged and bring your own portable charger.
- One bag only rule. Skip the luggage and put everything into carry on bags. You’ll save yourself time and frustration when you arrive.
During Your Travels
It’s not just pre-travel tips that can make business travel more efficient and less stressful. Use these tips to make getting there easy and relaxed:
- Check in early. Check in before you get to the airport, either online or using the airline’s app. You’ll be able to skip the long check in lineups that can set your trip off on a wrong note.
- Know what’s in your bag. Make sure your luggage doesn’t contain any of those prohibited items that can keep you in security longer than necessary.
- Airport business lounge. Take advantage of business lounges that most airports have. Use the time to relax, get some work done, or connect to the WiFi and answer email.
- Avoid holidays. Not flying on holidays can save you a lot of stress and frustration. Airports are always busier on holidays as everyone travels to see family and friends.
- Ease aches and pains. A simple thing like taking along a tennis ball to roll under your feet can ease the discomfort of sitting on a plane.
- Peace and quiet. Bringing ear plugs on the plane with you ensures that you can unplug from the noise around you so you can take a nap, get some work done, or read a book.
- Be calm and pleasant. You can improve your flying experience by being nice and polite to the flight crew. Consider bringing a gift like candy to boost everyone’s mood.
- Go for the water. Avoid alcohol when the drink cart goes by. Alcohol can lead to dehydration and intensify jet lag.
After You’ve Arrived
Once you’ve arrived at your destination stress-free, you’ll want the experience to continue throughout your trip. Follow these tips to make your stay comfortable and productive:
- Car rental. Always negotiate your car rental. Ask for upgrades and better prices.
- Hotel upgrades. Negotiate upgrades for your hotel as well, particularly when the hotel isn’t full and there are more options for available rooms.
- Accommodation alternatives. Hotels aren’t your only option. Save on hotel costs by choosing alternatives such as Airbnb.
- The importance of sleep. Focus on “good” sleep. Prevent jet lag by taking naps to catch up on sleep and waking or going to sleep as per the hours of your destination.
- Staying fit. Include exercise in your itinerary. You’ll feel more energized and productive. If you don’t have time for the gym, walk as much as you can before and after meetings.
- Water and more water. Drink plenty of water so you stay hydrated.
- Healthy foods. Choose healthy snacks and foods when eating out. Avoid grabbing unhealthy convenience food by keeping nutritious foods handy in your bag and hotel room.
- Supplement your health. Bring along vitamins and other supplements to optimize your health.
- Establish a routine. By eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep you can bring some consistency to your trip. This routine will keep you focused and stress-free.
Travel for business can be both exciting and productive. But when you have a busy business travel schedule, things can get a little hectic and cause you to feel anxious and frustrated when things aren’t going right.
Using the business travel tips and guidelines by Fundera below can help you make the most of your business trip, keeping you calm and focused from the day you leave until your return back to the office.
Meredith Wood is the editor-in-chief at Fundera. She has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for almost a decade, and is sought out frequently for her expertise in small business lending. Meredith’s advice has appeared in the SBA, SCORE, Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, American Banker, Small Business Trends, and more.