Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. He has spent over a decade providing strategy consulting services to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Patrick can be reached at email@example.com, and you can follow his blog at www.itbswatch.com. All opinions are his and may not represent those of his employer.
Of course, things like your company’s travel policy, how often you travel, and the purpose and destination of your trips have a lot to do with how much you enjoy your life as a business traveler, but most of these are aspects that employees have little control over. What is in the hands of the business traveler, however, is strategy. Having the right strategies to approach the many steps of a business trip can truly make all the difference to an otherwise physically and emotionally weary business traveler.
Before you go on a big trip, it is tempting to try and plan every aspect of it. As tempting as it might seem, make sure to leave plenty of room for serendipity. Try to just plan the skeleton of your trip and leave room in between for discovery and for things to come up which you didn't plan. Talk to other travelers that you meet on the ground and you'll have a much better idea of what you want to do once you land.
It was wonderful reading your blog. The tips are informative and very helpful. I totally agree with points 2 and 6. During my previous tours, I had to cut visits due to lack of time. Talking to the locals can help you get a better insight into the places. During my last travel, I got good help from the locals to find the best affordable restaurants to try the local food.
When I travel, I am often invited to stay with a local contact. I almost always accept the invitation. Staying in someone's home provides an opportunity to get to know them on a much more intimate personal level. Either I get a home-cooked meal or we eat at the best local restaurants. The closer connection allows for a deeper, more enduring relationship...or pretty fast clarity that it isn't a good match. In any case, it adds an interesting angle to the trip. (The photo is from a recent business trip.)
Most importantly, luggage should err on the safe side of the standard carry-on size -- in inches that means slightly under 22 x 14 x 9 (height x length x width), or 56 x 36 x 23 in centimeters, which is the most common allowable size across airlines. Many bags claim to be regulation size carry-ons and in fact aren't, so double check dimensions before buying to avoid forced gate check.
Along freeways with heavy traffic, carpool lanes (also called “diamond lanes” for the diamond-shape pattern painted on the lane’s surfaces) are identified by black-and-white signs that include details on times and days of enforcement (usually during peak rush hour periods on weekdays). To drive in most carpool lanes, you must at least two people (including the driver) in the car (some lanes in the San Francisco Bay Area have a three-person minimum. Tempted to use the lane when you don’t have the required number of riders? Don’t—fines are staggeringly high, close to $400 in some areas. In the Los Angeles area, carpool lanes may have specific entry and exit zones; adhere to them or you could get a hefty fine.
They know about everything going on in town. They can point you to free activities, special events happening during your stay, and everything in between. They even offer discounts on attractions and transportation. It is their job to help you experience the destination better. It’s amazing how many travelers skip this when they are visiting somewhere but, as a savvy traveler, you know to use this resource! This is probably one of the most underused travel tips in the world. Use the tourism board! Save money!
One of the first lessons I learned on the road was that your plans will nearly always change. You’ll arrive in a place and hate it and want to leave immediately, or you’ll fall in love with a destination and want to spend longer there. You’ll make friends with a group of awesome people and want to change your plans so you can travel with them for longer, or you’ll find out about an amazing town that’s nearby and want to head there instead.
But what about work trips? Suddenly, the inconveniences of travel are mixed with the potential awkwardness of spending 24/7 with your co-workers. Like it or not, though, you’re bound to have conferences, client trips, or company meetings on the calendar at some point. So before you pack your bags, here are a few tips on making it tolerable and even—dare we say it—fun.
Now, we travel with just carry-on sized luggage. This saves us money on check-in fees (though budget airlines are now starting to charge for carry-on bags too); it reduces the risk of our bags being lost or stolen, and; it means that we're a lot more mobile. Walking a kilometer or so with our bags is not a problem, which it would be with the enormous backpacks we used to travel with.
Business travel can often be avoided altogether by using available technologies- Skype, Go2Meeting, instant messaging, and conference calling (available for free from a variety of services), saving money and the environment. When travel is required, make the most of it by adding a marketing & education component to each trip - attend a conference, participate in a trade show, or connect with a potential client.
I make the most of my out-of-touch time on the plane, in transit, or in a hotel. Instead of being a slave to email, I prepare a list of phone calls I need to make and download PDFs of documents I need to read to my iPad, so that I can work easily in the airport and on the flight. I make sure to email myself source documents and open/save them before I get on the plane, so that I can edit or write in-flight.
One of my top travel hacks is to create an Excel/spreadsheet that I share with my other travel companions to ensure that we thought about the major details of the trip. A lot of people get really overwhelmed when trip planning as there are so many details to think about. However, if you like to do independent travel, a spreadsheet can be really helpful for figuring out the logistics of your trip ahead. This way, you can just show up at your destination with no stress.
As the TSA screening protocol has expanded, I've found small ways to save time during airport screening; I make sure that metal (watch, keys, change, phone, etc.) is in my computer bag - not on my person. And since airport requirements differ, I always assume the TSA will need to see my boarding pass a second time. Finally, for those wearing dress shoes through airport security, consider trading in your laces for a pair of slip-ons. You never know when you may need those two minutes you'll save.
Despite the constant rise of popularity in Skype and other modes of video conferencing, meeting in person has not become an extinct activity. If you are a young professional or recent graduate, business travel will likely be part of your job at some point. If you happen to be a lucky consultant, you will reach frequent traveler status faster than you can say “priority boarding." After reaching the frequent traveler status just a few months into my new job, I hope to bring some value to those who share aspects of my life on the road.
Great tips from everyone this is really going to help me this summer other thing when you make a list make sure you check off the important things first like start off with carry on luggage essentials any way this is my favorite site to go to when I’m having trouble packing oh almost forgot make your luggage noticble by putting ribbons and shoelaces so that way you would not have to worry when you get to the airport
Once you know your travel dates, look for networking opportunities at your destination. Check events around the area and find a way to squeeze one into your schedule, if possible. You might want to consider extending another day if it also results in a lower airplane fare while acquiring new leads. Always be ready by having extra business cards on hand. If you don’t know where to start checking, Skyline listed tips on how to find business networking events in every destination
One of the greatest aggravations when flying for work is getting to the airport late; well, when not checking bags, you can usually skip the lines at the counter and head straight to getting probed and prodded at security (after checking in online). Brought your company notebook and worried about it getting tossed about by the luggage handlers? You avoid that anxiety when you handle it yourself for the entire trip. Additionally, you have eyes on your bag for the whole trip, so you can rest (and fly) assured knowing that your bag won’t get misplaced en route.
Money belts are dumb. They’re uncomfortable to wear under your clothes, every time you need to pay for something, it looks like you’re rummaging around in your underwear, and thieves are well aware of their existence. When someone robbed a friend of mine in Brazil, the first thing they did was lift up their top to check for a money belt. Just do whatever you normally do with money at home: put it in your pocket or your purse/wallet.
Resorts: Certain parts of the state—the Deserts region, coastal communities, mountain resort towns—are renowned for five-star retreats, with many championship golf courses and tennis complexes, spectacular swimming pools, destination restaurants, and elegant spas (often open to the public). California’s celebrated wine regions also have ultra-luxe retreats, with romantic settings, unparalleled farm-to-table cuisine, and, of course, incredible wine lists. Many resorts also offer special activities for kids, like movie-and-popcorn nights, so parents can enjoy time alone while their children have experienced childcare. Weddings and reunions can book private event spaces and exclusive catering services. For top resorts statewide, check California Welcome Centers and local tourism agencies.
We seem to fly more international business class travel now, than before I quit my “real” job. In the last 6 years, we’ve flown some of the top business class products on the market. And we’ve learned how to make the most of a business class flight. In this post, we share our top 10 business class travel tips and offer a roundup of some of our top business class flights. And, the best part, because I am not really a business traveler, I can spend my time enjoying the business class flights! Not working!
It also helps to know which items are, according to the TSA, considered liquids or gels and thereby subject to the 3-1-1 rule. This isn't as simple as it sounds. Foods such as peanut butter, pudding, mashed potatoes, and icing are classified as gels. Mascara, lip gloss, and aerosol items are also classified as liquids or gels. But keep in mind that liquid prescription medication is exempt. (Read more on that on The TSA Blog.) See a more complete list of liquids and gels that are not permitted in carry-on luggage in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces here.
Don't take a sleeping bag unless you're actually going camping. They're useless. Most hostels won't even let you use them. Don't pack too many clothes – remember, you'll buy things while you travel. Don't take a huge first aid kit. You really just need a few necessities. Don't take more than three pairs of shoes. Don't take more than two pairs of jeans. But do take soap – most hostels don't supply it.
Traveling with kids like us? Then spend more time in fewer places. Don’t try and go everywhere and do everything – that’s a recipe for burnout and blowing your budget! Instead of racing from one end of a country to another, or tearing through 6 countries in 6 weeks, slow down and take more in. Constantly having to pack and unpack, spend time searching for flights and accommodation and transport, and deal with different time zones, currency changes, and even visa issues can be exhausting.
The number one thing to remember if you’re going on a business trip is that you have limited time in your hands. Plan your days, weeks and month ahead. Maximize this time by organizing and setting meetings before you fly out, use the travel time to do one of these two things: your research on the place and people you are visiting or event you’re attending or administrative work.
We were first business flyers to arrive for our morning flight. We were asked if we wanted to sit in the dining room to order a hot, fresh breakfast from an a la carte menu. Yes, please! A fresh cappuccino, fresh squeezed orange juice, and crepes made to order. I was so impressed. I am accustomed to buffet style snacks and treats, but having a menu to order fresh food was quite enjoyable, particularly sitting alongside the floor to ceiling windows with a view of the runway (Eric liked that).
If you’re carrying on, keep your toiletry bag light and TSA-compliant. The TSA’s 3-1-1 rule makes it easy to remember: liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and pastes must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or less per container and they must be in a 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag. To make this as easy as possible for you, we have a set that includes four 3-ounce silicone bottles in a quart-sized clear pouch that’s wipeable and has a water resistant zipper. Click here for more info about TSA rules regarding what you can pack.
You may think you're in the clear for communicating if you're visiting another English-speaking country, but think again. Certain words could cause you embarrassment across the pond or down under. Avoid words like "pants" (it means "underwear" in the U.K.), "fanny" (slang for a part of the female anatomy, and we're not talking about the rear end), and "pissed" (hint: to the Brits and Irish, it doesn't mean you're angry).
When you’re always traveling for your job, you’re always expected to be ready. But what about jobs like a truck driver or freight broker? These workers are constantly on the road to the point where their office can be considered “on the road”. Because of the nature of these kinds of jobs, you have to be prepared more often than not and have a great plan in place for when the road calls.
If you're traveling to a "regular" city and you're not taking clients out, a great way to save money is to get a gift card to a chain restaurant(s) you like. You save time, as you know the menu in advance and you potentially save money/hassles over unknown local options/hotel offerings. Of course, make sure that the chain exists where you're staying and this advice is for "regular" meals only - not trying local cuisine. This way, you can focus on business with one less distraction.
The first time I read this tip, I thought it was absolute insanity. Then, one time I actually tried it, and you know what? I didn’t regret it at all! While this may initially feel like a slow painful form of packrat torture, doing this will cut you down to the exact essentials you’ll actually need. I honestly think that overpacking is hardwired in us, which is why doing this exercise is so helpful.
Furthermore, if you're in a higher-risk situation—if, say, your medical insurance doesn't cover you abroad or you're heading to the Caribbean during hurricane season—travel insurance might be a smart purchase. Otherwise, maybe you're better off pocketing the extra hundred dollars or so and taking your chances on the road. To learn more, read Travel Insurance 101: What to Know Before You Buy.
Thanks to technology and various services available today, business travel isn’t as cumbersome as it used to be. Most seasoned business travellers even develop travel habits that allow them to travel more efficiently regardless of the timing and travel destination. We spoke to some seasoned travellers and gathered the top 10 tips that will help you travel for business more efficiently as well.
Our business class tips focus now only on tips for flying business class but also includes what airlines have a great business class product. Because once you learn how to travel in business class you’ll never want to stop travelling in business class. You’ll be researching all of the business class tricks and traveling hacking opportunities to make sure you can fly business class as much as possible.
4. Stay safe in transport. Avoid air travel mishaps by frequently checking whether your flight has been rescheduled or cancelled. When using bus services, make sure to go with trusted companies that are have many reviews online. Moreover, try booking your tickets in advance whenever possible, so you don’t end up stranded on remote bus stops with no transport in sight. If you are hiring local taxis, agree upon the fare in advance in case the vehicle doesn’t have a meter. Also, carry a map with you to avoid getting lost.
If you have lots of different types of activities you plan to do, that means you have a fair amount of gear you need to pack into your suitcase. Keeping everything organized can be a challenge. One of the best things you can do when you're packing for any trip, especially one that requires you to pack lots of layers, is to make sure you use packing organizers.
Let’s say you’re flying straight to Bangkok, where you’ve given yourself three days to see the main attractions. You can plan it all out, but you’ll most likely end up jetlagged and sleeping away a chunk of that time in the city. When you’re planning how long to stay in a place, take jetlag into account, as well as general travel fatigue. Remember you won’t want to be outside exploring for 12 hours a day every single day.
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Concerned about losing your phone while on the road? Change your phone's lock screen to an image that displays your emergency contact information, including your email address and an alternate phone number. If your phone is lost or stolen and a Good Samaritan finds it, he or she will easily be able to get in touch with you to return it, even if your phone is locked.
It's tempting, on that first daunting trip away, to get everything locked in – every hostel, every transfer, every breakfast, lunch and dinner. That way you don't have to worry about anything, right? But you'll soon come to realise that it pays to have some flexibility. Book in the big things, sure. But also leave yourself space to change your itinerary and take opportunities as they present themselves.
So many people will tell you not to travel with jeans, but if you wear jeans all the time at home, you’ll want to wear them while travelling, too. I didn’t start travelling with jeans until my second year of travel, and man, I missed them so much! They’re not *that* bulky so you really don’t need to worry about the extra space and weight. And in many cities in Europe, you’ll want to wear jeans to fit in with the locals — you don’t want to look like a grubby backpacker in Paris!
For example, Southwest Airlines boards their planes using a letter-based grouping system. Passengers check in no earlier than 24 hours before their flight and receive a number and letter combination (like A23 or B14). Passengers line up in groups of five, loosely in order and board when your group is called. It’s open seating on Southwest so you get pick your seat.
1. Pack for today’s overhead-bin reality. Since airlines started charging for checked baggage, travelers have resorted to extreme measures to ensure their bags make it on the plane. But most people get it wrong. Look around the boarding area. Almost everyone has a big roller bag and a briefcase. But one roller bag can fill an entire overhead bin. If your flight is full and you aren’t among the first on the plane, you will have to gate check that bag. A better strategy is to take two more equal-sized bags. One should be the maximum size that will fit under the seat and the other should be flexible so it can fit into any odd space available between roller bags in the overhead bin. Using this strategy, I have never had to gate check a bag in 20 years of travel. An added bonus–you can save the extra fees airlines charge you to board early in order to cram your huge bag on first, which is just a rip-off. For a list of what this luxury and other “premium” services will cost you, take a look at airline services fees on Kayak and SmarterTravel.
I pack lots of scarves. They use practically zero room in a suitcase and are so versatile. They allow me to create multiple outfits from the same top and bottom by providing different colors and textures, and they also can serve as protection against the cold or sun. I have used a scarf as a picnic blanket and as something soft (or protective) to sit on. Also, I pick up scarves wherever I go so it turns into a travel moment, too! Misadventures with Andi
Here’s a confession: I gained around 20 pounds over my first few years of travel, mostly thanks to eating out for every single meal. While it can be tempting to treat yourself to junk food, and Pringles and Oreos will fuel your every travel day, resolve to have at least a few days every now and then when you go for the healthier option. Your body and mind will thank you for it. Aim to cut out the rice, bread, and beer to keep your calorie intake low if you’re feeling as though you’re gaining too much weight on the road.
Wearing a money belt or neck wallet lets you keep your valuables close to your body and away from prying hands. Review all the different styles here to choose what works best for you and the type of travel you’ll be doing. You may also want to choose an option with RFID protection. RFID protection keeps all passports with an RFID chip (issued after 2006) and credit cards/debit cards safe while travelling. How? It’s simple. Identity theft can occur when someone is able to “read” through your purse or pocket via the microchip, which has personal information stored on it. By using an RFID blocking technology, your personal information is protected. You can learn more about RFID safety from Scott Shelter, freelance journalist and frequent traveler.