There are many reasons we travel for business, but regardless of why or where you are setting off to, we all go through a relatively similar protocol. For those of us that travel a little more often, tips and routines can develop that save time and headaches when it comes travel. Here are a few I’ve come to rely on.
BEFORE YOU GO
1. Assign your seat early. Depending on your frequent flyer status, that might be a week before flight to day before. Remember, no seat might equal no flight.
2. Sign up for Global Entry. With the US Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry Program, low-risk travelers (including business travelers) can get expedited clearance into the United States. This has saved me a lot of time and hassle, and in cases where security may be escalated, this will ensure a greater likely hood you won’t get tied up along with everyone else. In Canada, Nexus is another option that once approved will fast track you through.
3. Use a SIM card. Get a global or travel SIM card for your phone so you can avoid paying high roaming rates.
4. Set your out-of-office. You may plan to be accessible while you’re traveling, but that doesn’t mean you will be. Set up your out-of-office message so that people are aware that you’re travelling and there may be a delay in your response.
5. Charge your devices. From tablets to phones, noise cancelling headphones to electric toothbrushes, there are numerous devices we bring on business trips that need to be charged in order to be useful. Make sure you charge each of your devices fully before leaving so that if you’re stuck in a power outage, or you are delayed, you can still access important documents and possibly email and cloud storage drives. Better yet charge and bring a portable battery.
6. Bring a copy. Make a copy of important documents or cards such as a passport, credit cards or ID. This could be indispensable should something happen to them on route.
WHEN YOU GO
7. Get to the airport on time! If you are checking luggage you likely need to be there earlier. Depending on your frequent flyer status that may be 30 – 90 mins before flight. If you can, check to the status of your flight before heading to airport. Even if the weather looks great, delays you’re not aware of could be holding up your flight. And while you’re online, check-in remotely before you get to airport. It will allow you to arrive with one less thing to worry about.
8. Use your Smartphone. Today’s business traveler has an indispensable tool in their pocket or bag – their Smartphone. Smartphone apps can make your travel easier and cheaper by tracking your miles, alerting you to weather issues in the areas you’re traveling to, tracking your expenses, booking hotel rooms and finding cheap prices on all sorts of things.
Most airlines have decent apps but there are also very good travel apps. Tripit for IOS and android, Blackberry Travel for Blackberry. Yes…I still have a blackberry. I’d also suggest an Uber or Lyft App for getting to and from the airport. If you’re not sure where to start with apps, check out this article from Forbes on the 11 Most Invaluable Apps For Business Travelers.
9. Packing. Carry a change of clothes in your carry-on so that you have something to wear should your luggage get lost or stolen.
Never underestimate the power of a Ziploc bag. You only have to have shampoo or sunscreen spill once before you realize extra care is required. Use a large one to store all your liquids so that when you’re asked to place then in a tray going through security – they’re all in one place.
Ensure your valuables are packed in your carry on to avoid items from being stolen in checked luggage (or if possible simply avoid bringing valuables).
10. Use travel insurance. Finally, make sure your travel Insurance covers any issues that may arise while you are travelling. Make sure you have medical coverage and bring a copy or take a photo of card with telephone and plan # for medical emergencies.
It’s also a good idea to check to see if your auto insurance covers insurance for rentals. If not, your credit card may offer it or you can consider purchasing insurance along with the car rental for extra surety.
SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE
The internet may have made it so that we can transact business across the globe from the comfort of our own living rooms, but it doesn’t completely remove the need for business travel. In fact, trade shows, conventions and in person meetings continue to be indispensable to businesses, making travel just as important as It ever was. So whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, try a few of these tips to make your trip as enjoyable as possible.