Very few people actually enjoy the process of navigating airport security, changing planes, and dealing with flight delays or cancellations. Correction – no sane person finds business travel enjoyable. It’s cumbersome, stressful, and time-consuming. However, for many business men and women across the country, frequent air travel comes with the job description. There’s no other way around it. And if you haven’t yet found a way to ease some of the burdens that come with bouncing from airport to airport, these simple tips and tricks could fundamentally change the way you look at business travel.
Pack the Night Before
One of the simplest things you can do is pack the night before. This gives you one less thing to do in the morning and prevents you from running around like a crazy person looking for that last pair of dress socks when you’re already well-behind schedule. Some people even prefer to go ahead and lay out their travel outfit before going to bed. In fact, the more you can do the night before, the better. Water the plants; get the coffee maker prepped; set your automated light timers. These may seem like small things, but they quickly add up when you’re trying to hit the road.
Check in Online
There’s no excuse for waiting in an airport line to print off your boarding pass. All major airlines now allow you to check in online within 24 hours of your departure time. Take advantage of this, as it can save precious time and stress at the airport.
Learn to Love Carry On Bags
Checking luggage is for fools. Not only does it take extra time to drop off your bags, but it also forces you to hang around baggage claim for an extra 15-30 minutes after your plane lands. (Not to mention the risk of the airline misplacing or losing your luggage). Airlines allow you to take one carry on and one personal item. When it comes to business travel, you rarely need more space than this.
“I make sure that I am always arriving early,” says Eric Holtzclaw, experienced business traveler. “I get to the airport early for my flight and to the city early for my meeting. Business travel is all about expecting the unexpected–gate changes, flight delays, long taxi lines and security checkpoint backups. By giving yourself more time, these unavoidable occurrences will not cause you extra stress.”
Prepare for Security
Everyone gets fed up with airport security lines, but the truth is that these same people know what to expect and somehow fail to adequately prepare. Here are some solid pointers that will help you – and those behind you – breeze through security:
- Remove your belt and shoes in advance.
- Have your laptop out and be prepared to place it in a separate bin.
- Ensure liquids are in 3-ounce bottles (inside a clear one-quart plastic bag).
- Avoid getting behind families with small children.
- Remove everything from your pockets.
Use Your Time Wisely
If you’ve followed the previous tips, you’ll most certainly arrive to your gate with plenty of time to spare. The key is to use this time wisely. Avoid the temptation to mess around on your iPad or take a nap. Instead, grab something to eat, study for your presentation, or make last minute phone calls to shore up things on the home front. You’ll feel much more relaxed during your flight if you make efficient use of your time.
Prepare Travel Arrangements in Advance
Nothing is worse than arriving at your destination and then having to spend an hour waiting on a bus or taxi. If possible, do your research in advance and arrange for your travel accommodations. Assuming you didn’t check any baggage, this allows you to walk directly from the gate to your taxi in a matter of minutes.
Have a “Travel Emergency Kit” on Hand
When traveling, it helps to have certain items handy. If you want to avoid potential issues, it’s a good idea to pack what some call a “travel emergency kit.” This kit contains things like headphones, snacks, medicine, extra phone batteries, and a small amount of cash. You’d be surprised how often these things come in handy.
Be a Smart Business Traveler
As a frequent business traveler, you should be able to anticipate problems. While everyone is different, many find these eight tips helpful and effective. Not only do they help you save time, but they also make the entire travel process less stressful. Keep them in mind next time you travel and feel free to share your own tips and techniques with readers.