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15 Incredibly Useful business travel planner

15 Incredibly Useful business travel planner

Business travel can be stressful, but it can also be one of the most enjoyable parts of your job – if you know how to go about it. If you're looking for a bunch of easy-to-follow business travel advice, you've come to the right place: I've got a lot of experience, having traveled the world on business trips for over 15 years now.

Before I tell you everything you need to know to prepare for your business trip and how to get the most out of it, let me clarify one thing. Even though we don't like it, business travel isn't as automatic as we'd like. There are timetables to follow; meetings to attend; Unmissable events and networking evenings - you get the gist.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if your business trip is halfway around the world, you'll have to deal with jet lag and its many side effects - and you won't have time to rest and adapt properly.

Finally, you'll have to pack your things more carefully than usual, because you can't carry what you can think of when you leave for a business meeting.

Having learned from my mistakes, I am now following some simple business travel tips that help me better prepare for business trips. I decided to write it here to avoid any problems. Read on to discover the most useful business travel tips.

Keep your passport and other travel documents in order

Honestly, this is the most important business travel advice I can give you.

Seems pretty obvious, doesn't it? Well, trust me, it's not. Not realizing that my passport had almost no clean pages, I almost got stuck at the Cambodia-Vietnam border.

So here are some things to do:

  • Be sure to check your passport and other travel documents before you travel. Make sure your passport is not about to expire and that you have at least a few blank pages for stamps and visas.
  • If you need a visa, give yourself plenty of time to apply, as some embassies can be slow or the visa process can be a bit difficult. Sites like iVisa offer excellent online visa services and offer business visas for countries like India, Brazil, Russia, and Myanmar. I recommend checking them out to speed up the process!
  • Get a passport wallet or document case where you can keep all your maps, boarding passes, papers, and more in one place.
  • Take photos of any receipt to show proof of purchase, as well as important documents, and store them on Google Drive.

Always have good travel insurance

One of the most important tips I can give you for business travel is to get good travel insurance (it's good insurance you might want to check).

Like the time I spent in Mexico when I ate a bad taco and ended up with a serious stomach injury. I was really happy to have good travel insurance, which allowed me to get medical help and get back on my feet quickly.

In addition, you should also carry a small pharmacy with you containing the prescribed drugs as well as other drugs that you may need in an emergency, such as paracetamol and Imodium.

Book direct flights

That's easier said than done for some of us – not all of us live in a big city with a major international airport. Anyway - as far as you can try to book direct flights only. It reduces the risk of delays and lost connections and reduces the tedious time you spend at the airport.

I also recommend looking for early morning or late evening flights as they are less likely to be late.

Bonus Tip: Use the app to find the best seats on the plane.

Join some loyalty programs

One of the best business travel tips I've ever received is to join points programs so I can earn miles for a free plane ticket or an upgrade to business class. This is how I traveled to Romania and Cuba for free (and on vacation).

Make sure you join at least 3 loyalty programs: one with Sky Team, one with Star Alliance, and one with Oneworld. Virgin also has a good program. I also recommend buying the Business Lounge Pass, for access to a host of perks that business travelers can take advantage of - things like hot showers, good coffee, fast Wi-Fi, non-stop buffets, comfortable sofas, and everything that will make your stopover. Much more fun.

15 Incredibly Useful business travel planner

Get a good place to stay

This is one of the best tips for business travel - so much so that I had to use all caps to let you know.

Even if you're the type who isn't afraid to deal with it in a hostel, you don't want to stay in shared accommodation while on a business trip. You need to sleep, especially if you have a long day and a busy schedule the next morning.

The last thing you need is to fight someone's snoring to fall asleep. And you can use the privacy and cleanliness of the bathroom.

One of my favorite business travel tips is to get a serviced apartment, especially if your business trip is longer than two weeks. What you will like about the apartment compared to the hotel room is that it is more spacious and you feel more comfortable, so you are noticeably more comfortable.

A good apartment comes with all kinds of amenities like a comfortable bed, a spacious bathroom, a comfortable sofa and TV, a fully equipped kitchen, and even a washing machine and dryer. Some apartments are pet friendly and many have pool access - which is great as it means you can get some exercise at the end of the day.

Airbnb is a great site where you can search for a good apartment on your own. Be sure to set your search filters to show you apartments suitable for business travelers, and select those by “Superhosts” only (AKA landlords with lots of experience and great reviews). For a more upscale option, you can opt for Airbnb plus.

Take a partner with you

In general, there is a very high premium for single rooms in hotels, so a double room won't cost much more. As long as you're willing to pay the difference, it might be a good idea to bring a travel partner with you as well. While you're at meetings, your partner can enjoy their little break, and then you'll have company for the evening. This can make socializing with professional contacts more fun, as they will be able to bring their partners over too.

And if your business trip is on the weekend or at the start, you can even strap yourself in for two extra days of exploring the city.

Stay in touch with your loved ones

One of the biggest concerns when traveling isn't connecting with colleagues and family, let alone managing your day-to-day business and financial interests. Depending on the business, it can be disastrous to be absent for a few days.

Fortunately, these days there are apps for just about everything, allowing you to stay in control even when dealing with sensitive business, such as forex or even CFD trading online. Be sure to download the apps you need before you travel and you'll have peace of mind.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it can be difficult for your colleagues or family to contact you, especially if there is also a time difference to consider. So one of my other tips for business travel is to figure out before you go when the best time to call you is in your daily schedule and to make time each day to talk to your family when they are all here to talk. Your children will appreciate this.

Make sure your Wi-Fi network is working

It seems pretty obvious that you have good WiFi when traveling for business, doesn't it? Well, do yourself a favor and listen to one of the best business travel tips you'll ever come across: pack a portable walkie-talkie/mini-router and/or get a VPN for yourself.

The wireless device saves you the hassle of looking for a place with a decent internet connection and getting a local SIM card, as it connects to up to 5 devices simultaneously.

The VPN will allow you to bypass any local firewalls or blocks (I had this problem while traveling in Ethiopia) so you can send photos, files, videos, and whatever else you need need.

pack wisely

One of the best business travel tips is to pack smart.

Remember that packing for a business trip is not the same as packing for a vacation. There is an unspoken rule that you should dress quite smartly at business meetings. 

So here are some items for your packing list:

  • Wear elegant pants or a skirt.
  • Pack a pair of stylish t-shirts or shirts.
  • Pack a nice pair of shoes that you can wear to meetings.
  • Bring a dress or costume and - if you're a girl, of course - wear high heels for events and parties.
  • Pack plenty of casual items - sportswear and swimwear if your hotel has a gym or pool.
  • Packing cubes help keep things tidy inside the bag and reduce the risk of creasing.
  • Quality travel accessories are essential.
  • A lightweight four-wheeled portable bag like this, or an anti-theft bag if you prefer a backpack.
  • Pack items to help you sleep - eye mask and ear plugs; listeners; Your favorite travel pillow.
  • Book or Kindle packs!
  • Don't forget to bring a plug adapter and power bank.

15 Incredibly Useful business travel planner

For your business trip, I honestly recommend that you only travel and stick to a small bag - it makes traveling easier and smoother. But if your trip is long, you may need a bigger suitcase. In this case, you should also put an extra change of clothes in your bag. This is an extra precaution, in case checked baggage is lost and even delivered. It's nice to have something clean to wear at the end of a long trip!

Bonus tip: always remember to label your luggage!

Pack your bags with security in mind

If your business trip requires you to travel (and in some cases, even if you only have to take a bus or train), you will need to go through a few security checks. Keep this in mind when packing - avoid large bottles of liquid or any other items that may slow down security checks. You may also want to pay the additional fee (usually no more than a few dollars) for priority screening and/or priority boarding. It is 100% worth it.

Explore the place

You'd be missing out on a great opportunity if, on a business trip, you just slipped from one meeting to another and back to your room without ever exploring the premises.

Be sure to take a good guidebook with you and pick out a few essential sights to see and things to do. Even if you have a busy schedule, you can still get up early to do an hour of exploration before the start of the workday. And if you need to move from place to place for different meetings, you might consider walking instead of taking a taxi. It's the best way to enjoy a new city.

I walked around Jerusalem, going from meeting to meeting, and discovered many incredible hidden gems in this way.

Plan meetings carefully

This is related to the point above. If you can organize the meetings so that there are appropriate intervals between them, it will give you some one-on-one time to grab yourself and do some exploring or give you some of my time. It's very easy to think that you have to pack as much work as possible on each trip, but you can easily burn out if it's one meeting after another.

Remember, if you feel energized by all the new experiences you have on your travels, it will reflect on the success of the trip.

be social

Business travel is all about networking. Try not to let things end when the meeting is over. Invite people over for drinks or food, as you'll likely end up discovering "hidden gems" that only locals know about and may not show up in guidebooks. This is how I discovered some of the best restaurants in Rome, for example.

Eat healthily and stay hydrated

Conferences, business meetings, and events all have one thing in common: lots of good food and lots of booze at the end. But all that good food and all that booze aren't necessarily good.

Eating very rich foods that are very different from what you are used to can cause sleep problems. Plus, research has shown that alcohol has an effect on sleep patterns — and not sleeping well impacts your job performance.

Even if you feel like trying new (somewhat) good foods, you should make sure to eat as healthy as possible and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Finally, pamper yourself a little

For foreigners, traveling for business may seem like a pleasure rather than a responsibility. But it's exhausting. You have to work hard away from home, often in an unusual environment. But you can make things a little better if you treat yourself to a little, whether it's a relaxing massage at the hotel spa, an early night and 12 hours of peaceful sleep, or an upgrade to business class.

Because, by being kinder to yourself, the state in which you would be best for this business trip really matters!

Further reading

These publications may be useful when preparing for your business trip: