The question is: Why be content with satisfied? You can make your business trips better than simply satisfying with these tips and tricks.
If you’re a new corporate traveler, then you may have heard stories about the negative parts of business trips. Although traveling for business often gets a bad rap, it’s not as unpleasant as you might think. According to a survey conducted by the Global Business Travel Association, 86 percent of business travelers are satisfied with their travel experiences, despite mishaps like flight delays and lost luggage.
1. Plan Ahead
A successful business trip starts with careful planning. Before you do anything else, take advantage of hotel and airline loyalty programs. Signing up doesn’t cost a thing, and the points or miles you earn can be used toward hotel or airline upgrades, free in-room or in-flight Wi-Fi, expedited check-in, bonus nights, and more.
To get the best rates and availability, make your travel arrangements well in advance. For convenience, use map apps to find hotels close to your work site with amenities like complimentary breakfast, airport shuttle, free Wi-Fi, and room service. For more careful planning, try these tips:
- Make sure you have a valid passport or visa.
- Create a detailed itinerary for your trip.
- Avoid lost luggage by traveling with one lone carry-on bag.
- Double-check reservation dates for your airline, hotel, and car.
- Pack an alarm clock as a backup for your smartphone, or arrange for a hotel wakeup call.
2. Use Travel Apps
Whether you’re traveling for recreation or business, sometimes you need a little extra help along the way. Suzanne Ball, founder of the website TravelSmart Woman, recommends using free apps for easier travel. Here are a few suggestions:
- TripIt: Just forward your reservation information to TripIt, and this app creates a detailed itinerary with everything you need in one convenient place.
- PackPoint: Based on filters like destination, type of travel, length of trip, and weather, PackPoint generates a packing list so detailed you won’t forget a thing.
- iExit: If you’re driving instead of flying, use iExit to find the best pit stops for food, gas, and hotels.
- Moovit: This handy app makes using public transportation a breeze by offering directions for getting around and information regarding schedules and delays.
- TripAdvisor: By reading reviews on TripAdvisor, you can find the best food, lodging, and places to visit in town, and you can make reservations or buy tickets through the website.
3. Zip Through Airport Security
Getting hung up at airport security can frustrate any traveler. Zoom through checkpoints more quickly with a few easy strategies:
- Sign up for TSA PreCheck, a government program that provides low-risk travelers with expedited security screening.
- Download the MyTSA app, which offers information on security wait times, weather conditions, and allowable travel items.
- Wear minimal jewelry and shoes you can slide off and put on easily.
- Make sure any carryon liquids, powders, or gels are 3.4 oz. or less and placed in a quart-sized, zip-top bag.
4. Squeeze in Some Fun
Nothing makes a business trip better than having a little fun. Harriet Baskas, author and creator of the travel blog Stuck at the Airport, offers a few tips. Make casual business meetings more enjoyable by having them at coffee shops or pairing them with a scenic hike or a round of golf. Take an extra day before or after your scheduled work time to explore the city. Purchase a ticket to a museum exhibition, a play, the symphony, or the opera in advance of your trip.
5. Try More Little-Known Travel Tricks
Some more tips is to take even more stress out of a business trip, try some of these simple ideas that go a long way. Fly free and easy by shipping your luggage instead of flying with it. Put flight attendants in a great mood with a box of chocolates, and keep your own blood sugar on an even keel by packing healthy snacks in your purse or messenger bag.
To help jog your memory after a busy day of meetings, take photos of parking places and hotel room numbers, and if you lose a phone charger or a pair of headphones, check with the airport lost and found. Even if your item isn’t there, they may have something you can use, provided it has been there for three months or longer.
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