In order to avoid the stress that they generate, to make the most of your time while you are away, to reduce the risk of problems with flight schedules and also to enjoy them, below we share some tips to consider before you start organizing your next business trip.
- Flights: Before confirming your reservation, verify that you have all the documents, visas and vaccines necessary to enter your destination. Most airlines offer frequent-flyer promotions so remember to take your point card with you; in the future, you may benefit from free tickets or upgrade your seat to a higher class. Although one tends to choose more economical rates, make sure you always have the option of changing flight dates and schedules, if necessary.
- Accommodation: The key to choosing the location depends on the length of the trip. If you will only be staying for a few hours, the best option is to choose accommodation between the place of business and the airport. Some hotels even offer short-stay rates for resting a couple of hours during the day. If you know that you will have some free time, a downtown hotel will offer more tourist or gastronomical attractions. If the hotel is going to be your operating base for meetings and work, make sure it includes special features such as conference rooms, mini bar, coffee and bar service throughout the day and a safety box to keep your valuables. Remember to ask if Wi-Fi connection is included in the rates and if your room has access.
- Baggage: When confirming your reservation, check the baggage weight restrictions since these may vary depending on the destination or the company. When choosing luggage, consider size and material. If you will be carrying delicate items, a sturdy suitcase is best but if you will only be carrying clothes, then a lightweight suitcase made of soft material will be more suitable and easier to carry. Hoteles.com recommends packing cotton or wrinkle-free clothing; a sweater or something to keep you warm on cold flights, and a different outfit for going out after work hours.
- Hand luggage: You should also check weight and size restrictions, regardless if it is backpack, handbag or briefcase. You should essentially include your agenda, telephone, contacts, hotel address, taxi phone numbers, passport and all necessary information to avoid setbacks. It is also advisable to carry cash in local currency if the trip is abroad, or dollars. Pay close attention to airport security; avoid cosmetics, liquids and metal objects.
- Transfers: Hiring transportation before arriving to your place of destination is always a good idea since it will help you save time, gain comfort and in certain destinations, it is even safer. There are several taxi, shuttle bus or limo services that in many cities may even be cheaper than regular taxis. Renting a car is also a good option in certain destinations.
- Travel insurance: Travel insurance is often included with your health coverage or credit cards; otherwise the travel agency can assist you with your medical coverage abroad. In some countries this is even an entry requirement.
- Time Management: Typically, business travelers have very tight agendas. Planning extra time is always a good idea, especially around your flight schedule in the event of traffic problems or meetings that go beyond the scheduled time. Also, keep in mind the time difference in the country of destination with respect to where you departed from to avoid any confusion. Also remember to check business days and hours in other countries. For example, Arab countries do not work on Fridays but they do on Sundays.
- Technology: Use apps and websites to organize your stay and learn more about your destination. Lonely Planet guides for sights of interest in each city; Trip Advisor for hotel, restaurant and sightseeing recommendations; Trip It to organize your travel agenda; Skyscanner or Flightradar 24 to search flights; Oanda or similar to exchange currency; Expensifyse to manage expenses; Google Translate for language needs; and a weather app such as AccuWeather to check the forecast.
- Electronic devices: Telephone, laptop, tablet, camera, music player, etc. Although modern devices around us are designed to make our lives easier, organizing a trip with digital devices implies certain complications. It is important not to exaggerate and carry only what need and do without some for a couple of days. If you are traveling abroad, you should take a universal power adapter that works with outlets in most countries. Smartphones are a good alternative for accessing the Internet. Remember to go to your settings and turn off long distance roaming in order to avoid the high costs and make use of available Wi-Fi instead.
- Entertainment: Business trips imply long waiting hours at airports and setbacks such as lost luggage, never-ending agendas and family conflicts. To reduce the impact of stressful situations that may be harmful to your health a good idea is to take breaks, exercise and eat healthy. You can resort to resources such as books, music or movies to make your waiting and flight time more enjoyable.