Conventional wisdom looks at the classic business traveler with pity, as a personification of stress and sleep-deprivation, perpetually unadjusted to the revolving door of ever-changing time zones, language barriers, and dubious airplane food items.
Business travel has its indisputable faults, no argument there, but it can just as easily be a smooth, calm, and even enjoyable experience for the worldly corporate warrior.
The shrewdest of business travelers make every meeting with maximum composure and minimal hassle. They never appear rushed, just cool and collected. They even know how to spare some much-needed leisure time while visiting a new city or country (remember B-leisure?), all by following a simple set of suggestions.
When Booking a Hotel: Proximity Matters Most
When traveling to a new city, factors like public transportation, walkability, and rush hour traffic may be outside your immediate realm of knowledge. Blindly trying to include these factors into your planning equation might prove to throw everything out of whack. As such, it might be best to book your accommodation as close to your client’s office or convention center as possible.
Even if considering a cheaper hotel or one with superior amenities farther from the intended destination, understand the advantages in terms of curbing travel costs and travel time.
Some amateur booking mistakes, for example, can create significant obstacles for business travelers.
When someone else at your company is booking your room, make sure all travel and accommodation information is provided, ranging from personal preferences and priorities to hotel and business meeting locations. Additionally, if booking is carried out with a card that is not in your name, verify whether you need an authorization form with the hotel ahead of time, and ensure everyone’s name is on the room if traveling in a group.
Good Time Management Facilitates Everything
Say when browsing flights to your upcoming business destination, you adopt the same approach as your hotel accommodations: efficiency is the priority. You attempt to minimize travel time, and thus, travel costs, by booking a flight that arrives within a few hours of your scheduled meeting. This should seem like the right move. It isn’t! You’re leaving everything up to chance.
As a business traveler, you have no control over flight delays. If given a morning meeting, book a flight for the night before. Providing oneself with a sufficient time cushion minimizes the possibility of disaster, and more importantly, eliminates the stress of rushing to a meeting on time.Another way to minimize stressful flight hassles is avoiding connections entirely. If direct flights are available to your destination, book them immediately.
Lastly, managing time properly means accounting for traffic. Never underestimate traffic in a new city, and give yourself ample time to arrive to a scheduled client meeting. Nothing looks worse than showing up late. Avoid doing so at all costs.
Smart Packing is Smart Traveling
There is but one, simple tip when venturing abroad: never check a bag unless completely necessary.
One issue does appear to persist, however. How does one remain sharply-dressed when living out of a single carry-on bag?
Purchasing as many wrinkle-free clothes as possible is key. If you plan on wearing a suit to your client meeting, wear the jacket on the plane. This should save space in your bag and prevent the jacket from getting crumpled in transit. You should probably even wear your bulkiest, most space-intensive shoes on the plane as well.
Last Minute Bookings Can Go a Long Way, Both Ways
Last-minute business travel is the inescapable plight of the corporate traveler, and while it does indeed contain its downsides, it could potentially land you more luxurious stays at reasonable prices.
- Hotels often discount their vacant rooms at the last minute to minimize unsold inventory losses.
- Last minute bookings often equal better rooms in nicer hotels for a lower price than would be paid for a room of comparable quality.
- Flights will be far more expensive than if booked in advance.
Lesson learned: book travel flights as early as possible, but consider booking rooms closer to your travel dates if your company allows it.
Mixing Business and Pleasure
Painting the town with business clients can be one of the most rewarding aspects of business travel, but it can just as easily expose you if you haven’t taken the time to research your destination. Taking a client out to dinner can prove essential to cementing an effective working relationship or landing a deal. As such, reading up on your city of business remains a crucial task.
The first step is to understand your options. OpenTable, for example, is a useful tool when it comes to researching restaurants in a new city. Browsing restaurant critiques and reviewing menu affordability remain critical in making a successful reservation.
Nothing could prove more embarrassing than taking a client out to dinner and finding yourself unable to get a table. Take some advice from the locals as well. Ask them about their favorite spots. Talk to servers, bartenders, and even hotel staff about trendy spots locals tend to frequent. Taking a client to a local favorite in lieu of a fancy alternative could earn you impressive style points.
Working these tips into your next business trip should alleviate some stress and help minimize issues along the way. Speak to one of our specialized business travel agents and learn more on how to make your next business trip more effective and less stressful.