For many years I travelled regularly as part of my normal day to day work. I thought it would be helpful to include some great business travel tips that I picked up over the years.
My reason for those business trips varied quite a bit. They could be as simple as a meeting, for training, and for management conferences. These could last for different lengths of time from a few hours by car, to overnights and sometimes for a few weeks.
The modes of transport could also be different. Typically these could include the car, trains and flights to different destinations in the United Kingdom. My business trips became so routine that they simply formed a part of my daily routine.
After a while you quickly realise that there’s no place like home. Unfortunately, there are those of us who must travel in their jobs. Not only that but we are also expected to perform at our highest level regardless of jetlag, lost luggage, lost sleep and arguments with the taxi driver.
Below I have listed my top tips to make travelling a great deal easier.
Top 10 Tips to Make Business Travelling Easier
Business Travel Tip 1 - Plan Ahead
We all know we should do this. However when you get busy at work this is often pushed aside. Always try and get a good night's sleep before any type of travelling. Check and make sure that if you have to do some pre-work, such as a presentation, that it is done before you start travelling. There is nothing worse that stressing before a meeting. Many people believe that they can quickly do this before a meeting. It is seldom the case as more likely than not you will not have access to the Internet. It is also very easy to get distracted when travelling and that makes it difficult to concentrate and focus.
Business Travel Tip 2 - Money & Credit Cards
Always make sure that you have some cash with you. It is also worth remembering if you need sterling or Euros. The Republic of Ireland for example also uses the Euro, whereas Northern Ireland uses sterling.
If you have a company credit card make sure it is up to date and valid. It is also worthwhile checking with the hotel that they take your type of company card. If using your personal credit card and then claiming back, then the same applies, check that it is generally acceptable.
Business Travel Tip 3 - Carrying Items
The luggage that you bring will of course depend on the type of trip that you are taking. When using the car it is pretty easy to take just about anything you need. The train is similar although you may want to keep this as light as possible for convenience.
Flights are different and there are size restrictions with all airlines for hand luggage. Most business people will avoid placing luggage in the hold as it causes a considerable wait to recover at the end of a flight.
I would recommend carrying a large travel style wallet that can hold tickets, credit cards, passport and receipts all in one place. (Don't forget to get a receipt for all spend) Always have a pen and have a note book handy for making notes. As mentioned always carry some cash - including coins in case your mobile phone won’t work.
Business Travel Tip 4 - Speed Up Security Checks
Security checks at airports are getting slower than they used to be. We all know there are very good reasons for this. Nonetheless the last thing you want is to join a long queue of holiday makers that stretches back for quite a bit.
In most airports there is an option for "speedy security." For a few pounds you can get priority security where you go through on a special lane. It really does speed things up. To make this even faster place coins, car keys or anything metal into your jacket and then just place the jacket in the security bin.
That will stop any beeping and get you through security quickly.
Business Travel Tip 5 - Transfers
If you have to arrive at a strange airport then always find out what the options are for your onward travel. Typically these will be an airport bus, taxi, train or hiring a car. Some of the smaller UK airports do not have all of these options.
Always be aware of taxis especially that are not properly registered. I have come across these many times scouring around UK airports trying to pick up fares. Normally when booking the hotel I ask them what is the best way to get to their hotel.
Business Travel Tip 6 - Your Precious Laptop or Tablet
This is one item that I never let out of my sight. Even if I don't plan on using it when travelling, I just like to know that it is at my side. This is one piece of equipment that I would not want anyone else handling. It is also a very good idea to make sure that it is password protected.
I usually have this stored as part of my hand luggage. I use luggage that has a special compartment for the laptop that can be zipped and licked. It is also padded to offer it good strong protection.
Business Travel Tip 7 - Know the Time Zones
This business travel tip only applies if you are travelling outside the UK. Just be aware that there are various time zones in Europe and large time differences in the rest of the world. I normally set my watch when I get on the aircraft and adjust it to the destination time.
Business Travel Tip 8 - Longer Trips
For most business people the normal travel to meetings is very well rehearsed. These are usually handled in a single morning, afternoon or a day. UK day travel and even a single overnight is now quite common. Longer stays though do need a little more thought.
Most business men and women like to travel light. For short trips this can be done with a little thought and planning. For longer trips though travelling light usually means taking as few clothes as possible. On way to get around this is to use the laundry service at the hotel. If the hotel doesn't offer that service, there are usually launderettes close to the hotel.
Business Travel Tip 9 - Relaxing and Social Behaviour
Although by definition a business trip is to get business done, it is also important to relax. Exercise is also important and if there is some way of doing this then you should. Avoid too much alcohol when travelling as although it may sound like a good idea at the time, it has many pitfalls.
Over the years I have seen these situations have long time repercussions. Going on a bender the night before and then driving at 8 o'clock the next morning is a very foolish thing to do. It is also a situation where disagreements can take place. Do some exercise, have a nice meal and a glass of wine, shower and get a good night's sleep.
Business Travel Tip 10 - Write it Down
You might think you will remember how many miles you have travelled. You might remember car parking fees at the time. When you come to do your business claim it is all too easy to forget. I normally put all receipts into my large travel bag and make a quick note in my note book. That has saved me a fortune in unclaimed expenses.
Try to do your claim as soon as you get back as it is so easy to forget.
Summary of My Business Travel Tips
No matter how much you have travelled it is easy to forget to make sure you have prepared. Personally I like to check on a Sunday evening what the week ahead holds. If any of those days involve travelling, then it is worth checking out that everything is in order.
The 10 business travelling tips that I have shown above will hopefully make your business trip a great deal easier and hassle free.