Business travel can seem glamorous, but when you are at the airport week in and week out, the road definitely loses some of its luster. Experts say creating a repeatable travel routine and making efficient use of your time can significantly reduce your travel stress.
Most of our consultants travel for work and many of them swear by the packing and travel tips we've collected below. With some advance planning and a few changes in your travel routine, your next work trip could be like floating on cloud nine!
Packing is one of the most stressful parts as you prepare for an upcoming trip. Packing can be a breeze with some preparation and smart strategies:
- Think and Plan Ahead: How many days will you be gone? Are there events you’ll need to dress up for? Do you have an important business meeting? Take these things into account while you’re packing. We're also big fans of lists. From medicines to makeup, maintain a checklist of items that you will need every trip so you don’t leave anything behind. (Here's a smart list to copy as a starting point.)
- Keep It Simple: Cosmetics, shoes, and other bulky items can quickly consume all of the space in your travel bag, so pare down to the basics. Pack your lighter clothes and wear your bulkiest clothes (and your coat) on the plane. Travel guru Gillian Morris recommends adopting a "travel uniform" of wardrobe essentials that can be mixed and matched for any work situation.
- Save On Space: Rolling your clothes will not only help with space but also helps prevent wrinkles. Packing cubes are also space savers for traveling. You can compartmentalize your clothes into a cube and place it in your luggage. You’ll be thrilled at how much more clothing you can take with you when you use packing cubes.
- Keep a Stock of Toiletries: When you're purchasing toiletries, buy two of everything. Keep one set at home so you can easily replace an item when you run out.
- Stay Charged: As a traveling consultant, you’ll most likely be renting a car or waiting at airports. Purchase a car charger and a portable charger for the moments when your phone is depleted of battery life and you don’t have access to a wall outlet.
When you travel for work, you will want to figure out shortcuts to help speed along the process for checking in or to make the travel experience better. Here are a few ways to make travel easier:
- Rewards Program: Many hotels, airlines, and car rental companies offer rewards programs. With these programs, you can not only earn points for purchases, but you can also skip the line and get help before those who are not members. Some reward programs also give you access to airport lounges so you can relax and get work done before your flight.
- TSA Precheck & Global Entry: Skip the line at the airport with TSA Precheck. For those who travel domestically, the price for TSA precheck is $85 and is valid for 5 years. For those who travel internationally, the price is $100 and valid for 5 years. The best part — with TSA Precheck, you don’t have to take off your shoes or any items out of your carry-on luggage, like your laptop.
- Carry-ons: With constant travel, carry-ons are the ideal luggage. Consider only bringing carry-on luggage while traveling for work to avoid airline fees and lost baggage. And if it's been a few years since you bought a carry-on, it's definitely time to upgrade. The latest bags feature lightweight materials, wheels, retractable handles and smart storage compartments that put your old duffel bag to shame.
- Maintain Your Routine: This is one of the most important tips. While you’re traveling, be sure to maintain your routine. If you go to the gym, visit the hotel gym or exercise outdoors. If you normally take time out of the day to call friends or family, block off time in your schedule to maintain those personal relationships. Keeping your life as normal as possible when you’re on the road will help you stay happy and healthy.
What are some of your packing and travel tips as a traveling consultant? Let us know in the comments.