Travel Tips from 13 Business Travel Experts
As a speaker and event producer, travel is a big part of my business and I often get asked what I do to make traveling easier and less stressful when I am on the road. I decided to get a little help from my friends to answer the question and perhaps pick up a few tips for myself by reaching out to several of the experts in my Facebook group that I knew traveled often as well. Then I narrowed it down to the top 3 questions and included links to their websites and Twitter so you can learn more about the experts and follow them online.
Here are the 3 questions and I have included my answers below as well:
- What is the best tip you can share to make business travel as seamless as possible?
- What is a tool, app or resource you can share to make travel easier or less stressful?
- What is the one thing you never leave home without when traveling besides your phone or laptop?
Best tip: I have a checklist for everything I need and am bringing on each trip and have it broken down into categories – Electronics (Kindle, iPad, Laptop etc.), Clothes, Shoes, Jewelry. Then, before I pack, I take a picture of the list so when I am packing to come home I never leave anything behind.
Tool or App: Uber is my favorite app when traveling and I love Buffer for scheduling my social media when traveling so I can post my blogs, quotes of the day and other valuable content during peak hours allowing me to use my free time when I can get on social media to engage, have conversation and share other experts content with my audience.
Item I never leave home without: I never leave home without an extra charger for my phone, one in my bag and one in my purse so I have one with me at all times, ear plugs, head phones and my journal for the plane and downtime. I find when listening to music and writing in my journal I get my best business ideas and love to work on blog content.
Best tip: Fly out in the morning the day before your first speech or meeting. This gives you lots of wiggle room for flight delays, canceled flights, and other unavoidable snafus. And, if all goes well with my flights, I will have a few hours to play tourist.
Tool or App: Tripit. It pulls from your email confirmations, and puts all of your travel info into individual trips. I also love Uber, Around Me, Google Translate, and CubeFree.
Item I never leave home without: Sanitizing wipes. Also, ear plugs in case of noisy hotels.
Best tip: I am a great packer. I can fit a week’s worth of clothing in a carry-on bag. My secret is to wear one color so that I can wear the same shoes/boots instead of packing 3-4 pairs. I also pack exactly the amount of outfits I need which eliminates both extra clothes and figuring out what I’m wearing. It’s worked for decades.
Tool or App: I don’t really have any tools or apps that I rely on other than my AA.com app to let me know when/if there is a delay. But for me, to make my traveling easier or less stressful, I have my routine. I check in to the hotel, if I have no plans that night, I get into my favorite pjs, order room service and relax. If I do have plans, I don’t stay out late and I have no more than 1 glass of wine.
Item I never leave home without: I always take my own blow dryer…silly as it sounds, I like it and know how my hair will turn out. I always have pictures of my family with me…it makes my time away better. Business wise, I always make sure I have plenty of business cards. If I am not selling my books, I will still always have one with me to gift to someone. For speaking engagements, I ALWAYS have: my clicker, extra batteries and an HDMI cable and converter since not all laptops have the correct port…that one cable solves it all.
Best tip: Roll your clothes in plastic. It saves room and nothing wrinkles. I also keep a bag packed and ready to go all the time with everything but clothes. That way I can pack in five minutes for a last minute trip.
Tool or App: Tripit. My delta app. Wunderlist is great for my travel list… audible for books…
Item I never leave home without: I never ever leave home without a stretch band for working out anywhere and anytime. I do it in airports, hotel rooms, everywhere.
Best tip: Business travel can be exhausting. The one thing I do to eliminate the stress and make it hassle free is eliminate my need to wait. That means pre-clearance check in at the airport and traveling business class as much as I can. It may sound silly but the stress you feel when you wait in busy lines and then fight for baggage can be just enough to start or end your business trip on a negative note.
Tool or App: I like Trip Advisor when I travel. It lets me know if where I am staying is good and makes it easy for me to find places to eat that have been reviewed by other travelers.
Item I never leave home without: One other thing I do, in fact I never leave home without doing this as quirky as it sounds, is I plan my wardrobe in advance. I write out exactly what I will wear each day and then I snap a photo on my phone so I have it with me. That makes getting ready each day when I am away easy and there is one less decision to make! To me, the less decisions and stress you have when traveling for business the better. It allows you to show up with positive energy and do a great job.
Best tip: Use a travel organizer like TripCase by Sabre Inc. to house all of your travel information and give you alerts of changes as they happen.
Tool or App: I love my app called Brain Wave ™. I put on my headphones and relax and shift into the mindset that I want to have, regardless of what is going on around me.
Item I never leave home without: I never leave home without a surge protector power strip that also has USB charging ports. Outlets are at a premium at airports and often even in hotel rooms. When you have a good power strip with you and are willing to share, you make friends pretty fast. I also chose a color that does not blend in, so that I have a visual reminder to grab it as I leave. I mark it as mine by taking a silver Sharpie marker and writing my company name and phone number on it.
Best tip: I have a “cheat sheet” with all my information including flights, times, hotels, addresses, phone numbers, and any other information I might need all on one sheet. I put it in my planner so I have it during my trip, but so I can also look back on receipts and locations on the date they happened.
Tool or App: UBER. I used to worry about shuttles, and taxis, but not anymore!
Item I never leave home without: A toothbrush and my phone/laptop chargers.
Best tip: JOIN a frequent flyer program and get lounge access. Life at the airport is so much easier when you have the lounge to relax in.
Tool or App: I use the airline apps to check in, check gates, check my luggage, and get my digital boarding pass. Unfortunately, at most airlines, you still have to drop luggage off and stand in the line but it is faster. I take full advantage of my frequent flyer status.
Item I never leave home without: A good headset and my audio books. I also always carry my own bottle of water, moisturizer, a toothbrush and a wrap since it is always cold on the flights. This allows me to keep my skin hydrated and body hydrated and warm.
Best tip: Get TSA pre-check. Seriously, if you’re traveling, this is mana from heaven. It saves time at the airport and makes the TSA experience more enjoyable (if that’s possible).
Tool or App: Uber makes transportation while in a city much easier and less stressful. I hate renting cars and driving in large cities that I’m not familiar with (it stresses me out). Uber takes the hassle out of it.
Item I never leave home without: Ear plugs, my eye mask, and my calming essential oil. I struggle to sleep when I’m on the road but I’m much more successful if I have my ear plugs and eye mask with me along with an essential oil to relax me.
Best tip: Making travel as seamless as possible is easy – if you pick a favorite airline and hotel chain and stick to it as much as possible. Loyalty helps you get preferential treatment in case something does go wrong. And, in case you need to make a last minute change, loyalty means they will make changes for you – often at no fee. Make sure you have all your travel apps loaded on your smartphone so you don’t need to print anything out.
Tool or App: The tool app or resource I love is TripIt Pro. Best travel app ever. I get text message updates for delays and gate changes BEFORE they are announced. Couple that with the airline app that you have status on and I almost never have a situation I can’t get to where I need to be and in a decent hotel. This means that stress is gone from my travel. It’s like having a travel agent in my pocket.
Item I never leave home without: I never leave home without my electronics bag. It has 2 cords, one for my iPhone, one for my external batteries, 2 external batteries (fully charged), an R2D2 dual USB plug in (so I can charge my phone and the battery at the same time), 2 sets of headphones, and a USB drive just in case. And my sleeping mask. Many hotels have way too much light in them. And planes are hard to sleep in. It’s easy to sleep at any time if I put my sleep mask on.
Best tip: I suggest that you have a few essentials already packed at all times for instance: umbrella, lip gloss, makeup wipes, night cream, sunscreen, toothpaste. That way you don’t have to think about the essentials.
Tool or App: I need music in my life at all times it helps keep me calm while traveling so Pandora is my BFF.
Item I never leave home without: One Thing I Never Leave Home Without: I have a master notebook that gives me the freedom to write down thoughts, ideas and more.
Best tip: What makes business travel as seamless as possible for me is having time for me when I travel. I find that having time to unwind, mentally and physically, at some point each day keeps things running smoothly for me. If the days are back-to-back early morning to late night events, where I fall into bed exhausted just to do it all over again the next day, that’s when the stress pours in and the trip stops being fun.
Tool or App: My book, “Business Travel Success…How to Reduce Stress, Be More Productive and Travel with Confidence!” These travel tips are mostly from things I’ve had to learn the hard way, so hopefully these can help fellow travelers travel easier.
Item I never leave home without: The one thing I never leave home without: Actually, I have two things. One is my robe. This easy-to-pack light-weight robe helps me feel like I’m at home. I also bring a couple of Starbucks gift cards ($10 on each). I look for opportunities to gift these to people I meet along the way. Whether it be a gate agent who just had to suffer the wrath of a plane-load of passengers on a cancelled flight, or someone who went above and beyond for me. I love looking for these opportunities to give. This keeps me in a positive mindset, especially when the challenges of travel are tough.
Best tip: When traveling for business you MUST be at the top of your game. Being organized and prepared can make or break you in your endeavor. It is imperative that you go through each day and decide what you will be doing, wearing and using in advance. I often leave my clothing on hangers and put jewelry and undergarments or scarves on the hanger as well. Keeping things together makes decision making non-existent when I am in a hurry. One of the most crucial things to remember is that everything must have a ‘home’. Decide where you will keep all chargers, all work files or folders, vitamins or medications,etc. Keep items divided in your suitcases such as workout clothing, sleepwear, casual clothing and business.
Tool or App: TripIt because it stores and automatically downloads all of my reservations from other websites or apps. It also reminds me to check in for flights.
Item I never leave home without: I would never leave home without my ibuprofen, my instant Starbucks and my almonds. A headache or foggy thinking is never good under any circumstances.
Best tip: Plan in advance! Sometimes meeting planners (and clients) have last minute needs. I’ve always got my passport and a “go bag” with 2-3 days’ clothes ready to leave if I get a last minute call.
Tool or App: I keep sample packing lists for speaking, personal, and business travel on Wunderlist. I also use this app to create “to-do” lists for my clients as we move forward on projects together. Get the PRO version if you collaborate with several team members or clients.
Item I never leave home without: My wallet and ID, for sure! If I’m on speaking trip, I usually take a carry-on with my stage clothes plus some oil absorbing sheets.
These tips are from the travel experts I know, respect and cross paths with often. Do you have a travel tip you would like to share? I would love to learn your tips too!