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17 Business Travel Tips You Need to Know
After several months of traveling every week for work, I’ve picked up some very helpful business travel tips that make traveling for work easy and enjoyable.
Whether you’re a consultant like me and you travel for work every week, or you just take occasional business trips, these tips will help you improve your business travel experience.
More of my favorite travel tips and hacks:
Best Business Travel Tips Summarized
Low on time? Here’s a quick summary of the business travel tips below!
- Travel with a carry-on only. It saves you time and hassle at the airport.
- Invest in good luggage. You don’t need the most expensive brand name out there, but get something that’s good quality and will last a long time.
- Pack portable and spare chargers. You don’t want your phone or laptop to die while traveling.
- Pack wrinkle release spray. A game changer for making your work clothes look perfect without needing to break out the ironing board.
- Stick with a single loyalty program. You’ll rack up airline and hotel points and status faster.
- Check to see if you can join any status challenges. Corporate status challenges allow you to earn airline and hotel status much faster than you normally can.
- Download airline/hotel apps. Stay organized and save time with apps!
- Make the most of rideshare apps. You can earn rewards from Uber/Lyft and also combine them with other travel loyalty programs.
- Keep an extra set of travel essentials. One to have at home, one to always have on the road.
- Get Global Entry/TSA Precheck. The best $100 you will ever spend.
- Get airport lounge access. If you’ll be spending a lot of time in airports, might as well enjoy it!
- Remember to pack casual clothes. Pack clothes you can wear to work out wear for a casual dinner or exploring the city after work.
- Pack earplugs. The key to getting a good night’s sleep at the hotel.
- Note your preferences on your travel profiles. Things like whether you prefer an aisle or window seat or a high or low floor at the hotel.
- Simplify expenses. Snap a photo of all your receipts using an app like Expensify and set aside a designated time to file your expense reports.
- Prepare the night before. Avoid early morning stress by creating a pre-trip routine.
1. Travel with a carry-on only.
If you’re in consulting like me, you’re probably only traveling Monday morning through Thursday night in which case you really don’t need anything larger than a carry-on suitcase!
Packing in a carry-on saves so much time when you arrive at your destination because you don’t have to wait for your checked luggage to come out (or worry about it getting lost.)
2. Invest in good luggage.
You don’t need to get the most expensive or trendiest luggage, but investing in good quality luggage is a must for business travelers.
I travel with a carry-on suitcase and a large Longchamp tote bag. When choosing a carry-on suitcase, be sure to get one with spinner wheels (like this one.) Some business travelers also like to get a carry-on suitcase that has a laptop compartment (like this one.)
Here are more of the top-rated suitcases for business travelers.
3. Pack portable and spare chargers.
A portable cellphone charger (this is the one I use) is one of my top travel essentials, and it comes in handy when traveling for work too.
I also pack a spare charger for my phone and laptop which I keep in my work luggage at all times.
4. Pack wrinkle release spray.
Wrinkle release spray is a lifesaver for business travelers!
It’s perfect for those mornings where you want to smooth out a wrinkled dress shirt but don’t want to go through the whole process of setting up the ironing board in your hotel room and pressing it.
5. Stick with a single loyalty program.
The best way to rack up airline miles and hotel points is by choosing one loyalty program and sticking with it.
Once you reach status with an airline or hotel, you get access to so many perks like priority boarding/check-in, complimentary upgrades, bonus miles and points, and more.
This also applies to other travel loyalty programs, like rental car companies and train lines.
6. Check to see if you can join any status challenges.
A lot of companies have “status challenges” going on with airlines and hotels. This is especially common in the consulting industry.
When you join a status challenge, you will be able to earn expedited status with an airline or hotel by completing a certain number of trips/stays in a specific timeframe (usually three to six months.)
This is how I was able to earn Gold Medallion status with Delta, Platinum status with Marriott, and Gold status with Hilton within just a few months!
7. Download airline/hotel apps.
Downloading airline and hotel apps on your phone will save you a ton of time.
Most airline apps allow you to check in for your flight, make/change your seat selection, and get a mobile boarding pass so you don’t have to print one at home or at the airport.
Similarly, hotel apps can save you time and some even offer a mobile check-in and mobile key so you can go straight to your room when you get to the hotel!
8. Make the most of rideshare apps.
Unless you are getting a rental car, you’ll probably be taking a lot of Ubers/Lyfts when traveling for work. Both of these rideshare apps have special programs for business travelers that you can sign up for and earn rewards.
You can also link your other loyalty accounts – for example, Delta and Lyft have a partnership where you earn Delta SkyMiles for every dollar you spend on Lyft!
9. Keep an extra set of travel essentials.
Save time packing and ensure you don’t forget anything by having a designated business travel toiletries case to leave in your suitcase between trips.
This can contain items like a toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, deodorant, earplugs, and any other items you may need for traveling.
10. Get Global Entry/TSA Precheck.
Getting Global Entry (which includes TSA Precheck) has been a lifesaver. It has saved me so much time and hassle at the airport. My company covered the $100 fee, but it’s worth paying for out of pocket if yours doesn’t. Some travel credit cards will also cover the fee for you.
With TSA Precheck, you get to skip the general security line and go through an expedited line where you don’t have to remove your shoes or take electronics out of your suitcase. If you’re traveling internationally, you can go through an expedited customs line upon arriving back in the US.
At just $100 and lasting for five years, Global Entry is well worth it for business travelers.
11. Get airport lounge access.
This is one thing I don’t have but wish I did!
If you’ll be traveling frequently for work, it may be worth it to you to pay for airport lounge access (or see if your company will pay for it!)
This is another thing that some travel credit cards cover. You can also get airport lounge access when you reach a certain status level with airlines.
12. Remember to pack casual clothes.
One mistake I made on one of my first business trips was only packing work clothes.
I wanted to use the hotel gym one night, but I didn’t have any workout clothes or sneakers to wear. So be sure to pack one or two casual outfits to wear if you go explore or have a casual dinner or use the gym in the evenings after work.
13. Pack earplugs.
I sleep with earplugs every night, but even if you don’t sleep with them at home they can be extremely helpful when traveling.
Hotel rooms can get super noisy at night. Between the air conditioner/heater switching itself on and off, the sounds of other guests, and other annoying noises, you might find it hard to get a good night’s sleep. A good pair of earplugs helps a ton.
14. Note your preferences on your travel profiles.
If you download airline/hotels apps (see Tip #7 above) most of them will have a place for you to update your profile with your travel preferences. Things like whether you prefer a window or aisle seat on airplanes, or a high or low floor at the hotel.
You should also update your travel preferences with your company’s travel booking platform or travel agency, if your company uses one.
15. Simplify expenses.
If you’re traveling for business, you are probably responsible for tracking and submitting your expenses in a timely manner. This can be VERY important if you are putting expenses on your personal credit card and need to be reimbursed by your company.
Some companies require you to save your receipts. If that’s the case for you, download an app like Expensify or Receiptmate to keep track of all your receipts by snapping a quick photo of them.
Also, set a recurring reminder on your phone for when you need to complete your expense reports so you never get behind on them!
16. Prepare the night before.
Avoid adding to the stress of early morning travel days to get everything ready by packing for your trip the night before you leave.
Go ahead and take care of anything that needs to be done before you’ll be gone for the week so when Monday morning rolls around, you aren’t stressed out trying to get anything done.
17. Make time for fun.
One of the best things you can do when traveling for work is making time for fun!
So many people take business travel for granted, but I look as it as a mini-vacation and a way to explore a new destination (for free!)
Yes, your main focus is work and not leisure, but there are plenty of fun things you can do in the evenings after work (or in the mornings before!) Check out cool restaurants instead of just ordering room service at your hotel, go see a local show, or take a nighttime walking tour.
All of these things are easy to incorporate and will make your business travels more fun.
I hope you found these business travel tips helpful!
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