As we at MBO Partners embark on our busy fall travel season (are you joining us at CWS later this month in Las Vegas?) we thought we'd take this time to revisit the art of stress-free business travel.
Whether you travel frequently or irregularly, navigating busy airports, snagging ground transportation, and sleeping away from your own bed is certainly not for the faint of heart. However, there are ways to make business travel easier. By putting a good system in place with a focus on convenience and efficiency, you can minimize the strain of travel and focus on delivering the quality work you were hired to do.
Follow these eight simple rules - many of which will also save you time and money - and make business travel just a little less stressful.
The first rule of frequent business travel is to always take a carry-on bag. Not only do you void the risk of losing your bag on a tight connection, you'll also save money on bag fees. Additionally, it ensures that your luggage arrives when you arrive, and with hectic project schedules it's likely you don't have time to chase down lost luggage. Worried about not having enough clothes? The laundry and dry cleaning fees at most hotels are less than that of a carry on bag, so recycle one outfit or wear the same clothes on the plane to and from your destination. Keeping to just one or two pair of shoes can also cut down on valuable luggage space.
Avoid late night runs to the store for travel-sized toiletries by collecting your unused hotel bath items and stashing them for future travel. Not only does this save you money, by keeping these items in your carry-on bag at all times, you won't have to pack and re-pack them for each trip. Or, use a site like 3 Fl Oz or Minimuz.biz to secure compliant sizes of your favorite brands. Another time saving hack? Keep a plastic container of travel-sized toiletries, including items like an extra toothbrush and contact case, in your carry-on at all times. That way, all you need to do is add your clothes, grab your laptop and go.
Move through the security line quickly and easily by wearing shoes that can slip on and off, avoiding clothes that require a belt, and keeping jewelry, phones, coins and other items that may set off sensors in a suitcase side pocket until after you've cleared the security checkpoint. Registration for TSA Precheck, Global Entry or Clear can also save time, thanks to loosened screening requirements and shorter lines. Many credit cards will also refund the fee for registration as well - check with your card provider to see if you qualify.
There are certain fabrics that are less prone to getting wrinkled that make for great travel wear. By rolling clothes instead of folding them, and unpacking as soon as you get to your room, you can avoid the hassle of having to iron each item you brought. Hanging items in a steam shower will also help release wrinkles if you're pressed for time.
The sheer amount of people traffic using the same seats, handrails and restrooms in airports and on airplanes creates a breeding ground for illness-causing bacteria. Take precautions. Wash your hands as often as possible, use hand sanitizer and wipe down any surfaces like food trays or head rests you come into contact with on the plane. Small containers of Clorox wipes are a frequent traveler's best friend.
Frequent travel can wreak havoc on your body, so it's important to be prepared physically by maintaining a good diet and getting exercise in as much as possible. Drink plenty of water, if possible, always eat a healthy, balanced breakfast in case your flights don't provide substantial food and beverage options. We love items like Kind bars to stash in our bag as well - they're great when you're pressed for time on a short connection and don't want to stop for airport food. We also love 1Above, a new tablet that can be mixed with water to re-add elecrolytes and vitamins back into the body after a long day of travel. It works wonders for jet lag and dehydration. Once at your destination, also remember to take advantage of hotel fitness facilities, even if it's only for a short walk on the treadmill to boost stamina as well as to promote emotional wellness. Didn't pack workout wear? Ask your hotel - many brands, like Westin, will offer complimentary workout wear. You may also want to up your daily vitamin intake, supplementing with seasonal vaccines for things like the Flu and over-the-counter items like Emergen-C.
By joining a frequent flyer or hotel loyalty program, all those miles accumulated while traveling can be converted into rewards. Additionally, traveling with the same carrier or hotel brand helps you to get a better routine in place as you become familiar with their perks and procedures for loyal customers as well as any partner or affiliate programs that can serve to enhance your travel experience. If you can't stay loyal to a single hotel brand or airline, stay loyal to a credit card that will accrue miles or points for "rewarding" use in future travel or purchases.
Jet lag may be one of the most challenging aspects of frequent travel, and coupled with demanding project schedules rest may seem to never come. However, it's important that you take moments to allow your body to relax, settle and recharge. Be sure to set your watch to the correct time zone and if you arrive during the day try your best to avoid sleeping until it's nighttime.
Have another favorite travel tip? Drop us a line and we'll share some of our responses on social media.
News and notes for independent workers and their clients. This is the September 26, 2016 edition.
As an independent consultant it's important to know what exactly soft skills are, why they matter, and how you can improve yours.