25 Business Travel Tips for Corporate travelers we provided here. Generally, most people view business travel as one of the worst parts of their job. Important things like your company’s travel policy, how often you travel, and the purpose and destination of your trips have a lot to do with how much you enjoy your life as a business traveler. But most of these are aspects that employees have little control over. What is in the hands of the business traveler, however, is the strategy. The right strategies to approach the many steps of a business trip can truly make all the difference to an emotionally and otherwise physically weary business traveler.
1. Decide where you stay
When traveling for work, it is better to stay at hotels exclusively. You should try to stay in Airbnbs when you are on vacation in countries that are easy to navigate: This is a neat way to explore the city and understand the culture. Airbnbs are also preferred when you are with friends because they tend to be more advantageous for group itineraries. Plus, it’s usually a better bargain for an Airbnb than trying to squeeze into a block of hotel rooms or one or two suites.
2. Make your packing strategy superb
You need to check your bag — that adds up to an hour of travel time that can be spent at the hotel or in a lounge. Also, you need a bag that can carry your laptop and essentials. You go-to is a Longchamp tote because it looks professional for a business meeting but also works to carry everything you need during your travels.
3. Arrange a travel kit
You don’t know what could happen between security and your destination, or how your body will react. I like to be prepared for everything. I have Advil for back or muscle pain or headaches, tissues for last-minute sneeze-attacks (or to hand out if there’s a snotty toddler next to me) and an eye mask and earplugs, in case I’m unable to quiet my mind and need to focus and get some sleep. (The airlines don’t always give out blackout sleeping masks, and if you’re stuck for eight hours next to someone who won’t turn their laptop off, you’ll have a much harder time falling asleep.)
4. Don’t forget these essentials
Always bring cleansing pads to clean your face on the flight and when you travel to places with very different weather (i.e. humid climates). Pack lavender oil and turmeric powder. Turmeric may be your go-to for health and wellness, from stress and nausea to digestive issues. Lavender helps you to sleep during long flights and the aroma is comforting and soothing. Bring vitamins, since your diet will be all over the place (vitamin C tablets are great to keep the energy up). Probiotics help the immune system and lower the risks of getting sick (if you can, take them one week prior). Also, bring hydrating face serum and cooling products (like those with aloe vera or jade roller) to wake to feel fresh-faced.
5. Pack the right clothing
I always bring a sweater for layering, since airplanes are cold and you don’t know what the weather will be like in your host country. It’s key to invest in one nice blazer for a trip: A blazer can make any outfit formal or go business casual with jeans. Black flats work for work and walking around, and they’re light to pack. You should bring extra undergarments: It is hard to know when you can do laundry or if your company policy allows you to.
6. Keep a neutral palette
Pack light colors and neutrals, which can be mixed and matched. But avoid white, which can stain easily.
7. Bring small bills
I bring foreign currency in smaller bills for service tips as soon as I land.
8. Carry gifts for a business trip abroad
Savory snacks, chocolates, and anything food-related is ideal. It shows that you are thankful, but did not get something over-the-top that could offend or embarrass. (Of course, make sure to check your company policy for business travel guidelines, if any.)
9. Keep these things at home
Forget the extra pairs of heels — shoes are heavy. Handbags are also heavy. Bring one that can be functional, chic and can work for day and night (so, usually black). Don’t bring your entire beauty routine. And leave behind the expensive jewelry: It isn’t worth the risk of getting stolen and can make you a target for pickpockets and thieves.
10. Keep with travel-size skincare products
Sephora sells travel-size products near the counter (the place you usually like to avoid!). You’ll find everything from cleansers to dry shampoo. It may help you pack good products (versus cheap generic things), without adding weight and taking up space. Sample-size perfumes are also a necessity: I always keep one in the pocket of every coat I own.
11. Ready for business
Want to be business meeting-ready right off the tarmac? Drink a lot of water and hydrate so that your skin doesn’t show how tired you are. If you need to go to a meeting right after you land, pack an outfit and carry it in a suit bag so that it doesn’t need to be ironed and you’ll be able to change right away. (Even if you work in tech and things are casual, having fresh clothes in a suit bag helps you feel more prepared.) Dry shampoo will make your hair look like it’s been cleaned and not leaning against a seat.
It will be better to have a bag in which you keep your office essentials. Have a coffee or caffeinated drink at least two hours before the meeting to keep you energized. (Some people say to avoid caffeine to fight jet lag, but if you have a meeting, you do what you need to do.)
12. Maintain jet lag and dive right into the hustle
Adapt to the local mealtime to get over jet lag. Start eating at the local time before you get to the destination. This is especially helpful if you are traveling a long way for only a couple of days.
13. Stretch between flights
You don’t always realize just how tired your muscles are between flights or stretches of your trip until you are forced to sit down for four to 12 hours at one time with little walking room.
14. Use jet lag to your advantage
By using jet lag, working out can be a lifesaver, from boosting energy to regulating your metabolism. A study of hamsters showed that jet lag lasted only 1.6 days in the exercised hamsters vs. 5.4 days! I always go to the gym at my hotel on a business trip when I’m not able to rest. Working out can make you tired enough so that you fall asleep. I always exercise for at least 10 minutes in the morning at my hotel gym.
15. Control the stress of traveling to balance work
Pick flights that let you rest the most when you land at your destination. This sounds counterintuitive, but don’t sleep when you get to your destination if there is a big-time difference: You want to adjust if you are there for more than three days. Do relaxing activities like going to a local spa (massages differ from country to country, and Asia always has more value for the price), doing a workout or taking a stroll through the city. You’ll be so exhausted you’ll be right on their schedule by the next morning.
16. Keep your hotel room environment feel like home
If you’re traveling for work, bring office supplies and lay them out at the hotel desk. The last thing you want is not being able to find supplies to work; it’s a business trip after all. And you may sometimes bring your own tea bags and snacks — something that you know will be guaranteed to bring happiness if you’re not feeling particularly adventurous with food.
17. Maintain your daily routines
Bring one item that you use every morning. Hair straightener? A particular lotion? It will help you feel at ease and set the tone for getting ready in a new bathroom. You must bring dry shampoo — who knows when you can shower between work, food and passing out?
18. Keep yourself evergreen
Opt to not have sheets changed daily. You don’t change your sheets at home every day, so why do you need to at the hotel?
19. Bring perfect things from work to help you adjust
Maybe you like a certain type of pens — these are NOT a waste of space. Travel can be a hectic whirlwind and those little details will make you feel like you have control over something.
20. Keep in touch with family
Taking time to call a parent, relative or friend can bring down the blood pressure, especially if something stressful like missing a flight or getting a wallet stolen happens while traveling.
21. Keep with an external battery and a charger
Between taking pictures, navigating and making notes for things to check out later, you use your phone way more while traveling than you normally do. It’s great to have your own chargers and batteries on hand to take care of it yourself.
22. Plan realistic business goals
During the meetings time, it feels easy to make promises because you were sent all the way there — but that is a part of the business. You don’t have to commit to everything and it’s okay to be realistic. Make sure you know what your goals are for the week and remember to meet them versus overreaching.
23. Explore the sightseeing during a business trip
Take advantage of jet lag and wake up early: It’s the perfect time to visit temples in Tokyo, historical sites in India or have coffee and pastries in Paris. Opt for flights that return later: You can leave your bags at the hotel and explore in the afternoon.
24. Eat local cuisine
You should try to eat local cuisine because it is a way to learn about the place in a short period of time. You can always get the local cuisine for room service.
25. Make sure you have social media-worthy photos, even between meetings
Every office has a unique aspect that is specific to that region. Take walks in the city after work before heading back to your hotel room: You can capture the culture of your host city. You can take photos of food, especially local dishes. Note that work doesn’t send you just to eat, but if that position ever opens up, you’d love to be considered!