Even if you have a wanderlust personality traveling for work can be draining. Flying in a suit, toting a laptop and cramming for an upcoming meeting isn’t near as fun as road trips with friends or the redeye to Las Vegas. However, for a lot of us work travel is part of the gig. While I can’t guarantee you a hotel room away from the elevator or on time flights, I can offer a few tips to make your next business travel experience more bearable.
• Pick a brand and stay loyal. If your employer allows you to collect reward points pick an airline and hotel chain, sign up for their reward programs and stick with each whenever possible. Something as simple as the free bottle of water and snack I get upon check-in at a Hilton hotel can help take the edge off. Also, with the Hilton app I can choose my room (away from the elevator) and check in from my phone allowing me to bypass the front desk. Your loyalty will pay off as you earn more perks.
• Pack at least one “comfort” item. Whether it’s your slippers, favorite shampoo or the oversized sweatshirt from college, having a familiar item with you on business travel can make the hotel room more comfortable and home feel not so far away.
• Your luggage will get lost. Be prepared. Speaking of packing tips, it’s inevitable that at some point you will arrive without your luggage. There are few things less miserable than Ubering to the nearest Wal-Mart at 11 p.m. to buy clothes for the next day (I know…I’ve done it). Pack your carry-on with enough essentials to get through a worse case scenario.
• Enroll in TSA Precheck. If you fly more than a couple times a year for business travel, in my opinion, TSA Pre-check is worth signing up for. The effort to enroll is minimal and the fee is money well-spent to not have to unload your laptop and take off your shoes when going through airport security.
• Learn escalator etiquette. This is more for the benefit of your fellow travelers. It’s also admittingly one of my pet peeves. Stand on the right, walk on the left. The world stays balanced when this rule is followed.
• Explore local fare. Look up reviews for the best local restaurants rather than gravitating toward chains. If you have time, Google the “top ten things to do” in your city of the week and play tourist.
• Remember that being away isn’t just hard on you. While you may feel burnt-out after a few days on the road, if you have a significant other at home, they’ve likely been pulling double duty with you gone! Keep this in mind before you come home and don’t budge from the couch!
For more business travel tips check out this previous Career Guide article. Happy traveling!