17 business travel tips you should 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 travel for work every week, or just take the occasional business trip, these tips will help you enhance your business travel experience.
More of my favorite travel tips and tricks:
The best business travel tips summarized
Under time? Here’s a brief rundown of business travel tips below!
- Travel only with hand luggage. Saves you time and hassle at the airport.
- Invest in good luggage. You don’t need the most expensive brand out there, but get something that is good quality and will last a long time.
- Pack portable chargers and spares. You don’t want your phone or laptop to die on the go.
- Anti-wrinkle spray pack. A game changer to keep your work clothes looking perfect without the need to break out the ironing board.
- Stick to a single loyalty program. You will accumulate points and airline and hotel status faster.
- Check if you can join any status challenges. Corporate status challenges allow you to earn airline and hotel status much faster than normal.
- Download airline/hotel apps. Stay organized and save time with apps!
- Get the most out of ridesharing apps. You can earn rewards from Uber/Lyft and also combine them with other ride loyalty programs.
- Keep an extra set of travel essentials. One to keep at home, one to always have on the go.
- Get Global Entry/TSA Precheck. The best $100 you will ever spend.
- Get access to the airport lounge. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in airports, you might enjoy it!
- Remember to pack casual clothes. Pack clothes that you can wear to work out, to a casual dinner, or to explore the city after work.
- Pack earplugs. The key to sleep well in the hotel.
- Write down your preferences in your travel profiles. Things like whether you prefer an aisle or window seat or a high or low floor in the hotel.
- Simplify expenses. Take a photo of all your receipts using an app like Expensify, and set aside a designated time to submit your expense reports.
- Prepare the night before. Avoid morning stress by creating a pre-trip routine.
1. Travel only with hand luggage.
If you’re in consulting like me, you probably only travel Monday morning through Thursday night, in which case you don’t really need anything larger than a carry-on.
Packing in a carry-on saves a lot of time when you arrive at your destination because you don’t have to wait for your checked bag to come out (or worry about it getting lost).
2. Invest in good luggage.
You don’t need to buy the most expensive or fashionable 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 (such as This.) Some business travelers also like to have a carry-on bag that has a laptop compartment (such as This.)
Here are more of the top rated suitcases for business travelers.
3. Pack portable chargers and spares.
A portable cell phone charger (this is the one i use) is one of my top travel essentials, and it also comes in handy when I travel for work.
I also carry a spare charger for my phone and laptop that I keep in my work luggage at all times.
4. Anti-wrinkle spray pack.
wrinkle release spray It’s a lifesaver for business travelers!
It’s perfect for those mornings when 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 ironing it.
5. Stick to a single loyalty program.
The best way to earn airline miles and hotel points is to choose a loyalty program and stick with it.
Once you achieve status with an airline or hotel, you gain access to many benefits such as priority boarding/check-in, complimentary upgrades, bonus miles and points, and more.
This also applies to other travel loyalty programs such as car rental companies and train lines.
6. Check if you can join any status challenges.
Many companies have “status challenges” with airlines and hotels. This is especially common in the consulting industry.
When you join a status challenge, you’ll be able to earn expedited status with an airline or hotel by completing a certain number of trips/stays in a specified period of time (usually three to six months).
This is how I was able to achieve Gold Medallion status with Delta, Platinum status with Marriott, and Gold status with Hilton in just a few months!
7. Download airline/hotel apps.
Downloading airline and hotel apps on your phone will save you a lot 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 mobile check-in and mobile key so you can go directly to your room when you arrive at the hotel.
8. Make the most of ride-sharing apps.
Unless you get a rental car, you’ll probably take a lot of Ubers/Lyfts when you travel for work. Both 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 at Lyft.
9. Keep an extra set of travel essentials.
Save time packing and make sure you don’t forget anything by having a designated business Travel bag to leave in the suitcase between trips.
This can contain items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, deodorant, earplugs, and any other items you may need for travel.
10. Get Global Entry/TSA Precheck.
Getting Global Entry (which includes TSA Precheck) has been a lifesaver. It has saved me a lot of time and hassle at the airport. My company covered the $100 fee, but it’s worth paying out of pocket if yours doesn’t. Some travel credit cards will also cover the fee for you.
With TSA Precheck, you can skip the general security line and go through an expedited line where you don’t have to remove your shoes or take electronic devices out of your bag. If you are traveling internationally, you may go through an expedited customs line when you return to the US.
At just $100 and lasting for five years, Global Entry is well worth it for business travelers.
11. Get access to the airport lounge.
This is something I don’t have but wish I did!
If you’ll be traveling frequently for work, it may be worth paying for airport lounge access (or see if your company will pay for it!)
This is something other than some travel credit cards cover. You can also gain airport lounge access when you reach a certain level of status with the 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 had no sportswear or tennis shoes to wear. So be sure to pack a casual outfit or two to wear if you’re going exploring or having a casual dinner or hitting the gym in the evenings after work.
13. Pack earplugs.
I sleep with earplugs in every night, but even if you don’t sleep in them at home, they can be extremely helpful when you’re traveling.
Hotel rooms can get very noisy at night. Between the air conditioning/heating turning on and off, the sounds of other guests, and other disturbing noises, you may find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. a good pair of Ear plugs helps a ton.
14. Write down your preferences in your travel profiles.
If you download airline/hotel apps (see Tip #7 above), most 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 planes, or a high or low floor in 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 on business, you’re probably responsible for tracking and reporting 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 taking a quick photo of them.
Plus, set a recurring reminder on your phone for when you need to fill out your expense reports so you’re never behind on them.
16. Get ready the night before.
Avoid adding to the stress of travel days early in the morning to have 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 leave for the week, so that when Monday morning rolls around, you’re not stressed trying to get something done.
17. Make time to have fun.
One of the best things you can do when traveling for work is make time for fun!
Many people take business travel for granted, but I see it as a mini-vacation and a way to explore a new destination (for free!)
Yes, your main focus is work and not play, but there are lots of fun things you can do in the evenings after work (or in the mornings before!) Visit great restaurants instead of just ordering room service at your hotel, see a local show or take a night walking tour.
All of these things are easy to incorporate and will make your business trips more fun.
I hope you found these business travel tips useful!