Let’s face it, business travel can sometimes be a painful experience - even for the most seasoned traveller. However often you travel, delays, cancellations, lost luggage and poor preparation are still frustrating and costly.
Although new research has found that 93% of travellers find work-related travel to be a positive overall, with 80% saying it boosted their productivity, it’s another matter altogether when the gremlins show up. They also say you can’t teach an old dog (or in this case a regular business traveller) new tricks, but we’re going to have a go nonetheless.
1. Make sure your traveller profile is up to date, especially if your company TMC has changed recently. TMCs are starting to use Artificial Intelligence to help tailor your trips to your personal needs, but that’s no use if your profile doesn’t reflect them.
2. Stay abreast of your company travel policy, including preferred carriers, hotels, car rental providers, class of travel permitted and your payment options. Things might have changed, especially if a new TMC is on-board.
3. Back up your passport, travel insurance policy, itinerary and scans of your credit cards on a flash drive and keep it in your purse or wallet. And make sure you charge all your devices the night before you travel.
4. Join every loyalty scheme offered by your company’s preferred suppliers. Then use them to earn extra leg room, free baggage check-in and lounge access. Don’t miss out on that first class upgrade if you’re entitled to it.
5. Check your seat allocation as soon as you’ve booked. If possible, choose the exit row to maximise the space available.
6. Try to make sure you fly at the right time, on the right day of the week and the right time of day. Doing so will reduce your chances of being caught up in traffic, long security lines and flight delays. Tuesdays through Thursdays are less busy at airports, and the airfares may be cheaper too!
7. Ever had trouble finding your car at the airport after a long flight? Avoid unnecessary stress by taking a photo of the parking lot section sign with your phone before you hop on the shuttle bus to the terminal!
8. Pick the right security line to stand in by choosing the one moving fastest, rather than the one that’s shortest. And avoid the lines with larger groups or lots of luggage.
9. If your travel policy doesn’t give you access to airport lounges, and you don’t want to pay top dollar for a day pass, apps like LoungeBuddy will tell you to tell me which lounges are available and at what price.
10. Make sure you know the PIN numbers for your bank and credit cards. More and more places require it for payment. Avoid airport or hotel ATMs. They tend to attract identity thieves who install card readers in an ATM by which they can access your card number and PIN. Although ATMs at banks are still vulnerable, they tend to be targeted by thieves less often.
11. Remember that seat numbering systems are common to all airlines, so save time finding and taking your seat. Higher numbers start in back, letters run from right to left. A is the window seat on your right.
12. You know how important it is to stay hydrated during a flight, right? But make sure you buy your water after you’ve been through security so you won’t be caught out on liquid restrictions.
13. Avoid being the last to be served in flight by ordering a special meal when you book your flight. Vegetarian and kosher food comes off the cart first, before the full cabin service starts. It tends to be fresher too.
14. Choose the right hotel room by requesting a room as far away from the elevator – and the ground floor – as possible. Always ask for a complementary upgrade to a bigger or better room (because it costs nothing to ask), and check the air conditioner works before you go to sleep!
15. Make the most of your destination by trying the local cuisine of the place and learning about the place you’re visiting. But stay in touch with colleagues and family using apps like WhatsApp or Wechat, and avoid roaming charges by getting an unlocked phone and change out your SIM card for a local one.