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How to make the most out of business travel

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Whether you’re meeting clients or heading to a training seminar, enjoy stress-free business trips with our tips on how to make the most of business travel.

How can I save time travelling?

Pre-book plane seats or select priority boarding to beat the queues. If you fly often, consider becoming an executive lounge member for perks from complimentary refreshments to wireless Internet. Find out the best route or arrange an airport pick-up to your hotel to save hassle on arrival. If driving, make sure the rental car has GPS to avoid getting lost.

Any tips on choosing a business hotel?

Choose a hotel conveniently located for business to make early-morning meetings on time. Check the hotel’s facilities before booking. Business-oriented hotels often have everything from 24-hour business centres to flexible meeting rooms, express check-in and complimentary wireless Internet. Amenities like a fitness centre and pool will help you unwind.

What should I pack in my hand luggage?

Play it safe by assuming that your hold baggage will be lost and packing all essentials in a lightweight carry-on bag. This includes a change of clothes or suit, plus your laptop, document wallet and any prescription medications. Carry a small amount of local currency, so you don’t waste time searching for an ATM on arrival.

How can I hit the ground running?

Nothing frustrates business travellers more than technology that doesn’t work. Double-check your mobile roaming options before travelling, and carry a cable and an external battery for your laptop. A multi-country adaptor plug may come in handy. Save presentations and files on a USB stick.

Can I look the part living from a suitcase?

A polished appearance is vital on business trips. Take dark, non-crease clothes that don’t show stains and wrinkles, and mix and match staples. Roll clothes rather than fold them and try not to overpack; remember that most hotels have a laundry or dry-cleaning service. It’s worth taking a stain remover and shoe-shine wipes. 

How can I manage my files and expenses?

You’ll need a document wallet to organise your passport, tickets, business cards and receipts. Though companies usually pay all business-related expenses, you may need to foot the bill upfront. Be meticulous about collecting and ordering receipts so you can be reimbursed quickly and easily when you return. 

Any ideas on how to beat fatigue?

Late-night networking and long lunches can take their toll on your sleep and health. Ask the concierge for restaurant recommendations rather than popping into the nearest takeaway or raiding the minibar for peanuts and wine. A sound night’s sleep will help you stay alert and productive. Keep the room cool and pack earplugs and an eye mask to block noise and light. 

What can I do to beat jet lag?

Drink plenty of water and rotate your feet to prevent deep vein thrombosis on long-haul flights. Once you arrive, adapt to the local time zone immediately to prevent jet lag. Arrive refreshed by taking a nap or watching a movie on the plane rather than attempting to plough through work. 

How can I make the right impression?

Corporate etiquette is all about being culture conscious and your approach can make or break the deal. Bone up on local business customs: from dress codes to body language and formal greetings. Be respectful of times, particularly in Central Europe and Scandinavia where punctuality is sacred. Even in semi-social situations, show tact by not cracking jokes, voicing political opinions and asking personal questions. 

Will it be all work and no play?

Factor in time for rest and relaxation when planning your schedule to be on top form in the boardroom. Allow an hour or two a day for whatever gives you pleasure, be it a workout in the gym before breakfast, a massage between meetings, or a guided city tour.