From long security lines to delayed and canceled flights, the ever daunting business trip can become an even scarier beast to tame during this hectic time of year. If you're a weary business traveler, heed this advice to make your next voyage smooth sailing.
1. Relax. You may find navigating big cities or unfamiliar towns stressful. This stress can range from common fears and doubts, to unhealthy levels of anxiety, so take a minute to stop and breathe before you start planning. Remember: planning ahead of time can help you avoid many of the worries that occur in the moment. Also, on the day you travel, don't jump straight out of bed and make a mad dash to the airport; take a calming moment to collect yourself, or engage in any activity you find relaxing.
2. Commute with confidence. Consider taking public transit to and from the airport. This can help you avoid traffic and tardiness, particularly if you are in a city with a reliable subway or rail system. If that is not an option, use a cab, car, or shuttle service to avoid parking costs and inconveniences. If you must drive, try to park in the same area of the same lot or garage every time and write down where you parked. Look into buying a monthly parking pass to avoid long pay lines after a long flight home.
3. Book Smart. Online travel sites like Kayak and Hotwire can offer major deals on tickets, so be sure to look into the science of navigating them when booking business travel. Even if your company has one person that makes all the travel arrangements, do your own research and share possible itineraries that work best for you. Select your seat and check-in online, print your boarding pass or retrieve your paperless boarding documents before you arrive to streamline the process.
4. Pack Light. Only take one bag that you can carry-on. Try to downsize to a medium backpack that can fit under the seat in front of you if you can. Don't be afraid to take advantage of laundry services where you travel so that no matter how long you're gone you won't need to bring more than a week of clothing. For longer stays, consider shipping some items to your hotel ahead of you. Less baggage carries more advantages. Security lines can be shorter, boarding and deplaning is faster, and you can take public transit to and from the airport, saving you time and money. If you need some pointers on maximizing space the web is full of tips that will help you pack like a pro.
5. Get in tech top shape. Gather all the gadgets (e.g. smart phone, tablet or lap top) you will need and pack them securely and properly. Never put them in your checked luggage, as baggage handlers and conveyor belts can often be too rough on your sensitive items and can possibly damage your equipment. If you're traveling abroad make sure you have the proper adapters to plug into your devices. Plan out how you will access the internet on your trip. Does your hotel have paid or complementary wireless access? Consider getting a cell phone plan with data tethering so you have internet access anywhere you go.6. Go Virtual. Now that you're not in a panic and have a clear head consider this: Is your trip really necessary? There should be a good reason for meeting in person. Chances are whatever you need to discuss can be done via phone, email, or a video chat service like skype. The easiest way to avoid the stress of traveling is to avoid traveling all together.
Though it isn't the ideal time to be doing a lot of business travel, sometimes you're left with no choice. Following these easy steps can ensure traveling over the festive period winds up feeling more befitting of the holiday season.