Business Travel Made Easy: 8 Foolproof Tips
Business Travel Tips From Experience
After several years of traveling for business purposes throughout the United States and Canada, I have accumulated substantial information about several aspects of business travel that can easily go wrong.
In addition to my own travel arrangements, I also assist the athletes and governments of Nigeria and other African nations and sports clubs, along with sporting and church related organizations in India in their travel preparations to the United States.
During the past decade, I have assisted in planning business travel for hundreds of athletes, family members and associated government dignitaries from overseas and across America in order for them to fulfill lifelong dreams of competing in and coaching for high quality American sponsored martial arts tournaments. Accommodation mistakes and red tape can certainly be a nightmare.
All of this travel requires proper planning and communications, as well as correct navigation of government-related channels of travel between and among nations. While this can be a complex undertaking, here are some effective tips that can help smooth the process in any country.
Tip 1: Confirm Your Lodging Arrangements
A couple of times as I was arriving at a hotel in a city far from home, I went to the front desk only to learn that the hotel had no reservation for me and no idea who I was. On a third occasion, I received bills from two separate hotels, one at which I stayed and one at which I had not stayed and that was not connected with the first hotel.
On a fourth travel adventure, I drove 1,000 miles down through Mississippi and Louisiana in August heat after having confirmed my reservation at the endpoint by phone three times before leaving home. Still, I arrived in New Orleans to find that there was no reservation for me on the books of my hotel. I drove around for an hour and found another location with a vacancy. Accommodations can certainly be a nightmare.
Use a Travel Agent
This all convinced me to use a travel agent. A good travel agent will prevent such reservations Snafus. If you are a regular business traveler, develop a relationship with a good travel agent, if you do not work for a large company that has an excellent business travel department available for its staff.
A travel agent can save you time as well, handling reservations for a flight or train, a hotel and a rental car all at once, as well as all the possible reservation modifications that might be required. Such an agent should also be equipped to find you frequent flyer programs, all sorts of travel discounts, coupons, free services, and special membership benefits.
Tip 2: Take Care of Your Nutrition, Diet and Medical Needs
If you book an airline ticket or long-distance train reservation, request a special meal so that you receive individualized service. For example, vegetarian and low-fat/low-salt travel meals are healthier for you on long trips. Lowering salt intake can help prevent some of the effects of jet lag, if you are prone to having that as well. At your destination, avoid fast food restaurants and look for healthy food. The concierge at your hotel should have a good list of recommendations for you. In addition to this, check out Rachel Ray's books on eating good food at reasonable prices in cities around the world. Be sure to avoid eating the heaviest things on the menu and going straight to your room and sleep. You'll be dull the next day and won't want to get up.
Your Medical Prescriptions
If you have prescription medications, ask your doctor for an extra set of prescriptions in case your medications are lost. This is crucial in cases of insulin and other life-saving medications. You may not be able to receive extra prescriptions for addictive medications, though, like pain killers. If you must carry a bee sting kit with you, make sure to take at least two extras. Leave nothing to chance regarding your health.
Alert your physician that you are traveling and on what dates. Make sure that he/she or a medical associate you trust can be reached during your trip for help, if needed, for any life-saving prescriptions or other treatments that may be required. In addition, ask your hotel if they have a physician on staff that could be called upon in an emergency. Even dialysis can be arranged beforehand, if you work with your physician to make solid arrangements and a Plan B in case things go awry.
Travel Tips From Rachael Ray
- Every Day with Rachael Ray
This website offers online materials from the popular and useful food and living magazine from Rachael Ray. Ms. Ray provides numerous food, nutrition and lifestayle tips that can be used in daily life and applied to business and personal travel.
Tip 3: Make Time for Exercise
A little exercise can go a long way toward keeping you alert on your business travels.
You don't have to awaken at 4:30 a.m. to do 1,000 pushups, as Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee does, but that's his life-long habit. He sticks to it on the road and he's in his mid-70s and shows no signs of slowing down in his business ventures.
Most hotels offer some sort of recreation and exercise facilities, so take advantage of them, even if just for 15 minutes a day. If that is inconvenient, your hotel may supply exercise equipment to your room and the concierge should have that information. If equipment is not to your liking, you can do 20 minutes of stretches daily. I once taught a weekly stretching class in which the participants lost a pound a week just by stretching!
The surrounding community should be offering short-term fitness club memberships for business travelers, and that is a good option. Further, some of these memberships may be offered free with your hotel stay, through a partnership between the hotel and gym. There are many possibilities.
Jhoon Rhee Exercise Resources
- 100 Years of Wisdom in a 21-Year Young Body
Now in his mid 70s, Jhoon Rhee left Korea in 1956 and brought his knowledge of health, exercise, and positive living to America. Sharing these effective concepts for over 50 years with the US and other nations, he is still strong in life and business
- Jhoon Rhee - Texas Martial Arts History
This website tells the story of Jhoon Rhee's martial arts and health career beginnings in Texas. Grandmaster Rhee is the Father of American Taekwondo, having brought it to the US in 1956 and taught its health benefits to the US House and Senate.
Tip 4: Remember to Sleep
I always sleep a bit on the airplane or train when I travel, but sometimes it's hard to do so, considering sounds and light around you. Jet lag and/or a lack of sleep can adversely affect any business traveler with crankiness and dullness and this could cost you a big account or a new customer.
Adjusting to a New Time Zone
You can try to adjust to a new time zone at home before traveling by using a second clock set to that particular time. Use this clock and go to bed by that time zone instead of your own for about three days before you leave for your trip. That's one option. If you cannot do this, then be sure to pack earplugs and eyeshades to help you sleep on the train or plane or in your room at the hotel. If you happen to travel north to where it's light outside 24 hours a day for several months a year, earplugs and sleep shades will really help. You might also wear two watches, one set to your own time zone and one set to the time zone at your destination to keep you organized. This way, you won't be calling your home or office at 3:00 a.m.
At your hotel, ask if there is a floor reserved just for business travelers. Many hotels do maintain such a floor. On that floor, you should find several fax machines, telephone lines, copiers, PDAs for temporary use, laptaops you may borrow, and a variety of Internet options; plus, a lot of peace and quiet.
Some hotels offer rooms that are specifically designed to keep out the light and noise with light-blocking shades and extra wall insulation. Ask your travel agent to look into this, or ask the reservation clerk when you make your own reservation.
Tip 5: Try a Bed and Breakfast
Some travelers feel that B&Bs are too quaint or too expensive, but neither is the case. More frequently, you will find that B&B's have been designed to your business travel needs the world over. Many now offer reduced corporate rates, free in-room Internet service, meeting rooms, lounge areas, and fax machines and other technology. Most B&Bs are very comfortable and quiet, away from high traffic areas and schools. Some do not accept children as guests, but encourage business travelers that need a place to relax and concentrate. B&B staff often will run errands for you as well.
Tip 6: Slow Down
Long-term constant travel will wear down most people, especially individuals that work in high-pressure occupations like sales and fly across the country or the globe every week. There is a related scene in the Bette Midler movie The Rose. Her character is a rock star that has been on so many planes while on tour that she awakes from a nap and begins crying—because she does not know where she is.
The stress impacting the body via constant travel, even though you don't feel it, can actually kill you. Unrelieved stress builds up and sometimes results in hypertension and stroke. Traveling in close quarters such as a cramped airliner can cause blood clots in the legs that can travel to the lungs and heart, causing a fatal stroke. This occurred with David Bloom, embedded reporter riding in a tank for long stretches of time in Iraq early in the War in Iraq. It can also occur on long car trips. You need to take a stretching break often on long trips in order to prevent this.
It is also important to take breaks from traveling altogether, perhaps one week each quarter, in which you do not travel. Traveling across time zones frequently stresses the body as much as changing work shifts daily, as is necessary in the restaurant business form time to time. Both can result in early death.
Tip 7: Maintain a Reasonable Pace
Get enough sleep and plan your time so that you can handle the pace without undue stress that leads not only to illness but also to bad temper. Use a scheduling tool of some type and don't jam your calendar full. Leave some room for digesting your activities and business events.
The Microsoft Outlook Calendar is very useful and will remind you with a message when events or assignments are coming due. I use it to remind myself of meetings and classes regularly. Handheld PDA planners are also good, and the planning notebook is still used by many people. This could be a Day Timer or a Franklin Covery branded notebook. I like to keep an electronic schedule and carry a small planning notebook with the same schedule recorded as well.
Tip 8: Stay in Touch With Home and Office
Don't burn the candle at both ends.
Over-work may result in good short-term business achievements but will lead ultimately to illness and burnout in yourself and alienation of your coworkers, supervisors, clients and your family and friends over the long term. While away on business, call the office and home to check in and say a pleasant hello. Don't argue over the phone or via email. Stay upbeat. Also make sure your office knows exactly where you are and how to reach you in case of emergencies, either business or personal.
Wheelchair Travel Tips
- Association of Business Travelers
This organization provides members with a variety of services that include hotel discounts of 10-50%, free room upgrades, extra travel related savings, travel insuracne, and business travel information. Reservations and other arrangements can be perf
- Association of Corporate Travel Executives
The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) is a non-profit organization that furnishes global travel related education to executives in the Business travel Insustry. Membership includes corporate purchasers of bsuiness travel arrangemetns
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2007 Patty Inglish MS