14 tips for your business trip
3. January, 2018
While the typical vacationer thinks of holidays, sun and relaxation, business travelers associate travel with professional commitments, appointments and meetings: Where is my first meeting? Do I have all the documents for the negotiation? Did the hotel receive the assumption of costs? Good travel management can be a key factor in making your journey more relaxed.
Our tips help reduce the stress on your next business trip – focusing your concentration and productivity on what’s really important.
Before the business trip
1. Pack for the business trip
Whether you travel with carry-on or checked baggage, packing your suitcase is generally non-negotiable – you have to do it one way or the other. A good idea is to save as much space as possible to accommodate all of your documents, clothing or trade fair materials.
The “rolling technique” allows business travelers to store garments compressed and space-saving. In addition, it’s worthwhile to fill in potential empty spaces – for example in shoes – with smaller pieces of clothing. A real insider is the animation of Heathrow Airport. The video “How To: Pack Like A Pro” has been clicked well over 3.5 million times and serves as an example for the perfect use of your suitcase space.
2. Visible baggage tag & TSA lock
Save time at the luggage belt by attaching a visible mark on your suitcase. It doesn’t have to be the eye-catching, red suitcase to quickly find the luggage – a luggage belt is enough. You can take it off quickly and stow it away again. This saves you the effort of having to differentiate your own piece from the other suitcases every time.
At times, security is forced to open the case due to an initial suspicion – even if the passengers have theoretically given them no reason to do so.
Especially the frequent flyer business travelers benefit from a TSA lock on their suitcase. Airport staff uses a universal key to open these pieces of baggage instead of forcibly breaking them open, so they can continue to be used as normal.
3. Electricity – whenever you need it
The problem is familiar to most people who are on business trips: You wanted to have a quick look at the agenda of your event and the battery of your laptop, tablet or mobile phone is empty when it’s needed the most. A power outlet is not within reach. The solution: Get an extra battery. External power storage units are already available for little money and provide electricity in just the right moments.
In addition, practical carry-on cases are now available, which have an integrated portable battery. Alternatively, this battery can be removed at the touch of a button and released from the case. Thus, you always have the necessary power for your electrical appliances during your journey.
4. Taking laptops and tablets when traveling to the US
Business travelers wanting to travel to the United States from the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa need to be extra careful with their electronic devices. Due to fears of explosive attacks, the US government banned laptops and other equipment in carry-on luggage from ten airports in the regions mentioned. They have to be checked in at the check-in desk instead.
Basically, the mobile office remains permitted on flights to the US, with the exception of the previously affected airports: Nevertheless, business travelers have to adjust to extensive and therefore longer checks at the security gate.
5. Business travel – ensure for enough time
Nothing stresses you more than a tight schedule? Plan your journey allowing for a cup of coffee in between. Taxi ride and train rides should be at least half an hour apart. At the airport, time must be scheduled for check-in, baggage check and security check.
Check the website or your departure airport’s app to see if the current waiting time in front of the security check is displayed. Hamburg Airport offers this service, for example: https://www.hamburg-airport.de/de/abflug.php
Cologne Bonn: http://www.koeln-bonn-airport.de/fluege/abflug-ankunft.html
Frankfurt Airport: In their app under “Wartezeiten”
6. Prevention is everything – counteracting jet lag
One of the most common business travel issues: jet lag. It’s not only a real productivity killer, but also ensures a bad sense of well-being for the business traveler.
It can help to go to bed earlier some days in advance – at least when your journey is eastbound as the day will then be shortened. With this business travelers effectively counteract the resulting impairment of their body. A trip to the West is the exact opposite, staying awake is the key to success. In addition, make sure you drink enough and eat healthily. This ensures that your body can cope better with the time change.
Are you traveling to dangerous places for your business? Check with your employer for the standard procedures in these cases and take a look at your company’s travel policy. It should say who is your contact in case of emergency, who sends personal documents and organizes a lawyer or a doctor. Do you need to “check in” with your location at specific times to make sure you’re okay? This is also usually found in the Travel Policy.
The “Sicher reisen” app from the German Ministry of Foreign Affair also provides information about your travel destination, tips for emergencies, addresses of the German representations abroad and the current travel and security information of the German Ministry of Foreign Affair about the respective country.
During your business trip
8. Orientation en route
You’re in a strange city, it’s early morning and you want a coffee. Where is the nearest café or bakery? You are traveling with a rental car and the fuel needle is approaching the red zone. Where is the nearest gas station?
In such cases, Google Maps usually helps. Even without internet access, previously downloaded offline maps can be used as a guide.
9. Exercise and sport against stress
Ask your travel manager to book a hotel with an attractive sports offer. Exercising and going to the gym helps to stay healthy and fit. Even with a packed schedule, it is advisable to create space for sports activities. This will give you the necessary balance and energy you need for the important meetings on business trips.
10. Wi-Fi – whenever & wherever
There’s no need to be bored on the plane while traveling for business either. The mobile office, consisting of a light tablet or an energy-saving laptop, helps to stay productive on the go.
And what about Wi-Fi? In the hotel room, a wireless connection to the Internet should be self-evident. However, problems often arise regarding its speed and connectivity. Under certain circumstances, a portable Wi-Fi router or Wi-Fi stick, which can also be used at the airport or on the train, can remedy this situation.
Meanwhile, almost every cafe or restaurant offers free Internet, so you can get a connection to the Internet here if all else fails.
11. Find your rental car again
Your hotel is located in a very central area so you need to park your rental car in a distant side street? With a hidden feature of Google Maps, this is no longer a problem. You can find your rental car in foreign cities any- and everytime.
Activate your GPS and open Google Maps on your smartphone. Touch the blue dot that marks your location. A new menu will open, where you can simply save the current location as a parking space.
No matter where you are traveling, you can always find back to your rental car.
12. Entertainment while traveling is relaxing
During the trip, try to let business be business and relax if possible. With podcasts or offline playlists, you can sit back and relax. This works without any Wi-Fi connection. The advantage: chatty neighbors are easily tuned out.
13. Stay up to date
The organizers of trade fairs or conferences will post a event specific hashtag on their website long before the event. This makes it easier to find the latest information for the event on social media, such as on Twitter. Use this information to find important updates regarding your events.
After your business trip
Bleisure – the mixture of Business and Leisure Travel – means business travelers attach private holidays to their business travel. Not every employer allows this type of vacation extension. Take a look at your company’s travel policy, ask your colleagues or boss. If your employer allows bleisure, you have the opportunity to privately discover distant countries. You have a good argument for talking with your boss if the flight becomes even cheaper for the employer because of your private trip.
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