14 Travel Hacks for Hassle-Free Business Trips

Published November 16, 2017

Remote working, webinars and video conferencing are undeniably on the rise, but don’t write an obituary for your business trips just yet. While 63% of CFOs interviewed for a survey given by global staffing firm Robert Half say there’s been no recent change in the frequency of employee travel, 12% said their staff members are traveling more than five years ago.

So, with corporate travel still on the map, here are some tips you can use:

  1. Go direct. If you have the means, book nonstop flights whenever possible. Not only will you save time on layovers, you also avoid the risk of missing connections due to weather or mechanical delays.
  2. Build in buffers. Executive life is stressful enough. Don’t add anxiety by scheduling an important event right before you have to be at the airport. And if you’re crossing many time zones, give yourself the gift of a good night’s rest before meeting clients or presenting.
  3. Keep a travel-only toiletry bag ready. Your hotel can likely supply small personal items— toothbrush, floss, nail clipper, tweezers, comb—you may forget, but save time and hassle by keeping a dedicated travel case at home stocked with your must-haves.
  4. Make a travel essentials kit. Travel can be more comfortable with items in your carry-on, such as: a small first-aid kit, sewing kit, eye mask, ear plugs, travel pillow, extra phone charger and USB wall charger, ear buds and a mini umbrella.
  5. Zip through security lines. For an $85 fee and a brief interview, you can avoid having to remove your laptop, shoes, belt or liquids during security checks by joining TSA PreCheck. The membership lasts five years.
  6. Become a Trusted Traveler. If you frequently travel internationally, consider becoming a member of Global Entry. This program allows you to skip the paperwork and normal processing line when returning to the country. An added bonus: Global Entry confers automatic TSA PreCheck eligibility.
  7. Ship your stuff. To save time and avoid losing luggage, you already know not to check bags. But what if you have too much to carry, such as product samples or printed materials? Use a luggage delivery service. These companies will pick up your bags a few days before departure and have them waiting at your destination.
  8. Keep travel docs in the cloud. Take a picture of all IDs and indispensable paperwork— passport data page, entry visas, driver’s license, boarding pass and credit cards—and make sure these photos are synced to your cloud storage. Print hard copies as a backup in case you don’t have internet access or, even worse, you lose your phone.
  9. Explore travel apps. You may already use your phone to find restaurants and services. Go one step further by downloading helpful travel apps. For example, Google Translate uses your phone’s camera to convert foreign language signs and other printed words into English. Several apps help you adjust your circadian rhythm so you recover quicker from jetlag or even allow you to check in for a rental car or hotel reservation.
  10. Power up. Not only should you fully charge all your electronics before boarding a flight, you should also carry portable power banks. Opt for larger ones — in the 30,000–50,000 mAh range — so your laptop won’t run out of juice before arriving at your destination.
  11. Use packing cubes. Fit more clothes in less space with clever organizers that stack neatly in your carry-on. These bags also make it a breeze to unpack. For extra room, use compression cubes that come with a second zipper to make them even flatter.
  12. Lounge about. If you don’t currently have airport lounge access through your frequent flyer program, buy a day pass so you can spend waiting time more efficiently and comfortably. These executive spaces come with business facilities to help you take care of last-minute printing or photocopying.
  13. Carry local currency. Don’t assume you’ll find an ATM or currency exchange upon arriving at a foreign country. Before you leave the U.S., change about $200 into your destination’s currency for taxis, meals and tips.
  14. Don’t risk data breaches. Public Wi-Fi may be handy, but it’s not secure. Use your phone as a personal hotspot when traveling, and keep business secrets and research data safe with VPNs (virtual private networks).

Business trips aren’t going away anytime soon, nor should they. There’s real value in face-to-face meetings and in-person networking. With thoughtful preparation, you can enjoy hassle-free travel from point A to B, and back.

About The Author

Grace Fidalgo headshot
Grace Fidalgo is vice president at Robert Half Finance & Accounting, North America. She’s worked as a staffing manager and branch manager for Accountemps and division director and field training manager for Robert Half Finance & Accounting.