Business travel tips from an expert
Thanks to the internet, Skype, video conferencing and a whole host of instant communications technology, most business can be done without ever leaving your office. It’s good for your company’s balance sheet and it’s good for the planet. However, sometimes it still has to be face-to-face, and business travellers still make up a huge proportion of the crowds at any airport.
Here are eight tips for safe, stress-free and economic business travel from a seasoned veteran.
Phone and cards
Smartphones have changed the way we pay for calls overseas. Paying for calls while abroad can be ruinously expensive if you’re not careful though. Check your contract and call your provider just so you’re sure what you might have to pay. Turning off roaming is a good idea, you can use local wireless connections in most countries.
Make sure your bank and credit card provider know where you’re going. They’re on the lookout for fraud and if they see American Express Singapore on your record when they thought you were in Sheffield, the first thing they’ll do is put a stop on your card.
Don’t scrimp on suitcases
When your life is in your luggage you want it to be secure and comfortable to carry. Cheap luggage that’ll split at the seams will cause you misery and might even damage your credibility with clients. You genuinely get what you pay for, and it’s worth spending what you can afford to get luggage you can rely on for years to come – a carry-on bag that’s smart enough to produce your next presentation from is a must.
The War on Terror
Since 9/11 airport security has increased massively. No-one really doubts that this is a good thing, but it can be tough to remember that when you’re waiting for hours to get into the States. We all know about it, so there’s no excuse not to prepare for it. In America you’ll save time with slip on shoes and trousers without a belt as well as a jacket with deep enough pockets to carry everything you have on you – simply drop that into the bin and sail through the scanner.
Your luggage is probably safe
Technology has made luggage safer than ever in transit. There is now just a 0.3% chance that your bags will go missing. So, check your luggage in and don’t try to cram half your vital equipment into an unsuitable piece of carryon luggage. Any time you save will be marginal and you’ll probably lose that in the extra security hassles. With your baggage in the hold, you can pack the biggest bottle of shampoo you feel like with no safety hassles.
Something to read
While we life electronic lives these days, planes are one of the few places we have to go off-line. Take advantage of this quiet time – usually 90 minutes on a typical flight – and try ye olde reading technology that isn’t going to break down or need recharging when you’re just about to find out who done it. A small, adjustable pillow is a nice addition to your on-board kit – they’re more comfortable than inflatables and can pack up very small these days.
Are you ready to work?
If you need to work on the plane make sure you’re prepared. If you need a computer, make sure it has the keyboard size that you need to actually use it. Laptops and netbooks are small and portable, but incredibly powerful with cloud storage to keep your date safe wherever you are.
If you want to start pouring money away, hail a cab. They may be quick and convenient and take some of the fear out of travelling in an unfamiliar city, but it’s the least economical way to travel. Keep cabs for emergencies and short journeys. A bit of research will leave you well equipped to handle the local public transport and pavements – and wouldn’t it be nice to actually meet a few locals and see the real city?
Airbnb is a new form of budget accommodation, putting lodgers in touch with friendly professional people all around the world who want to make a bit of extra cash by taking you in for a couple of nights. They’re guaranteed to be better value than almost any hotel and will give you the inside track on your new temporary home.
Luke Ryan is a writer and traveller who has practiced these tips for years.
- photo – slattner