Business Travel Made Easy
By Christi Youd
Cancelled flights…lost luggage…presentation programs that won’t
run…the list of potential business trip challenges is virtually
endless. In fact, when it comes to business travel, it seems that
problems and delays are the norm, not the exception. The key is to
be prepared for anything that comes your way. Only then will
arriving at your destination be as simple as your morning drive into
Unfortunately, most business travelers are unprepared for even the
smallest of travel glitches. And although they may have made
numerous business trips in the past, each with its own problem or
two, people still don’t plan for setbacks when the next trip rolls
around. As a result, they get frustrated when traveling and view
business trips as a hassle they wish they could avoid.
have to travel for business, take the approach that everything
will go wrong. That way you’re prepared to handle whatever comes
your way and no challenge will derail your business plans. Following
are the key steps to take before, during, and after a trip to make
business travel as stress-free as possible.
Create your travel binder. This is a small binder (5” x 11”)
that will hold all your travel document essentials. In your
binder include your airline ticket (or electronic ticket
confirmation), photo identification, passport (if needed),
expense log, receipt envelope or pocket, cash, passes or
membership cards, and your frequent flyer or frequent stay
identification numbers. To minimize the number of frequent guest
cards you need to carry, laminate a single card that has all
your frequent flyer and frequent stay identification numbers and
information. Keep your travel binder with you at all times, in
an outside pocket of your carry-on bag.
you choose your flight, never reserve the last flight scheduled
before you need to be at your destination, even if that means
arriving at your destination a day early. Why? Because you need
to plan that something will go wrong with your flight and you’ll
need to catch the next flight out. If the meeting or event
you’re attending is critical, then make sure you have two flight
times you can fall back on. Remember, flights get cancelled,
grounded, and delayed every day. You need a backup so you can
still make it to your destination on time.
you’ll be making a presentation using PowerPoint or some other
software program, prepare a backup of your presentation. For
example, you could carry a flash drive around your neck, pack a
CD in your carry on luggage, burn a copy on the hard drive of
your laptop, pack a hard copy in your checked luggage, or upload
an electronic copy online so you can download it should you need
it. At the minimum, have at least two presentation backup
options. If it’s a vital presentation, have three or four backup
light enough that you can personally carry all your luggage
without assistance. You may not need to carry it all by
yourself, but you want to be able to should the need arise.
Travel Day Essentials
you travel, always wear the clothing you plan to wear for your
presentation or meeting. If needed, you can get the clothes
laundered that evening at the hotel. But since luggage delays
are common, you don’t want to have to meet that big client
wearing jeans and a t-shirt. As an added bonus, the more
professional you dress when traveling, the higher your chances
of being bumped up to first class.
everything, even your carry-on luggage. Count on checked luggage
not returning with you if you don’t have your label and contact
information on it. And always assume that you’ll get separated
from your carry-on bag for some reason. Make it as easy as
possible for all your belongings to find their way back to you.
For security purposes, label everything with your business
information rather than your home information.
with your airline for any travel or security measures. Each
airline has different guidelines in terms of number of checked
and carry-on bags you’re allowed, weight and/or size limitations
for baggage, and restrictions on what items you can bring aboard
the plane. Also check the TSA website (www.tsa.gov) for any
updated security checkpoint guidelines.
a cash reserve in several different locations: on your body, in
your travel binder, in your carry on, etc. Things often get lost
or stolen, and you don’t want to be stranded without any money.
Also remember to bring small bills for tips as well as larger
bills for greater expenses.
ample time for you to go from your home to your scheduled
flight. Calculate how long your drive to the airport will be,
including traffic delays. Double the amount of time you think it
will take. Calculate how long it will take you to shuttle from
the parking area to the airport entrance. Double the amount of
time you think it will take. Calculate how long it will take you
to get through security and to your gate. Double the amount of
time you think it will take. Plan on things going wrong and
schedule time for delays. If you end up being early and have
lots of time to kill before your flight, bring some work with
you that you can complete at the airport or on your flight.
preparing for your next business trip as soon as you return from
the current one. Restock all your travel size toiletry
containers so you’re ready for your next flight. If you wait
until the next trip to prepare, chances are that in your rush to
get everything done, you’ll forget some essential items.
out your travel binder and have it ready for the next trip. Sort
through your receipts, and complete and submit your expense log.
Restock your travel binder with any updated papers or cards, and
replenish your cash reserve.
any promised follow-up or delegation the day you arrive back at
the office. If you wait a few days until you’re “back in the
groove” of everyday work, you’ll get sidetracked and will forget
to complete the tasks you said you’d do.
Through the Challenges of Air Travel: Realize that you can use
these same suggestions for personal travel, thus making your
vacations truly relaxing without the customary horror stories of
airline travel. All it takes is a little planning and forethought on
your part. In the end, airline travel, whether for business or
pleasure, doesn’t have to be the headache so many people make it out
to be. By simply following a few guidelines before, during, and
after your trip, you can make any travel experience stress-free and
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about Christi Youd.
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