It happens I meet people, harboring the notion that business travels are romantic. They believe you get to travel to far and exotic places, get to see mysterious cultures and eat different and unusual dishes.
They could not be more wrong!
The reality is, that all you see is the airport and your hotel, which is often located right next to the airport, hence there is nothing to do in the evenings and you don’t event see the city you are in through a cab window – or get the change to visit the bars and restaurants in the evening. One airport looks pretty much like the next and hotel food is just not that interesting.
In my everyday life I am an “Information Technology Professional” … which is code for I know a bit more about computers than a box of rocks. During my professional career I have done quite a lot of business related travels. The following are some survival trips to make your experiences more pleasant and efficient.
The first thing you should do especially if you travel a lot is sign up with all the reward programs that airlines, hotels and maybe car rental services offer. If possible try to pick a (few) favorites and stay with those. A lot of companies will let you keep the frequent flier miles; I have gotten a lot of free plane ticket on this account. One thing is for sure: if you travel a lot and don’t sign up for these programs, you are plain stupid.
My second advise would be to never check bags with an airline. Take a course in “how to fit all your baggage into one suitcase without ruining your shirts and suits” if you have to (or ask your wife to do your packing). I have several times lost my bag and trust me, it is no fun. On a site note, you might want to memorize the location of the nearest store selling menswear at your destination, if you can’t manage with only carry-on. This reminds me of a time where I was flying into Zurich, lost my bag, and with less than an hour to my meeting ran into a department store and asked a clerk – a most distinguished older gentlemen – for a dark suit, a tie, two shirts (french cuffs), some underwear, socks and a pair of black dressshoes. He looked at me and said: Have you lost your suitcase, Sir?
These days security in airports can be a nightmare, so dress comfortably. I try to wear slip on shoes (sneaker) as these can quickly be taken on and off if required.
Sleep, sleep and more sleep. Make sure to get plenty of sleep before, during, and after your trip.
Try to eat resonably and stay hydrated.
Bring reading material like books or magazines or do like me: stack up your Kindle.
Use Skype. I have for a long time used Skype to keep contact with the folks at home. It is just more fun seeing the person you talk to than just hearing them and then it is cheaper too.
Delays in travel are inevitable. Try to be nice to the airline or travel employees. Even though they might be dorks, screaming at them won’t get you anywhere. Remember that you are only late, when your trip is over, and you are actually late. Instead open your Kindle and bury yourself in your favorite book.
The last but properly most important thing about business travels is having an understanding spouse.