Business travel – lessons learned

We all travel for business from time to time, some of us more than others. Usually things go well and all is good with the universe. But it only takes one glitch to point out the flaws in our travel planning and execution. So we thought this would be a good time to share some tips – some we knew and some we’d forgotten but have relearned from hard experience. You may disagree with some of these, or all, but here goes:

  1. When you are travelling to your business destination whether it’s for a meeting, to teach, or another reason, it’s best to get a non-stop, direct flight. Anytime there is a stop-over somewhere, you run the risk of a missed connection.
  2. If you have to take a flight that connects, think about the season and the weather. Could you be delayed because of bad weather not only in the connecting city, but in the city from which your connection originates? You know what I mean . . . if you can, avoid northern cities prone to snow in the winter, and avoid cities prone to violent summer storms, or to hurricanes.
  3. There is a definite split of opinion about the optimal length of a lay-over in your connecting city. Some people want no more time on the ground than necessary. It’s been our experience, though, that anything at about an hour or less tends to lead to a rescheduled second flight – or even worse, an overnight “stranding.”
  4. Upgrade your boarding position in whatever way is financially feasible for you if that is an option not already included with your ticket, or given to you by your status with the airline. Getting a seat toward the front of the plane, in an exit row, or on an aisle to make getting out of your seat – particularly on a long flight – is worth its weight in gold.
  5. If you are checking a bag – and let’s face it, we can’t all pack everything we need for a trip in a bag we can bring on the plane – make sure you keep a small “emergency” kit with you in your carry-on. In that kit should be (at a minimum) any medication you have to take daily (and bring 2 days worth), toiletries and a change of undergarments. It only takes one unexpected overnight stay to bring that point home.
  6. Use an app to track your travel. A colleague uses the pro version of TripIt and swears by it. At the very least, enable text notifications of changes in your flight. Knowing your flight is cancelled or delayed even moments before the rest of the passengers know can mean shorter lines at the customer service window and getting onto an alternate flight that might have only a couple of seats left.

Business travel can be exhilarating or it can be exhausting, or both. Hopefully these tips will help remind you of the small things you can do to increase the positive and reduce the negative. Have business travel tips of your own? Let us know on Twitter @AZPractice2_0, #traveltips.

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