Most of my friends are aware that I travel a lot for business and everyone loves to romanticize my travel lifestyle.Everyone thinks that I live the glorious life, always on the go, always in a different city, always experiencing something new. Las Vegas in February, Shenzhen in May, Frankfurt in September. But if you’re a business traveller like me, whether you do it once in a while or on a regular basis, you know it’s not as romantic as people make it out to be. Here are a few of my personal business travel tips that I’ve gleaned over the past several years.
Enroll in Priority Pass
Layovers can sometimes be frustrating to say the least. On my way to China earlier in May, I wish I didn’t have the 7- and 4-hour layovers. Some airports didn’t have free WiFi, some don’t even have paid WiFi. Some don’t have restaurants or bars, and ALL of them have supremely uncomfortable chairs. If you’re travelling for a couple of days and need to get work done, a lounge can be your best resource.So, this time, I am being smart. I have enrolled in Priority Pass which will allow me to access more than 850 VIP airport lounges worldwide. Subscription is between $99 and $399 annually.
I suggest enrolling the the $399 one which is called Prestige since it allows you free unlimited access including one guest (if you’re travelling with a loved one or a colleague). Free WiFi, comfortable chairs, many lounges have showers and clean restrooms. Some have bars. It all depends on the lounge. But a 7-hour layover in Istanbul? Sure I could go out for a couple of hours, but I don’t intend on lugging around my hand carry bags. I’ll just relax in a lounge – provided all works out as it should.
Pro Tip: Many credit cards such as American Express offer complimentary subscription to Priority Pass.
Full disclosure: I don’t work for Priority Pass or American Express
Take a Steam Iron
One of my most important travel tips! Short trips which require formal attire means if you’re not well prepared, you’ll end up creasing your clothes. Get a handheld steam iron for those suits and shirts.
High Quality Earphones (Surprise, Surprise!)
If you haven’t travelled in a while, most airplanes now sell earphones. These are terrible quality and sometimes don’t even work properly with the airplane’s entertainment system. I suggest you buy $10-15 earphones Panasonic earphones so you can connect them to your cell, tablet, and the airplane system.
Pro Tip: Ditch the wireless/bluetooth and bulky headphones. They won’t work with the airplane’s sound system, you most likely won’t be allowed to use them during take-off, taxi, and landing. You also want enough space in your bag for other things. Opt for the in-ear buds so that you can silence out the engines’ and babies’ sounds.
The one thing I hate about staying at hotels is that the fitness rooms either close too early, or do not have the proper equipment. Now, granted that I still have a belly (I’ll get my six-pack yet!), but that doesn’t stop me from pushing hard to get where I want to be. Three or four days abroad in a different time zone? Watch your workout routine get left behind. Buy a set of resistance bands from Amazon. They’re super cheap but highly versatile. I’m going to Pakistan for a month tomorrow and I won’t have access to a gym. But I will have my resistance bands and I’ll come back in good form, despite the amazing tikka chicken, kebabs, and nihari.
Get a Hard Shell Hand Carry
I once tried to stuff my winter jacket in my soft shell hand carry and it tore at the seams. That was nearly a $100 that wasn’t going to make it into the next overhead bin. I borrowed my aunt’s hard shell hand carry and I know that I can over-stuff it. They’re also more sturdy and have better wheels. I am hoping to buy this Barracuda Luggage in January because it is revolutionary. Even just the twisting handle makes my life super easy.
Pro Tip: Buy a hard shell with a built-in or TSA-approved lock so you don’t have to worry about losing keys.
So look, travelling isn’t always fun, but it can definitely be comfortable. The investments aren’t that high either. The Priority Pass, for example, can be billed to your employer, because it may be free!
If you have any travel tips you’d like to share, please share them with me. I’m always looking to make my trips as comfortable as possible. If you liked this article, please share it with your colleagues and friends! Thanks so much for reading!