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How to be a Savvy Business Traveler

18 October, 2016

Mastering how to travel for business is an art. You have to balance your everyday work responsibilities with the time it takes to travel. 

By: Jennifer Beyer

Mastering how to travel for business is an art. You have to balance your everyday work responsibilities with the time it takes to travel.  It’s not for the faint-hearted and it can take a lot of repetition to perfect. At the same time, it’s a fantastic way to get out of the office and break away from your typical office routine. After traveling for six years for several weeks at a time for campus recruiting, I picked up a few strategies for efficient and effective business travel.

Cville Boston

Book like a Master – This may not come as a surprise, but the key to booking business travel is to book early. The earlier you can book, the lower the hotel and flight costs, and the more convenient travel will be for you. Even if you’re unsure of your travel details, go ahead and book a hotel and rental car, and keep your eye on flights. I found that booking an early morning flight cuts down on flight delays and missing work hours. Concur is a fantastic tool to keep all of your reservations in one location. Don’t forget to add your travel agent as a contact in case you need to call to rebook a canceled flight or find a last minute hotel near the airport.

Pack for Perfection – I tend to pull together the basic traveling necessities (gym clothes, toiletries, and electronics) days before I leave so I don’t spend hours the night before wishing I had done it earlier. For longer trips, I use a packing app so I spend less time thinking about what I need to bring. When selecting clothes, I make sure to use the same color scheme to interchange my outfits. Traveling to places like Michigan and upstate New York has also taught me to pack layers. I’ve learned to always pack one extra shirt and pair of pants just in case I spill coffee or get stuck traveling another day due to canceled flights. Keep these extra clothes in your carry-on if you check luggage.

Chicago Penn

Work on the Go – Traveling for business can eat away at your daytime work hours. So you don’t feel overwhelmed when you arrive at your destination, learn how to be productive on the go. To save you time during the check-in process, I recommend doing it online the night before. This allows you to print your boarding pass early and pre-pay for checked luggage. When I arrive at an airport, I always use my GateGuru app so I can quickly find food or coffee. These travel hacks allow me to maximize my time at the airport so I’m able to get work done before a flight. I also mastered responding to emails in taxis, working offline during flights, and listening to conference calls in airports. That way I don’t have as much work to do once I arrive at my hotel.

Understand Expensing and Reporting – Expense reports are a necessary evil of business travel. My best advice is to not let expenses pile up and to try to use your corporate credit card instead of cash. This allows your charges to be automatically entered into your corporate expense system and ensures you don’t forget to submit an expense. It also reduces the number of paper receipts. For the receipts that I couldn’t avoid, I carried an envelope with the date and city location of my travel so I could easily trace them back to a specific trip. I also became an avid user of the Concur iPhone app, immediately taking pictures of my receipts and submitting expense reports on the go.

Business travel is like training for a marathon. At first, it seems challenging, but once you learn to run a long distance it can become something you look forward to and enjoy. While you’re trying out these tips, don’t forget to step back and make sure to appreciate the interesting locations you get to explore and the cool people you get to meet along the way. Interested in a job that gets you get out of the office? Check out an Executive Advisor role.

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