Posts Tagged ‘travel’


Tips for better business travel: what can be done to make it more bearable?

15 May 2011

Here are some suggestions from staff and our favourite frequent fliers. And, if you think we’ve missed any useful tricks, email us with your own top travel tips at

  • Pre-book your seats, print and keep the confirmation as online booking systems can fail, leaving you in the enviable position to prove you are on the flight and in the right seat.
  • Ask for a specific seat when checking in. Make a note from past travels on a route or use to identify the best seat: even the best business or first class seats can vary by being close to or far from galleys, toilets or even other seats.
  • Bring with you your favorite ear-plugs. Sometimes the quality provided in the plane is poor or are missing from the pouch given to travelers. If you forget it, do not hesitate to ask to the flight attendant. Reducing the noise of the plane, especially during long-haul flights, helps to relax and reduce the stress.
  • Check the rules for bringing in telecoms equipment such as a personal VPN device as some countries place restrictions on their ‘import’.
  • Never put your laptop in your hold luggage, even if you’re not using it during your flight. The tender ministrations of the baggage handlers have dispatched more than one of my laptops to the great repair shop in the sky.
  • When you pack your hand luggage remember that your laptop will be X-rayed separately from your luggage in a plastic tray. Store it inside the hand luggage in a way that will be easy to take it out and in again fast. People queuing the security check behind you will not appreciate you slowing down the procedures.
  • Get a big wallet that takes passport, tickets and receipts all together in one place.
  • When you board the plane at the boarding counter you will get the boarding pass tag that indicates all you flight details as your name, seat number and flight number. Do not forget to hold it in your hand when you enter the plane and show to the flight attendant welcoming you. She/he is entitled to verify you have it with you and showing it at the boarding will avoid delays.
  • When you board do not forget to check your seat number. You will go directly to the right place avoiding delays and mostly to go up and down during boarding.
  • Keep the boarding tag with you during the flight, better in your passport. It will be useful when you will fill the immigration form that usually ask for your flight number.
  • When you get out of the plane and you pass through the immigration counter, the officer can ask you the boarding pass tag. Keep it inside your passport when you arrive to your seat after boarding.
  • Buy a light travel bag that holds a change of clothes, laptop, charger, phone, pen, paper and has a handle, shoulder and backpack straps.
  • Take your own Ethernet cable with you – plenty of hotels now have ports for broadband but either run out of cables or other guests have broken them.
  • Carry a couple of USB memory sticks because half the time you won’t be able to connect your laptop to whatever projection system you’re using and the only way to show off that vital presentation will be to stick the USB stick into the system’s USB port.
  •  Pack paper and pen – they have a longer battery life than your laptop and are more multi-functional.
  • Always carry some cash: Euro, Sterling or US dollars
  • Don’t carry more than you need (spares, extra clothes etc), buy replacement/extra items at an airport.
  • I usually carry a variety of metal things in my jacket pockets – pens, keys, coins, phone, memory stick, spectacles/cases, calculator (in wallet), business card case, etc – and I have found that, when going through airport security, it is easier and much quicker for me to take my jacket off and put in on the conveyor belt of the X-ray machine, than it is for me to try and remember to take everything out of all the jacket pockets into a silly little plastic tray, and then put them all back again.
  • Stay healthy. Would you really eat peanuts and crisps, drink wine, have chocolate and drink coffee all day at the office? OK – so maybe you would. But on a plane, you need to keep hydrated to avoid getting tired. Take water and perhaps some fruit – and avoid coffee and alcohol.
  • Take your own bottle of water on the plane. Even in business class they never come round with the drinks enough and it’s too easy to get dehydrated.
  • Always eat before – and not during – a long-haul flight.
  • If you travel a lot on the same route, you begin to realize the food rotates around a limited menu. Pretending to be a vegan or having other dietary requirements from time to time gives you a bit of variety.
  • Move to the destination time zone as soon as you take off. Once there, live to that time zone immediately – even if this means going to sleep three hours sooner or later than you want to.
  • I find that a pair of Bose Quietcomfort headphones and two little bottles of red wine usually do the trick for long flights!
  • Try to avoid working when you are travelling – the whole experience is bad enough without adding to the stress by having to complete your presentation before you land. Use the time to catch up on leisure reading and movies.
  • Transiting four or five time zones in quick succession can be really confusing. To avoid expensive mistakes I wear two wristwatches – one is set to my home time and one to local time. This not only helps me manage my body clock, it avoids common mode failures of a single battery watch!
  • Avoid going to the toilet before passport control when arriving by plane – there’s almost always a worse queue when you get out and you might as well go whilst waiting for your luggage (if you’ve decided not to travel with hand luggage only, which is always a quicker option).
  • In strange cities, if you can find out how best to get from the airport to your destination before you leave and the rough cost and time, everything will run a lot more smoothly.
  • Two consecutive nights in the same hotel is a chance to get some laundry done – so less clothes you need to pack in the first place.
  • Never be the last or first to leave an evening gathering in a hotel bar.
  • If your company isn’t on a good roaming deal or even an automatic partner network deal, before you visit a country do some homework on roaming fees relative to each mobile network in that country. Some can be a lot more expensive than others and at the other end you can choose the cheaper network manually.
  • If you aren’t yet a Skype subscriber then think about becoming one. In some countries, using VoIP in the hotel lobby or a wi-fi zone can save you a small fortune in mobile phone roaming charges. Don’t forget to pack your headset.
  • Pinch a few little pots of shampoo from a hotel and next time you are at home fill them with your own preferred shampoo etc.
  • When returning from a transatlantic journey, have a short sleep on the flight but stay awake until your usual bedtime. I find this helps reduce jet lag.
  •  The most effective way to avoid travel problems is to stay at home. Is your trip really necessary? One sets out optimistically but only rarely does the journey fail to disappoint. Most travel is damaging to the environment. Go for a walk or a bike ride instead.
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