For many people, business travel is a necessary evil – and one that comes with all sorts of secondary behaviors, such as sleeping on planes, constantly packing constantly for trips and remaining riveted to your phone, tablet or smartwatch device. After all, the best-laid plans can quickly go awry if there’s a delay or unforeseen snafu.
While it’s virtually impossible to eliminate all the stress from these trips, there are steps you can take to help make the overall experience more pleasant – for the current leg of your itinerary and all subsequent jaunts. Start by keeping a positive attitude. When something arises, ask yourself whether it’s truly a problem or merely an inconvenience. This allows you to deal with an issue on the appropriate level, from letting it pass by without a thought to sounding the full-on alarm.
And remember, your outlook is contagious. When you need assistance from staff at a hotel or an airline, who do you think is going to get the better service – the upgrades, the itinerary changes, etc.? A snarky, foul-mouthed customer who barks commands in a voice of entitlement, or a pleasant, patient customer who comes armed with a smile and a kind word? Picture the reversal of roles. Would you want to deal with a miserable malcontent in your job?
To help maximize your productivity while traveling, consider these tips:
- Limit luggage to a carry-on – You don’t need the added worry associated with checking a bag. Bring only a carry-on, check in for your flight online and go straight to security at the airport. Remember, if you don’t check a bag, you won’t have to wait for it when you land.
- There’s an app for that – Travel apps make it easier to manage all the aspects of your trip, from seat location on the plane to restaurant reservations to driving directions in an unfamiliar city.
- Reap the rewards – Members of rewards and loyalty programs often receive early boarding on flights, priority hotel room, first-class upgrades and all-around better treatment.
- Dress well – In general, people get much better service when they are nicely dressed. Wearing an outfit that doubles as presentation attire helps ensure you’ve got proper clothing if your luggage is misplaced. On the flip side, your story about being town “for a big meeting” will carry a lot more weight if you’re dressed for the board room rather than the beach.
- Keep a bag packed – Call it your “go bag”: a carry-on suitcase packed with the minimal amount of clothing, shoes and accessories you need, including 3-ounce toiletries in a Ziploc bag. Opt for a thinner laptop or tablet that you can carry on and, if you must bring a coat or bulky shoes, wear them onboard so they won’t add to your luggage.
- Have customer service numbers on hand – Store the numbers for the airline you’re traveling, the rental car company, the hotel, etc., in your phone. That way, if a problem arises, you can get connected quickly.
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