Business travel takes you away from home and loved ones and can cause all sorts of unexpected issues. Make your travel easier with these time-tested tips.
1. Sleep smart
Dark circles under your eyes aren't good for business. Many road warriors know that you can only use a certain amount of concealer to cover bags under your eyes to mask jetlag or poor sleep nights in strange hotel rooms. So carry eye masks and earplugs. Wax earplugs are better than the little foam ones. They are often sold as a swimming accessory and work well to mute noise, snoring and annoyingly chatty airline passengers. Invest in a blow-up pillow to sleep soundly on planes. They also prevent your hair from being flattened as you sleep.
2. Carry rations
The airlines are starving us! If your flight is delayed or has mechanical problems, you may spend hours on the runway or circling in the air while your stomach is screaming. Airlines offer little more than the tiny, salty rations of peanuts or pretzels for short flights. Carry a nutritious and filling power bar and an apple in your bag.
3. Wake up right
Hotel alarm clocks and wake-up calls can be unreliable. Pack an inexpensive sports watch with an alarm and a stopwatch. The stopwatch is useful for your workout on the exercise bike in the hotel fitness centre or to time your bubble bath. If you carry a pager, find out if it has an alarm function and learn how to use it.
4. Pack lightly
If you need to be dressed in business attire for a meeting the same day you travel, wear it on the plane. Always assume your luggage may be lost and be prepared. Don't put yourself in the awkward and expensive position of being dependent upon taxis and tip-hungry porters. Pack the least amount of clothes and shoes you think you can survive on. You can wear the same mix-and-match outfits day after day. Leave room in your bag for the shopping treasures you can't resist along the way.
5. Take dark clothes
They don't show stains, wrinkles or dirt, and work for most situations.
6. Cut down on shoes
How many shoes does a business traveller pack? Too many, usually! If the shoe fits, wear it ... don't carry it. Wear the shoes you'll need for business and pack one pair of trainers for walking, jogging or informal occasions.
7. Shop without guilt
Spend some money on yourself and buy presents and cards for your loved ones' upcoming birthdays.
8. Communicate with home
It is unproductive to leave messages on answering machines. If you are travelling to a different time zone, you may wake a grumpy loved one in the middle of the night. The easiest and cheapest way to communicate home from most countries is via fax. Sending a fax costs less than a long distance call and you don't have to deal with time differences. Leave your hotel fax number with friends and family. If you prefer email, set up free email accounts for your kids and send them notes and postcards.