7 Helpful Tips From Frequent Business Travelers


Traveling for work sounds exciting, but it comes with its own set of challenges. From packing your suitcase to making it on time for your meetings in a new city, there’s a lot to manage. That’s why we’ve gathered seven top tips for people who travel a lot for work. These tips can help make your trips smoother, less stressful, and maybe even a bit more fun. Let’s dive into these game-changing suggestions and see how they can improve your next business trip.

Pack Strategically

Businessman packing for a trip

Packing for a business trip is like putting together a puzzle. You want to fit everything you need into your suitcase in a way that makes sense and doesn’t leave you lugging around a heavy bag. Here’s how you can pack smart and light, according to those who do it all the time:

  • Pick Your Clothes Wisely: Choose clothes that can be mixed and matched. This way, you can create different outfits with just a few pieces. Look for clothes that are versatile, comfortable for travel, and suitable for your business events. Also, remember that neutral colors like black, white, and grey are easier to pair.
  • Use Packing Aids: Packing cubes and folders can be lifesavers. They help you organize your suitcase better, keep your clothes neat, and even squeeze a little extra space out of your luggage. This means you can pack more efficiently and find what you need without turning your suitcase upside down.
  • Essentials First: Always pack the essentials—like your toiletries, a charger, important documents, and a change of clothes—in an easily accessible place. It’s also smart to pack a small bag within your main luggage for short day trips or meetings, so you don’t need to carry everything with you.
  • Limit Your Luggage: If possible, try to pack everything in a carry-on. This saves you time at the airport since you won’t need to check your bag or wait at the baggage claim. It also reduces the risk of your luggage getting lost. To make this work, focus on packing only what you truly need. Remember, most hotels offer laundry services, or you could even do a quick wash in your room if needed.

By packing strategically, you not only make your travel easier but also free up your mind and schedule to focus on the work at hand. With everything you need neatly packed and accessible, you’re ready to hit the ground running once you reach your destination.

Stay in a Centrally-Located Hotel

Businessman staying at a hotel in the city

Choosing the right hotel can make a big difference in your business trip, especially when it comes to location. Staying in a decent hotel that’s in the heart of the city or close to your main destinations has several benefits:

  • Save Time and Stress: When you’re centrally located, you’re closer to business meeting venues, convention centers, and dining spots. This cuts down on travel time and the stress of navigating through an unfamiliar city. Less time commuting means more time for preparation, relaxation, or exploration.
  • Access to Amenities: Central hotels often have a variety of amenities that cater to business travelers, such as high-speed internet, business centers, and meeting rooms. Plus, these hotels are usually near great restaurants, coffee shops, and entertainment options, giving you places to unwind or conduct informal meetings.
  • Explore Easily: Being in the center means you can easily take advantage of any free time to explore the city. Whether it’s a quick visit to a nearby landmark, enjoying local cuisine, or simply taking a walk in a vibrant part of town, staying central helps you experience more of what the city has to offer with minimal effort.
  • Networking Opportunities: Hotels in central locations often host other business travelers. This can be a great opportunity to meet new people in your field, share experiences, and even create valuable connections. Hotel lounges and bars are common spots for networking and casual meetings.
  • Choosing the Right Hotel: When selecting a hotel, consider not just the price but also the proximity to your business activities. Look into the hotel’s facilities to ensure they meet your needs, and read reviews from other business travelers. Sometimes, paying a bit more for a well-located hotel can save you time and money on transport, making your trip more efficient and enjoyable.

Where you stay can impact your entire trip. A centrally-located hotel puts you right where you need to be, making your business travel more productive, less stressful, and more enjoyable.

Book Nonstop or Direct Flights

Businessman using his laptop in an airplane

When planning your business travel, the flights you choose can have a big impact on your overall experience. Opting for nonstop or direct flights whenever possible comes with several key advantages:

  • Save Valuable Time: Nonstop flights take you directly to your destination without any layovers, meaning you spend less time traveling and more time on what matters. Even when direct flights (which may make a stop but don’t require you to change planes) are your only option, you’re still reducing the chance of delays and saving significant time compared to flights with connections.
  • Reduce Stress: Every time you have to catch a connecting flight, you’re adding a layer of potential stress. Delays, missed connections, and rushing through unfamiliar airports can all be avoided with nonstop or direct flights. When you know your plane is taking you straight to where you need to be, you can relax and focus on preparing for the trip ahead.
  • Lessen the Risk of Lost Luggage: The more connections your trip has, the higher the risk of your luggage ending up on the wrong flight. By booking nonstop or direct flights, you drastically reduce the chances of your bags not arriving with you. This is particularly important on business trips, where you might have critical documents or attire that you need upon arrival.
  • Jet Lag Management: Long flights and hopping across time zones can exacerbate jet lag. Nonstop flights often make it easier to start adjusting to the time difference in advance, as you’re cutting out the extra hours and disruptions of layovers. This can help you arrive feeling more refreshed and ready to tackle your commitments.
  • Finding the Best Flights: While nonstop or direct flights might be pricier than those with connections, the benefits often outweigh the extra cost. To find the best options, it’s worth booking as early as possible and using flight comparison tools. Don’t forget to consider the departure and arrival times; sometimes, a flight that arrives late at night might give you a full day of work the following day, while an early morning arrival might be perfect for beating jet lag.

Choosing nonstop or direct flights is a simple strategy that can significantly enhance your business travel experience. By saving time, reducing stress, and minimizing common travel woes, you can focus on the purpose of your trip and even enjoy some downtime.

Check-in Early

Businessman reading in the waiting area of an airport

Checking in early for both your flight and hotel can streamline your travel experience significantly. It’s a strategy seasoned business travelers use to ensure a smooth start to their trips. Here’s why early check-in is a game-changer:

For Flights:

  • Securing the Best Seats: Early check-in often allows you to choose your preferred seat ahead of most passengers. Whether you need extra legroom, prefer the window for a nap, or want an aisle seat for easy access, checking in as soon as it opens (usually 24 hours before departure) gives you a better selection.
  • Avoiding Last-Minute Stress: Checking in early means one less task to worry about on your travel day. It reduces the chances of facing unexpected issues at the airport, allowing you to bypass long check-in lines and head straight to security.
  • Digital Convenience: Most airlines offer online check-in via their website or app, where you can also access your boarding pass. This digital approach saves time and paper, making your airport experience smoother and more eco-friendly.

For Hotels:

  • Room Readiness: While early check-in at a hotel might not always guarantee your room will be ready if you arrive before the standard check-in time, it does alert the hotel to your early arrival. They often prioritize the preparation of your room, meaning you can settle in sooner rather than later.
  • Accommodation Preferences: Just like with flights, checking in early increases your chances of having special requests met, whether it’s a room on a higher floor for the view, away from the elevator for peace, or any other preference that enhances your stay.
  • Start Your Trip Sooner: Early check-in can mean extra time to rest after your journey, prepare for your business meetings, or explore your surroundings. It essentially extends your day, giving you more flexibility with how you spend your time.

How to Check-in Early:

  • Use the Airline or Hotel Apps: Most airlines and hotels have their own apps that facilitate early check-in, making the process convenient and quick.
  • Stay Informed: Keep an eye on your email or the app for notifications about when check-in opens. Some airlines and hotels even allow you to set up alerts.
  • Loyalty Programs: Membership in airline and hotel loyalty programs often comes with the perk of priority check-in, making it even easier to secure those early spots.

Checking in early is a simple yet effective tactic that can enhance your travel experience by offering convenience, choice, and a smoother start to your trip. Whether it’s for your flight or hotel, early check-in puts you a step ahead, making your business travel less stressful and more enjoyable.

Prepare for Jet Lag

Jet lag can be a real challenge for business travelers, especially when crossing multiple time zones. It affects your sleep, energy levels, and overall performance. However, frequent travelers have honed strategies to minimize its impact, ensuring they’re at their best upon arrival. Here are some key tips for preparing for and combating jet lag:

  • Adjust Your Schedule Before You Leave: Start shifting your sleep schedule a few days before your trip. If you’re traveling east, try going to bed earlier; if you’re heading west, later. This gradual change can help your body start adjusting to the new time zone ahead of your arrival.
  • Stay Hydrated: Flying can dehydrate you, and dehydration can worsen jet lag symptoms. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to dehydration.
  • Get Moving: Staying active can help reset your body clock. Once you arrive, if it’s daytime, try to get some sunlight. Natural light is a powerful tool for adjusting your internal clock. Light exercise, like walking or stretching, can also help.
  • Use Technology to Your Advantage: Apps and wearable devices can track your sleep and suggest adjustments to your routine to help with jet lag. Some even provide personalized jet lag management plans based on your travel itinerary.
  • Optimize Your Flight Schedule: If possible, choose flights that arrive in the evening. This allows you to go to bed at a local night time, which can help with adjusting. On the flight, try to sleep if it’s nighttime, at your destination or stay awake if it’s day.
  • Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment: Once you arrive, make your sleep environment conducive to rest. This might mean using earplugs and an eye mask to block out unfamiliar hotel noises and light. Consider adjusting the room temperature to a comfortable setting for sleep.
  • Consider Short Naps: If you’re extremely tired upon arrival, short naps (20-30 minutes) can help you recharge without further disrupting your sleep schedule. Avoid long naps, as they can make adjusting to the new time zone more difficult.
  • Eat Light and Right: Your eating schedule can also affect how quickly you adjust to a new time zone. Try to eat meals at the local time, and choose light, healthy options that won’t weigh you down or disrupt your digestion.

Preparing for jet lag involves a combination of pre-travel adjustments, in-flight strategies, and post-arrival activities. By taking proactive steps, you can lessen jet lag’s grip on your body and mind, making your business travel more productive and enjoyable.

Join a Frequent-Flyer Program

People going on a business trip

For those who travel often for business, joining a frequent-flyer program is a smart move that can significantly enhance your travel experience. These programs are designed to reward loyal customers with benefits and perks that make travel more enjoyable and efficient. Here’s how joining one can be advantageous:

  • Earn Miles for Every Flight: Every time you fly with the airline or its partners, you earn miles based on the distance flown, the type of ticket purchased, and your membership level. These miles can be redeemed for free flights, upgrades to business or first class, hotel stays, car rentals, and more.
  • Access to Exclusive Perks: Frequent flyers enjoy perks that improve the travel experience, including priority check-in, boarding, and security lanes, which can save a considerable amount of time and hassle at the airport. Additionally, higher tiers in these programs often offer lounge access, providing a quiet space to work or relax before flights.
  • Baggage Benefits: Many programs include free checked baggage allowances for members or even additional allowances for higher-tier members. This can result in significant savings and convenience, especially for travelers who need to bring extra luggage for longer trips.
  • Enhanced Customer Service: Membership often means you have access to a dedicated customer service line, making it easier to manage bookings and resolve issues quickly. This can be invaluable when travel plans change unexpectedly or when you need assistance while abroad.
  • Opportunities for Upgrades: Frequent-flyer status can significantly increase your chances of being upgraded to a higher class, providing a more comfortable and luxurious travel experience. Upgrades are often available when flying with the airline or its alliance partners.
  • Networking Opportunities: Airline lounges and exclusive events for frequent flyers can be excellent places for networking. Meeting other professionals in a relaxed and comfortable setting can lead to valuable business connections and opportunities.
  • Choosing the Right Program: When selecting a frequent-flyer program, consider the airlines you use most often and their route networks, especially if you have a preferred airport or destination. Look into their alliance partners, too, as this can expand your options for earning and redeeming miles. Pay attention to the program’s tier structure and benefits, ensuring they align with your travel habits and preferences.

Joining a frequent-flyer program is a straightforward process that can be done online through the airline’s website. It’s a wise investment in your travel comfort and efficiency, transforming the way you experience business travel. With each trip not only contributing to your next but also coming with the promise of making it more rewarding, the cycle of benefits continues, making every journey a step towards another.

Take the Time to Explore the City

Businessman traveling

Amid the hustle and bustle of business trips, carving out time to explore the city you’re visiting can enrich your travel experience significantly. Whether you’re in a bustling metropolis or a quiet town, there’s always something new to discover. Here’s why and how you should make room in your schedule for exploration:

  • Break From Routine: Business travel can become monotonous with a cycle of airports, hotels, and meeting rooms. Exploring a new city offers a refreshing break, injecting some excitement and variety into your trip. It’s a chance to step away from work responsibilities momentarily and recharge.
  • Cultural Enrichment: Every city has its unique culture, history, and vibe. Taking the time to immerse yourself in the local scene can be incredibly rewarding. Visit landmarks, museums, or galleries; try the local cuisine; or simply take a walk in a bustling neighborhood. These experiences not only enrich you personally but also broaden your perspective, which can be invaluable in business and life.
  • Networking and Relationship Building: Exploring the city can lead to spontaneous encounters and opportunities to meet new people, from locals to fellow travelers. These interactions can enhance your understanding of the local business environment and culture, and sometimes, they can even lead to new business connections or friendships.
  • Enhanced Creativity and Problem-Solving: Stepping out of your usual environment and routine can spark creativity and inspire new ideas. Experiencing different cultures and perspectives can stimulate your thinking, potentially leading to innovative solutions to business challenges or fresh ideas for your work.
  • Well-being and Mental Health: Taking a break to explore can significantly reduce stress and improve mental health. The physical activity of walking around, combined with the mental break from work, can leave you feeling rejuvenated and more productive when you return to your tasks.

How to Make Time:

  • Schedule Wisely: Look at your itinerary and see where you can carve out time for exploration. Even a couple of hours can be meaningful.
  • Extend Your Stay: If possible, arrive a day early or leave a day later to give yourself a full day to explore without work commitments.
  • Combine Activities: Look for ways to combine exploration with networking or team-building activities if traveling with colleagues.


Following these seven tips can help transform your trips from stressful to productive and even enjoyable. From packing smartly and staying centrally to booking direct flights, checking in early, preparing for jet lag, joining frequent-flyer programs, and exploring the city, each strategy plays a part in making your travel smoother. Remember, the goal is not just to survive your business trips but to make the most of them, turning each journey into an opportunity for growth, discovery, and efficiency.

Additional Ideas:

  • According to this premium economy review of Cathay Pacific, checking in ahead of time enables you to review all your flight details, skip the long line at the ticket counter, and speed up the luggage drop-off as you’ll be going directly to security. Most airlines will allow you to check in online between 24 hours and 90 minutes before your flight.
  • A frequent-flyer membership will award you with points each time you fly. Depending on the number of points you accumulate, you can redeem them for a free plane ticket, an upgrade to business or first class, or other rewards. Recently, however, there have been rumors that American Airlines will remove its awards chart and shift to dynamic award pricing.
  • Just because you’re traveling for work reasons doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun. Try to disconnect from the stresses of business and explore the new destination whenever you can.
  • Business trips are usually short and packed with work-related events and activities. To make the most out of your trip, check out these tips.
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