Business travel: five things you need to do
Business travel is exciting. You get to be on the move and meet clients in different parts of the country or even the world. Most of us won’t get that opportunity in travel experiences and human interactions.
However, business travel can be tiring even exhausting at times. Everything about your daily routine is swept away. Long travel days, back-to-back sales calls and lack of sleep will become your new friends.
That’s why you need to plan and prepare well to minimize the impact of the unexpected and exhaustion. Coming from a former road warrior: you need to have a strict discipline and be efficient at every step.
Here are five important factors you need to be aware if you want to survive the job on the road and make the most of it.
Get a separate credit card for your business travel expenses.
Unless your job provides you with one, sign-up to a credit card that you will use exclusively for your business trips. Be disciplined don’t use it for your personal expenses (during travel) such as shopping, magazines or any other purchase you cannot expense.
Why? Because when comes time to filing your expenses report, you won’t have to worry about your personal or household transactions mixing with the rest. Travel expense reports can be lengthy so make it easy for yourself. Believe me, expense reports are rarely fun and they eat-up your time.
TIP: IF YOU’RE GETTING A CREDIT CARD ASK YOUR EMPLOYER TO PAY FOR THE ANNUAL FEE THAT COVERS TRAVEL INSURANCE.
Get a travel rewards credit card
You’re on the road now, so let me welcome you in the wonderful world of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. Yes, it’s a world where you can accrue all kind of points, perks and VIP treatment for being loyal to the same brands when you travel. I will speak of the various programs in the next point.
That’s why you need a travel branded credit card that will enable you to double dip and accelerate miles or points accrual. In Canada, the best travel credit cards are the American Express Gold card, the British Airways RBC Visa card, the Amex SPG card and the RBC Visa Infinite Avion. They have a lot of value such as the British Airways RBC Visa and the American Express Gold Rewards card.
TIP: CHOOSE A TRAVEL REWARDS CREDIT CARD THAT ALLOWS YOU TO DOUBLE DIP YOUR LOYALTY MILES OR POINTS
Sign-up to the main airline and hotel loyalty programs
As you start travelling, your destinations will determine what airline you’ll fly and which hotel to stay at. If you fly domestic, then Air Canada and WestJet will get you to your destinations. You can sign-up to their respective loyalty programs. Make sure you always add your loyalty number in every booking. Try to stick to one of them.
If you have to fly to the US and international you have to be more strategic. See which airline you’ll fly most of the time and sign-up to its loyalty program or one of its alliance partners. Here’s an example: If for some reason you have to fly American Airlines to the US and internationally then instead of signing-up its loyalty program AAdvantage, register with the British Airways Executive Club. Both airlines are in the same alliance oneworld, which means you can accrue British Airways Avios (miles) on all AA flights and vice versa. What’s interesting as a Canadian resident, you can double dip your miles with the British Airways RBC Visa card.
Same goes for hotels. Sign-up to the main hotel chains: Hilton, Marriott et IHG. Keep in mind that your loyalty to a brand will give you many free nights, recognition and VIP treatment. See short video below:
TIP: CONTACT ME IF YOU NEED HELP FIGURING THE BEST COMBINATION FOR YOUR TRAVEL NEEDS
Carry-on and only carry-on
As a business traveller the last thing you want to do is check luggage. You’re allowed a carry-on and a personal bag on board. Both are more than enough for a two-week trip. You will learn to pack efficiently and make the most of your luggage. Make sure you abide by the airline’s carry-on guidelines (size and weight) to avoid a unpleasant surprise at checkin or at the gate. Every airline has it’s own carry-on guidelines.
Also, avoid hardside carry-on luggage. Why? Because they don’t have outer accessories pockets that can be essentiel to store a laptop/electronics, personal stuff or documents. In my opinion, Travelpro makes on of the best carry-on luggage for a decent price (just under $250). Check The Bay stores, thy have an extensive Travelpro luggage offering.
Eat and sleep well
Eating well will be your top concern wen travelling on business. Eating out by default is always less healthy then a homemade meal. A small innocent-looking soup or salad can contain a whole daily intake of salt, fat or sugar. You need to be very disciplined. Avoid junk food, that includes the fancy-looking restaurants that will serve you fancy looking junk food. Research the mums n papas restaurants in the area you’re travelling to. North American cities and suburbs are littered with junk food franchises,: it’s your biggest challenge. This will be your fight against unhealthy weight gain.
Sleeping well requires discipline as well. Longs days and long evenings with clients are exhausting. So you need to make sure you get those 6 to 8 precious hours of sleep. Help yourself by switching off all screens an hour before going to bed. I usually shower an hours before bed and I avoid any screens. I even unplug those alarm clocks with the annoying blue light.
Pack your sports gear
With all the traps, you need to remain active a bit everyday on the road. Thirty minutes a day suffice. Hit the hotel gym. Hotels usually have very decent gyms: treadmills, free weights and mats. If you run, then go out and run. Be disciplined about packing your sports gear, it’s the only way you’ll counter weight gain.
If you can follow these five items then you ‘ll have a great first year of business travel. You’ll become an expert at different stages of your trips one day like this guy 😉