Tips for Global Business Travel

Waiting in line for security, running through terminals to catch your flight, and living out of a suitcase are just some of the many reasons that business travel does not seem so glamorous.  Traveling internationally for business is not easy, and you have enough stress with a regular work-week of client meetings, presentations and events. Whether you are traveling for business or for pleasure, traveling can be grueling, so we have put together a list of important travel tips here to ease your travels and make the experience a bit more enjoyable.

Avoid checking bags

If you don’t check a bag, you can check-in for your flight online and head right to the security check-point.  Travel is much easier when you don’t have to worry about a lost bag, and you won’t have to wait for baggage when you land.  Most airlines allow a personal item (purse, laptop bag, etc.) in addition to a carry-on bag.  What many people don’t realize is you can also pack a small “café bag” with a meal or snacks, as long as it passes through the security check-point.

Keep a bag packed

To make packing easier, designate one of your carry-on bags as your dedicated toiletry bag.  In the bag, include duplicates such as deodorant, toothpaste and a toothbrush, but avoid toiletries you know your hotel will have such as shampoo.  Having duplicates will lessen the chance of forgetting those essentials at home.  Also keep spare chargers for all electronics, copies of your ID and passport, and an extra pair of socks and underwear.  For other ideas of what to pack in your designated duplicate bag, check out this list

Order a special meal

If you are on a flight that serves a meal, you can place a special order ahead of time.  Requesting a special meal such as vegetarian, diabetic, or kosher will most likely mean that they will serve you first, meaning you can get to work or to sleep quicker.  Check with your airline’s food menu for specific options.

Be familiar with international business etiquette

Not every country runs the same way, what might be considered polite in one place may seem offensive in another.  Make sure if you are traveling to a new location that you are aware of the culture especially when it comes to business.  In China, for example, it is considered a nice gesture to bring a small gift from your hometown or country.  However, avoid gifting a clock in China because the pronunciation of this phrase in Chinese is the same pronunciation as sending someone off to his after-life.  Refer to this article for other cultures from more countries.

Stay healthy

Boost your immune system by beginning to take Vitamin-C a few days before your flight to help fight any airborne germs.  Pack a travel-sized hand sanitizer bottle for instances where a sink to wash your hands is not accessible.  Bring your own pillow on the flight, regular sleep will keep you feeling your best, and by using your own pillow, you avoid any germs lingering on the pillows that the airline provides.

Pack some leisure clothes

You probably won’t be in business clothes for your entire trip, so you don’t want to forget some clothes for relaxing, going out, or going to the gym. But try to dress well when you are flying, so that if your flight has a delay, you won’t end up in jeans at your meeting.

Don’t mistake “direct” flights for “non-stop” flights.

The difference is that a direct flight might still stop even if you don’t switch planes.  If you do have a layover in an airport but don’t have access to airline lounges, you can find an airport privacy haven to spend your time in.

Apply for Global Entry

Global Entry is a program through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) which allows accelerated clearance through an automated kiosk for those who have been pre-approved.  The applicants for Global Entry have to go through a background check and interview before acceptance.  If you travel internationally frequently, Global Entry is a great program what will save you a lot of time, but it is important to note that this is only offered in the U.S. and members could still be selected for further examination while entering the U.S.

Being away from home for work is already hard enough.  Use these tips to make these trips more enjoyable.  Do you have a favorite must-have piece of luggage?  Or some good ideas for staying healthy while traveling? Share your tips and ideas in the comments below!

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