Leisure travel is something most of us look forward to – a fun vacation, visiting friends and family, a time to relax. But when we’re traveling for work it’s not quite the same. Packing (and then of course unpacking), airport security and flying, hotel check-ins, etc, feels stressful and like a chore. Chances are, you’ll probably have to travel for work at some point. So we’ve got some tips that we hope will make these work trips more enjoyable and something you may even look forward to!
Be Ready to Go
Double check your itinerary details (flight times, airports, layover details, airport and car rental information) the day before you fly. This is something you should do as soon as you get your travel booked, but you should do it again the day before you leave just to make sure everything is in order. Did you know the airline can deny boarding if your ID and the name on your ticket don’t match exactly? If you aren’t renting a car, is there a free shuttle to your hotel? Do you have directions to your hotel or first stop after leaving the airport? These are things that are better done while in the comfort of your own home or office when you aren’t juggling luggage and time constraints. On the day of travel try and wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off to speed up security checks.
Carry-on is the key to traveling smart and stress free. You won’t have to worry about your bag getting lost since you are in control of your bags the whole time. And this means less time waiting around the airport for your luggage. Pack toiletries with less and 3.4 oz of liquid in a clear bag to speed up security checks, following the 3-1-1 rule (3.4 oz. for liquids, in one 1 qt transparent, plastic, sealable bag).
Getting the Best Seats
Where you sit on an aircraft can really make a difference on how enjoyable (or not enjoyable) a flight is. Particularly on a long flight you don’t want to get stuck next to the bathroom or in the middle seat all the way in the back. There are some great websites out there that help you pinpoint the best and worst seats on a plane (www.seatguru.com is a popular one). If you can reserve your seats at the time of purchase do so, but if it’s not an ideal seat check back often. The reserved seats open and close all the time, particularly in last few days before departure.
Speed Through Lines
Some people may say the worst thing about air travel is just getting through what could be a long security or customs line at the airport. There’s not much worse than showing up with no time to spare and seeing a mile long line for TSA or customs. There are some solutions, however, to make this much easier and faster.
Check in online – that’s one less line to have to stand in at the airport. Generally you can check in 24 hours in advance by using your name and confirmation number or ticket number. Once checked in, if you weren’t able to previously, you can often reserve seats at that time. Putting a reminder on your calendar is a good way to make sure you get as close to the 24 hour in advance mark as you can.
For TSA: TSA Pre✓® is an expedited security screening program connecting travelers departing from airports within the United States with smarter security. Lines are shorter, quicker, and there is no need to remove: shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts, or light jackets! There is an $85 fee so if you don’t travel much this may not be worth it, but for those who travel often you will probably find this is money well spent. For more information: https://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck
For Customs: Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Again, there is a pricey fee ($100) so if you don’t travel internationally much this might not be worth it to you. To apply: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/how-apply
Traveling for business isn’t always easy, but hopefully these tips can help guarantee smoother sailing (or flying in most cases). Two more things that can’t be discounted – stay positive and give yourself plenty of time. Happy traveling!