Business travel occurs when you travel for work or business purposes to attend corporate-related events or complete professional assignments. That’s why corporate travellers typically meet with clients or remote teams, and attend conferences, summits, events, etc.
And since the market value of the business travel industry is expected to grow by 188% between 2020 and 2028, we’ve prepared 14 business travel tips to help you travel smarter and easier.
Business travel tips to follow before your trip
In the weeks before heading on your business trip, there are a lot of elements to check on your list. The most important tips for business travel are:
1. Know your company’s business travel policy
Before booking a business trip or doing anything practical, you should read through your company’s business travel policy. This way, you ensure you’re doing everything right and by the book.
Also called a travel and expense policy, it details the proper procedure for booking flights and hotel rooms, submitting business expenses for reimbursement and more.
The guidelines should explain if your company can provide you with a business credit card to pay for your expenses or if you’re required to book your flight with one specific airline. The policy should also inform you about how much you’re allowed to spend (on meals, transportation, hotels, etc.), and which approval process you’re expected to follow.
2. Check with IT if you’re all set to work remotely
If you’re not used to working remotely, it’s a good idea to check with your company’s IT services whether you’re all set to work from a different location. This might mean you need a VPN to connect securely to your network. Before leaving, make sure your IT equipment is working without any problems.
A few cyber security recommendations when travelling for business are:
- If you need to work from a public network, keep your firewall on
- Make sure your antivirus is up to date
- Use a screen privacy protector on your laptop
- Don’t share confidential information on the phone, if you’re calling from a public space
- Don’t leave your IT equipment unsupervised
3. Pick your accommodation carefully
If you’re travelling for work, a good business travel tip is to pick the accommodation that suits your business needs.
Here are some elements to take into consideration:
- Check in your company travel policy if there are any criteria you should respect when choosing your accommodation
- Consider whether it’s preferable to stay close to your working location or close to the airport
- Make sure the hotel or apartment you’re staying at has a reliable WiFi connection
- Check if the accommodation has a laundry service, especially for a longer stay
- Save some time by choosing an accommodation close to food establishments, so you’ll gain some time by not having to look for a place to have dinner
- Ensure the accommodation is quiet enough during the night, so you can get all the necessary sleep during your business trip
- Opt for an accommodation that has round-the-clock reception service, in case your flight is delayed
One of many business travel hacks is to book your entire stay at the same hotel, as you can participate in a rewards programme, accumulate points and get extra benefits.
4. Book a direct flight
For frequent business travellers, booking most of your flights with the same airline is a smart way of accumulating miles and receiving great perks.
One of the most common corporate travel tips is to try avoiding layovers by booking direct flights. This will minimise the possibility of you missing your connecting flight and ending up being late for some important work appointments.
If you can’t avoid layovers, we recommend leaving at least 3 hours between two flights.
Also take into consideration that long-haul flights can leave you jet-lagged, so you might need to arrive one day early to adjust to the local time zone.
5. Pack smart
A smart business travel tip is to gain some time at the airport if you’re going for just a few days: pack carry-on luggage to skip the check-in and baggage claim steps – and avoid the risk of your bag getting lost.
Invest in a sturdy four-wheel suitcase – as those are the easiest ones to travel with – and a robust backpack with compartments to organise your essentials for business travel, like important documents and your laptop.
There are many packing tips you should consider, but some of the most important ones are:
- Pack your bags the day before your trip to avoid forgetting something important or getting stressed
- If you’re a frequent business traveller, always have a toiletry and medicine bag ready so you don’t have to pack and unpack them every time you travel
- Pack light by being realistic on the amount of clothes you’ll actually need
Here are the business trip essentials you shouldn’t forget:
For your backpack:
- A power bank, in case your phone runs out of battery
- Your laptop and its charger
- Your toiletry bag
- Your passport and a backup ID
- Some cash, your credit card and a backup credit card
- An e-reader
- Noise-cancelling headphones and an eye mask
- A water bottle
For your carry-on luggage:
- Office and leisure clothes
- A suit bag, so you’re ready to jump into professional clothes before your first meeting
- Medicine and supplements
- A multi-plug adapter
- A bag for dirty clothes
- A lint roller
If you’re taking a short-haul flight, we recommend wearing your suit jacket on the plane. This will save a lot of space in your suitcase and avoid any wrinkles.
6. Make sure your identity document isn’t expired
You don’t want to miss your business trip because of an expired identity document, so check regularly if your ID or passport’s expiration date is approaching.
It’s also a good idea to always have a copy of your identity document with you, as it will facilitate the administrative procedures in case of emergency.
If you’re going to travel somewhere a visa is required, don’t forget to check in due time in your company’s travel policy if you should apply for it yourself or if that’s your company’s responsibility.
Also don’t forget to check for any Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions: be prepared to show your vaccination status and have masks at hand.
Business travel tips to follow while travelling
When you start your business travel, you also need to keep in mind a few key business travel tips. These are:
7. Plan how you’re going to get to and from the airport
You can plan on reaching the airport via public transportation, taxi or private/rental car. In any case, it’s good practice to check for your itinerary beforehand.
If your company covers the cost, make sure you have your taxi to and from the airport booked before your trip. It can be a more comfortable option than going with your own vehicle or by public transportation – it will save you a lot of commuting time or the hassle of finding a parking space for your own car at the airport.
If booking a taxi isn’t the best option because you want to have more freedom, renting a car might be the way to go.
8. Enjoy your time at the airport
A useful tip for business travel: use one of the airport lounges. There, you can enjoy free food and drinks, do some work if you need to or simply relax before your flight.
There are several ways you can access a lounge for free.
- You can get an American Express Platinum card in order to become a member of Priority Pass and get access to airport lounges worldwide. You’ll get other benefits such as skipping the security line at the airport and buying free food and drink in some airport shops.
- If you frequently fly with the same airline, you can become a member of their loyalty programme and get free lounge access to that particular airline’s lounge as a benefit.
If you aren’t eligible for these options, you can always pay for one-time access.
9. Use travel apps
Travel apps can help you make business journeys easier than ever before by removing the need to print out all your documents. You can learn more about which apps can help you make your business travel easier.
10. Keep track of your expenses
Speaking of expenses – if you don’t have a company credit card and you need to pay upfront, make sure you keep all your receipts and either upload them in an expense tool or take pictures to keep them as a copy. This will ensure that you can submit all your receipts for reimbursement in your company’s expense tool once you’re back from your trip.
Before spending any money that your company might not reimburse, make sure you read through the company’s travel policy to know how much you’re allowed to spend on meals, drinks, etc.
11. Don’t forget about your health
To make the most of your business trip, pay attention to the following:
- Make sure you get enough sleep
- Get some steps in by walking to your office instead of taking a cab, or use the hotel’s gym facilities if you have time
- Mind what you eat
- Drink plenty of water
Also, don’t forget to pack your usual medicine (be ready to present your doctor’s prescription if needed) and supplements, so you can keep your daily routine.
12. Have fun
Travelling for work doesn’t have to be just about work, it can also be fun. If it works well with your schedule, try to combine business with leisure by extending your stay: explore the city and its surroundings and discover the local culture.
Business travel tips for after travelling
Once you return to the office after your business trip is over, there are a few things you should do to make sure you end your trip the right way and capitalise on the connections you made.
13. File your expense report
Once you’re back at the office, don’t delay filing your expense report. The more you wait, the more you might forget about things or even miss a submission deadline.
Make sure to file your report properly:
- Input the exact amount, don’t round up
- Attach copies of receipts
- Don’t expense personal expenses
14. Stay in touch
Have you met new clients, coworkers or potential partners during your trip? Just because your business trip has come to an end doesn’t mean the work for you and your company stops there.
Some ways you can stay in touch:
- Send them an email to thank them for their time
- Share some notes about your meetings and underline any action item or idea you agreed upon
- Connect on LinkedIn
Travelling for business is a very effective way of boosting your connections and your company’s business. Although it's important to stay focused on corporate matters, don’t forget to enjoy your time away.