Not as glamorous as it sounds!
Let me take a step back.
For the last 16 years or so I have worked with or for or looking after large US multinational enterprise software companies. And I’ve looked after multiple regions.
So living in Australia where the population is small and the distance is large and we are somewhere off in the middle of no-wehre between the Pacific, Indian and Great Southern ocean’s, this equates to TRAVEL and lot’s of it.
Don’t get me wrong, there are perks. I live a fair way from my extended family and work travel means I get to see them more frequently than I other wise would, I get to stay in some nice hotels, I get to rack up frequent flyer points and loyalty points and I eat at some really cool restaurants.
I also get to spend days away from my partner, leave home at 3am to catch an early flight, get home at 11pm after the last flight, break out of my daily schedule, have to catch up on my day to day tasks, do loads of paperwork to get expenses reimbursed, get sick more often from travelling, pack, unpack, pack again; have flights cancelled so I miss international connecting flights, spend 14 hours cooped up in economy in the middle seat, spend my nights talking shop with strangers and have to stay awake the next day for 8 hours of powerpoint presentations…and do this 5 days in a row!
Being on the road can certainly take it’s toll and looking after customers in Vegas is a lot less glamorous the 6th time round than it was the first!
So what are some tips to make it work?
1. Frequent Flyer Programs
‘The key thing for business travel is frequent flier programs,’ says Anne Banas, Executive Editor of Smart Travel. ‘You want to be brand loyal so you can get that elite status and have access to more perks and upgrades.’
If you don’t want to marry yourself to one airline or hotel chain for infinity, Banas recommends at least getting a rewards credit card that lets you rack up points and miles no matter which company you choose to do business with.
Always choose a non-stop where possible – take my recent trip to san francisco for a conference. I decided to go via LA (I know, I know) rather than direct. My San Fran to LA connection was cancelled at 9pm (4 hours after scheduled take off) hence requiring an extra night in San Fran and a miss flight to Sydney. On the upside had some great Zinfandel’s in the Crowne Plaza bar with some newly made friends in the same predicament – courtesy of American Airlines.
If a short trip go carry-on only to save time and effort. I know speaking as a woman this can be hard (although I’m pretty sure some of the males in our office will struggle fitting in their hair product!). If you checkin in online you land at the airport and breeze right through security and straight on to the plane (Ok that good timing was really a case of me all being almost late but I literally got out of the car, walked through security and out the gate to the plane in five minutes – I prefer to think f it as precision timing!)
4. Pick your queue
This is more of an art than a science. The best line is usually not the shortest one. Two things to check are the efficiency of the personnel manning the line and the mix of travelers ahead of you. Several things to watch out for include families with small children, unconventional luggage which will likely be inspected, and anyone who looks like they haven’t been in an airport security line in the last 10 years. Picking right can save you literally hours if you travel often. For humorous look at this situation, check out this clip from Up in the Air
5. Exercise or get outdoors after International Flights
The best thing is Vitamin D (In the form of sunshine), get some exercise in and get outside…works for me every time. Also try to adjust your times as soon as possible to the local time and try to eat healthy and reduce alcohol intake as much as possible.
6. There’s an App for that.
Get a travel itinerary app such as Tripit, which allows you to enter all your travel details (or email your itinerary to have it entered for you. You can check flight status and info, seat info, and organise all your travel in one spot.
Have you got any travel tips that make work travel just that little bit easier?