It’s one of the best things about my life as a business person – having the opportunity to travel, to explore and to see new places. So, I admit, a meeting room in an office block in one country can sometimes look pretty much like a meeting room in any other – the same goes for hotels – but I still love the having the chance to live and work in different places.
It keeps you fresh, and it appeals to my sense of curiosity about different cultures and what makes people tick. But I’m also aware that travelling can be a real pain for many people. Having a global role means I’ve now managed to get much of it down to a fine art – like those commuters you see on the Underground in London who know where to stand on the train in order to be close to the exit they need on the platform at the next station, I’ve picked up plenty of little tricks along the way to make the whole business travelling experience a little easier. So here are just a few that I thought I would share with you.
Delete your cookies before you try and book
Cookies are small files which end up being stored on your computer once you’ve visited a site. The idea behind them is that they contain a small amount data that is specific to you about the way that you have used the site previously – and so the next time you visit the experience you have will be more tailored to your needs. Which is fine, if you’re happy to share that information – and cookies can help to save you time on websites you visit often and will help to offer you an experience that is more useful to you.
Where they aren’t helpful however is when you’re trying to get a good deal on your travel arrangements. The deals that airlines and other travel companies offer new visitors to their sites are often different to the ones that they show to people who have visited them before – as a return customer there is less reason for them to try and tempt you with great deals. So, delete your cookies from your web browser before you try and book, be a new user every time, and there’s a good chance you may be offered a wider range of deals than before.
Don’t lose power
A power strip (one of those long plug sockets with lots of outlets), loads of chargers and adapters and some power banks for when you’re out and about are all essential. The power strip is a big help if you’re at conference or a meeting and there’s only one socket available – if you’ve got a couple of things you need to run or charge you’ll be glad of the extra power outlets. Chargers and adapters are clearly essentials too, but I’m also a big fan of the portable power-banks that you can use to quickly charge your phone up without plugging into the mains. Just make sure you remember to charge the power-bank itself up before you head off!
Have a travel wash bag that is always ready to go
Having to remember all your essentials – whether its shaving kit, toothbrushes or deodorant, every time you go away is just asking for trouble. You will almost certainly forget something, and it can be an expensive business – and a hassle – buying things at the last minute in the airport. So, have a travel wash bag ready and packed with reusable bottles filled with whatever it is you need to take with you, as well as travel versions of everything else you’ll need. Have all of the essentials in there, don’t take them out when you’re not travelling, and you’ll have nothing to remember when you do go away.
Email all your important documents to yourself before you leave
Most of the confirmations you’ll get as a traveler now will be via email, but just make sure you have all of it accessible just in case your baggage gets lost en route. I also tend to take screenshots on my phone of important documents (or download them onto it) so that I can access the information I need (such as the address of my hotel) even if there is no WiFi. It’s also well worth doing this with any maps you need too – you can’t always rely on having access to the internet, so storing them on your phone is a wise precaution.
My final tip is simply to talk to people. I’ve met some remarkable and fascinating people over the years while I’ve been travelling, and I don’t regret starting a single conversation. Travelling – even for business – is always an opportunity to broaden your horizons.