So, does anyone still think business travel is glamorous? Probably not, if they’ve been up in the air anytime recently. Dealing with ever-changing airport security policies, unpredictable flying conditions, and long hours spent on a crammed jetliner can leave you exhausted—just when you need to be in peak condition for an upcoming client presentation.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to ease the ordeal and reach your destination feeling alert and ready to do your job. Here are some seasoned road-warrior tips:
Before You Go
Pack with a plan. How many days will you be away? How much clothing do you think you’ll need? Take items that can be comfortably reused or easily cleaned by drycleaners at your place of destination. Rather than pack your pair of heavy shoes, wear them on the flight (less weight to lug around).
You can’t go anywhere without your smartphone, laptop and other electronic devices, but none of these essential items will be any good if they run out of power. Taking along a single USB charger is a lot more convenient than having to untangle a snake’s-nest of cables later on.
Call the airlines to determine its luggage limit and any restrictions for carry-on baggage. Does your business permit you to select which airline you use? If so, choose one that permits more carry-on luggage.
To avoid getting into a “polite brawl” with fellow passengers over space in the overhead bin, take a bag that can fit easily under your seat. Another option: Take two bags of more or less equal size—one you can tuck beneath your seat and the other made of flexible material to fit into whatever space is available overhead.
Plan ahead for your voicemail and Internet needs. Wireless conditions at your place of destination may be perfect or they may be non-existent. Look into options for staying connected ahead of time—either through your company or by purchasing an international data plan for your handheld devices.
At the Airport and on the Plane
When you arrive at the terminal, go for the best—not necessarily the shortest—security line. Take a few minutes to scope out the work of the personnel in charge. Do they appear efficient or indifferent? Are they going about their duties in a professional manner or chatting up a young lady ahead of you? Also, check out which lines are occupied by parents with young children or travelers with odd-looking luggage that’s begging for inspection. There are no guarantees, but this strategy may save you precious minutes and help you avoid a lot of needless aggravation.
OK. You’re finally through security and the slower-than-molasses boarding process. If you’ve planned ahead, you now have easy access to those items you want to use during the flight—your laptop, toiletries, a book or magazine. Pack these items at the top of your luggage or bring them in a separate, smaller “in-flight” bag.
With a little advance planning and preparation, you’ll be comfortably seated and reading the first chapter of Game of Thrones while all around you, irate fellow passengers are fighting for storage space or frantically searching for that candy bar they packed especially for the trip.