Are you a frequent business traveler? Read these tips from four frequent travelers who know how to make the most of life on the road.
Touching down in a different city every week is a reality for many American workers who made a combined 462 million business trips in 2017 alone. When business travel is one of the requirements of your job, planning for trips can feel like its own full-time career. Between booking flights, hotels, rental cars, client entertainment, planning meals, packing your bag, and making sure you arrive rested and ready to tackle your trip’s objectives, there’s an art to a successful business trip.
We turned to a few frequent travel veterans – four small business owners or professionals who travel monthly for work and are members of Hertz Business Rewards – for their best advice and tips. Read on to discover how these frequent travelers make business travel work for them.
Remember to Bring the Essentials
Depending on your line of work, the essential items you pack for business travel are probably different than someone else’s, but there’s one item that all business travelers agree is universally needed – a cell phone charger.
“A phone charger and Bose headphones are always the first things on my list,” says Dr. John Davila, President and CEO of Custom Chirosolutions.
A few other electronics also top Dr. Davila’s packing list. “I always bring an extension cord and HDMI to make it easier to charge more than one phone near my bed and to stream my local TV channels to the TV in my hotel room.”
Jennifer Newton, owner of Jennifer Newton Consulting, never forgets to bring the tool she uses for dealing with stress.
“I always have a book of Sudoku with me. They are great for calming nerves because when you work a Sudoku puzzle you can’t really think of anything else,” she says.
Before every trip, create a checklist of the items that are necessary for you to do business on the road, and double-check it as you pack.
Avoid Checking Luggage, and Pack Your Carry-On Efficiently
One of the best ways to avoid stress during business travel is to be proactive and efficient – and that’s especially true with your luggage. If you can avoid checking your bag, you can eliminate the risk of dealing with lost luggage and immediately cut out the extra time of weighing, tagging, and picking up your bag in baggage claim. Bonus: most airlines don’t charge for carry-on bags, a small savings which can add up over time.
When you’re only bringing a carry-on, packing it efficiently is key. If your business trip is like most, it’s probably only a few days, so you’ll only need a few outfits. Packing by outfit allows you to avoid over-packing and only bring what you’ll actually wear. When it comes to clothes, many travelers are devotees of the “roll-don’t-fold” rule – the central idea being that rolling your clothes allows you to maximize the space in your suitcase by filling the bag from edge-to-edge.
Many frequent travelers also swear by packing cubes, which allow you to divide all your clothes into several small, organized cases that compress your belongings. Whether it’s rolling, folding, packing cubes, or a combination of all techniques, finding a packing method that works for you will help you to save time and easily prepare for your next trip.
Sign Up for Loyalty Rewards with Your Favorite Travel Brands
If you find yourself flying, renting, or staying with a particular brand often, it pays to sign up for their rewards program. Do your research and be sure to sign up for both individual rewards programs, and have your company enroll in business rewards programs with the brands you travel with frequently.
Rewards programs often allow you to accrue points that you can exchange for free rentals, flights, or hotel nights. Hertz’s rewards program for individuals, Gold Plus Rewards, allows you to earn free rental days with points that don’t expire, and Hertz’s loyalty program for businesses, Hertz Business Rewards, gives companies a competitive rate on rentals, access to convenient rental pickups, and additional partner benefits.
Dr. Davila’s company is enrolled in Hertz Business Rewards. “For me, it is all about ‘time,’” he says. “Because Hertz gets me on my way to where I need to go quicker, they get my business. Being President’s Circle and getting to choose any car doesn’t hurt either.”
Jennifer Newton, owner of Jennifer Newton Consulting, explains that she’s chosen the same brands for business travel for over 20 years.
“I started renting from Hertz back in 1995 when I became a Marriott Elite member and they were partners,” Jennifer says. “I quickly achieved Gold status and that kept me coming back. Now I have been President’s Circle for at least 10 years.”
Avoid Stress by Booking Direct Flights and Arriving Early
Airline travel can be unpredictable, but one way to avoid delays and unnecessary flight obstacles is to book direct flights whenever possible. Although flights with connections might be cheaper, each connection increases your total travel time and adds another variable for complications. The downside of flying nonstop is that there are typically fewer times and flight choices, so it might not always fit your work schedule – but if it does, frequent travelers agree that it’s almost always worth it.
Arriving at the airport with plenty of time to spare is another easy way to start or end your trip with as little stress as possible. Mike Harbison, owner of MEH & Associates, explains why he arrives early.
“I always give myself plenty of time because I want to take the stress out of traveling by going to a club first and spending 30 to 60 minutes there,” Mike says.
Unless you like taking risks, a general rule of thumb is to arrive two hours early if you’re checking bags, or 90 minutes early if you’re traveling with carry-on luggage only. For international flights, play it safe by arriving three hours before departure.
Find a Jetlag Remedy That Works for You
When traveling for business, sometimes your meetings can take you abroad – which means that along with the fun of being in a new country, you might be introduced to an inconvenience known as jetlag. What are the best ways to combat this onset of exhaustion? All four of our frequent business travelers agree that sleep is the best remedy.
Jim Spitzer, Director of Marketing at Dale Medical Products, takes it a step further with his advice. “The best thing is to try and keep meals and sleep according to local time,” Jim says.
Jim’s advice coincides with a popular theory that has recently been circulated by scientists: To avoid or lessen jetlag, try fasting during the duration of your flight and then eating a meal promptly when you arrive. This can help reset not only your hunger but your sleep cycle as well.
When all else fails, taking a supplement that includes Melatonin can be a great aide to help you get the sleep that you need.
If you or your employees are frequent business travelers, think outside the car with Hertz Business Rewards, our loyalty program for small to mid-sized businesses. Signing up is free, and businesses can unleash the full power of Hertz with access to over 9,000 rental locations, our best fleet ever, 24/7 support, a FedEx discount, Delta SkyBonus Rewards, and so much more.