I know that there are plenty of blogs about traveling. But I wish someone has told me few things about business travels before I had to discover them by myself.
Generally, I love travelling and have been doing it for quite some time now. However, for about 5 years I was doing it for business. And those kind of travels are very different to the leisure ones. So, how to travel on business and don’t stress too much about it.
The preparations are not to be underestimated. There is nothing worse than to find out you have to travel just a couple of days in advance and not to be ready. Hence few handy tricks below.
I have one that has been travelling with me for more than a decade now. And it’s always ready, I don’t even empty it entirely anymore. I just check if anything needs topping up. Sometimes, depending on my destination I might add or take something out, like sunscreen or face mask.
Truth be told I think I have about 4 of them. One where I live, one in the toiletry bag, one at my parent’s place and one at the summer cottage. That guarantees me that I won’t ever forget the basics. I do the same with toothpaste, but here I have also the option of sizes, for short and long trips – fantastic thing is to get samples from your dentist and you’re set.
You can buy these now, at least in the UK and probably in many other countries. In the old days I used to use the bottles I have taken from hotels, their size is normally way below 100ml so they are perfect for refilling and hand luggage.
I have one pair of black smart shoes with a small heel that are for work only. I always keep them in the suitcase, either in a box or loosely packed. I only take them out for a clean and a polish. And because I don’t use them every day they serve me much longer. Plus I’m not the kind of person that needs different shoes with different outfits, simple and black, they go with everything.
Similarly to my shoes I also have some bits of clothing that are work only or even business travel only. After I get back home they are washed or dry cleaned straight away, pressed and waiting in the wardrobe for the next trip. Of course, if you know your travelling area has different climate zones, you can be prepared for that as well.
So called research
Be it holiday or business, you don’t want to have unpleasant surprises coming your way. I always check my hotels online. Do they provide a hair dryer, free internet, an iron, a kettle, do they have a gym, a swimming pool etc.? Every country is different and so are the hotels. Most places in Germany don’t have an iron for security reasons, but they will do it for you, for a charge of course. In Central Europe on the other hand it’s difficult to get a kettle, and if you’re as addicted to tea as I am, that could be a problem. Or internet can be chargeable. So, I do prefer to know what I can expect.
There are plenty of them on the market, so I'm only listing some of my favourites.
TripAdvisor: very handy and I probably don’t have to explain it to those who already use it. Figure out where to eat or what to do in your spare time.
Expedia/Booking.com/Airbnb (and others): there are plenty of different ways to book your hotels or flights, whichever you choose, make sure you have their app on your phone and that it can work offline if need be.
GoogleMaps: best maps on the market, and I tried few.
PackPoint: very handy little thing. You type in the destination, date, duration and what you intent to do and it spits out a suggested packing list that you can tick off one by one. For a small charge you can also customize and save those lists for the future.
Priority Pass: even if you’re not a member it’s practical to have a list of vip lounges in case you need a nap, rest or a quick shower somewhere in the world.
Skyscanner: although I don’t book with it, I always check for various options with this little app.
CamScanner: perfect for scanning documents. Handy if you have to deliver receipts to your finance department while you’re away. Great for any other scans as well.
Spending: good tool to keep an eye on your budget. You can choose your currency and add new spending categories if needed.
Cash Passport: not really an app, rather a cash card. Useful if your have to use different currencies during your travels. You can pay in 100 pounds for instance and then have that in Euros or dollars.
Heathrow: this is of course just an example. It’s useful to have an app on your phone for the airports that you use most.
Trainline: again, this is just an example, handy to have an app that allows you to check timetables and book trains in any given country.
Everplaces: very useful application if you know you might be coming back to the same place regularly. You can save comments and snippets about hotels, restaurants and any places of interest you visited.
Polarsteps: this one is more for private use. It saves all the places you visited, it counts days, travelled kilometres and countries. The app also allows you to save pictures and for a charge you can order a printed album.
Geospike: this one is similar, but it doesn’t save anything automatically, you have to mark the places yourself.
Been: very simple and fantastic for country counting people. I’m at 49 currently, hoping to go over 50 very soon.
WorldMate: fantastic app and unfortunately no longer available in the app store. You can still use if you had it but it’s no longer downloadable. I hope someone comes up with a similar app soon. It sees all your itinerary’s reference numbers: flights, hotels, trains, car rentals etc. So, you don’t have to fluff about with print outs or emails but you have all in one place. One stop app as they say.