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Business Travel Made Easy

Updated on May 31, 2015

Business Travel Tips From Experience

After several years of traveling for business purposes throughout the USA and Canada, I have accumulated substantial information about several aspects of business travel that can simply go wrong.

In addition to my own travel arrangements, I also assist the athletes and governments of Nigeria and other African nations and sports clubs, along with sporting and church related organizations in India in their travel preparations to America.

During the past decade, I have assisted in planning business travel for hundreds of athletes, family members and associated government dignitaries from overseas and across America in order for them to fulfill lifelong dreams of competing in and coaching for high quality American sponsored martial arts tournaments. Accommodation mistakes and red tape can certainly be a nightmare.

All of this travel requires proper planning and communications, as well as correct navigation of government-related channels of travel between and among nations. While this can be a complex undertaking, here are some effective tips that can help smooth the process in any country.

  • Make sure of definite accommodations at your destination.

A couple of times as I was arriving at a hotel in a city far from home, I went to the front desk only to learn that the hotel had no reservation for me and no idea who I was. On a third occasion, I received bills from two separate hotels, one at which I stayed and one at which I had not stayed and which was not connected with the first hotel.

On a fourth travel adventure, I drove 1,000 miles down through Mississippi and Louisiana in August heat after having confirmed my reservation at the end point by phone three times before leaving home. Still, I arrived in New Orleans to find that there was no reservation for me on the books of my hotel. I drove around for an hour and found another location with a vacancy. Accommodations can certainly be a nightmare.

This all convinced me to use a travel agent. A good travel agent will prevent such reservations Snafus. If you are a regular business traveler, develop a relationship with a good travel agent, if you do not work for a large company that has an excellent business travel department available for its staff.

A travel agent can save you time as well, handling reservations for a flight or train, a hotel and a rental car all at once, as well as all the possible reservation modifications that might be required. Such an agent should also be equipped to find you Frequent-Flyer programs, all sorts of travel discounts, coupons, free services, and special membership benefits.

  • Attend to your nutrition, diet and medical needs.

If you book an airline ticket or long distance train reservation, request a special meal so that you receive individualized service. For example, vegetarian and low-fat/low-salt travel meals are healthier for you on long trips. Lowering salt intake can help prevent some of the effects of jet lag, if you are prone to having that as well. At your destination, avoid fast food restaurants and look for healthy food. The concierge at your hotel should have a good list of recommendations for you. In addition to this, check out Rachel Ray's books on eating good food at reasonable prices in cities around the world. Be sure to avoid eating the heaviest things on the menu and going straight to your room and sleep. You'll be dull the next day and won't want to get up.

If you have prescription medications, ask your doctor for an extra set of prescriptions in case your medications are lost. This is crucial in cases of insulin and other life-saving medications. You may not be able to receive extra prescriptions for addictive medications, though, like pain killers. If you must carry a bee sting kit with you, make sure to take at least two extras. Leave nothing to chance regarding your health.

Alert your physician that you are traveling and on what dates. Make sure that he/she or a medical associate you trust can be reached during your trip for help, if needed, for any life-saving prescriptions or other treatments that may be required. In addition, ask your hotel if they have a physician on staff that could be called upon in an emergency. Even dialysis can be arranged beforehand, if you work with your physician to make solid arrangements and a Plan B in case things go awry.

Vegetarian Airplane Food

  • Make Some Time for Exercise.

A little exercise can go a long way toward keeping you alert on your business travels.

You don't have to awaken at 4:30 AM to do 1,000 pushups, as Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee does, but that's his life-long habit. He sticks to it on the road and he's in his mid-70s and shows no signs of slowing down in his business ventures.

Most hotels offer some sort of recreation and exercise facilities, so take advantage of them, even if just for 15 minutes a day. If that is inconvenient, your hotel may supply exercise equipment to your room and the concierge should have that information. If equipment is not to your liking, you can do 20 minutes of stretches daily. I once taught a weekly stretching class in which the participants lost a pound a week just by stretching!

The surrounding community should be offering short-term fitness club memberships for business travelers, and that is a good option. Further, some of these memberships may be offered free with your hotel stay, through a partnership between the hotel and gym. There are many possibilities.

Cruise ships often provide exercise options.
Cruise ships often provide exercise options.
Jhoon Rhee's Daily Dozen Stretches: Click to Enlarge
Jhoon Rhee's Daily Dozen Stretches: Click to Enlarge

Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee Landmark Movie: When Taekwondo Strikes

Easy, Effective Stretching

  • Remember to sleep.

I always sleep a bit on the airplane or train when I travel, but sometimes it's ahrd to do so, considering sounds and light around you. Jet lag and/or a lack of sleep can adversely affect any business traveler with crankiness and dullness and this could cost you a big account or a new customer.

You can try to adjust to a new time zone at home before traveling by using a second clock set to that particular time. Use this clock and go to bed by that time zone instead of your own for about three days before you leave for your trip. That's one option. If you cannot do this, then be sure to pack earplugs and eyeshades to help you sleep on the train or plane or in your room at the hotel. If you happen to travel north to where it's light outside 24 hours a day for several months a year, ear plugs and sleep shades will really help. You might also wear two watches, one set to your own time zone and one set to the time zone at your destination to keep you organized. This way, you won't be calling your home or office at 3:00 AM.

At your hotel, ask if there is a floor reserved just for business travelers. Many hotels do maintain such a floor. On that floor, you should find several fax machines, telephone lines, copiers, PDAs for temporary use, laptaops you may borrow, and a variety of Internet options; plus, a lot of peace and quiet.

Some hotels offer rooms that are specifically designed to keep out the light and noise with light blocking shades and extra wall insulation. Ask your travel agent to look into this, or ask the reservation clerk when you make your own reservation.

  • Frequent the Local Bed and Breakfast.

Some travelers feel that B&B's are too quaint or too expensive, but neither is the case. More frequently, you will find that B&B's hjave been designed to your business travel needs the world over. Many now offer reduced corporate rates, free in-room Internet service, meeting rooms, lounge areas, and fax machines and other technology. Most B&B's are very comfortable and quiet, away from high traffic areas and schools. Some do not accept children as guests, but encourage business travelers that need a place to relax and concentrate. B&B staff often will run errands for you as well.

  • If You Feel Chatoic In Business Travel, Make Some Changes.

Slow Down.

Long-term constant travel will wear down most people, especially individuals that work in high-pressure occuaptions like sales and fly across the country or the globe every week. There is a related scene in the Bette Midler movie The Rose -- Her character is a rock star that has been on so many planes while on tour that she awakes from a nap and begins crying, because she does not know where she is.

The stress impacting the the body via constant travel, even though you don't feel it, can actually kill you. Unrelieved stress builds up and sometimes results in hypertension and stroke. Traveling in close quarters such as a cramped airliner can cause blood clots in the legs that can travel to the lungs and heart, causing a fatal stoke. This occurred with David Bloom, embedded reporter riding in a tank for long stretches of time in Iraq early in the War in Iraq. It can also occur on long car trips. You ned to take a stretching break often on long trips in order to prevent this.

It is also important to take breaks from traveling altogher, perhaps one week each quarter, in which you do not travel. Traveling across time zones frequently stresses the body as much as changing work shifts daily, as is necessary in the restaurnt business form time to time. Both can result in early death.

Maintain a Reasonable Pace.

Get enougy sleep and plan your time so that you can handle the pace without undo stress that leads not only to illness, but also to bad temper. Use a scheduling tool of some type and don't jam your calendar full. Leave some room for digesting your activities and business events.

The Microsoft Outlook Calendar is very useful and will remind you with a message when events or assignments are coming due. I use it to remind myself of meetings and classes regularly. Handheld PDA planners are also good, and the planning notebook is still used by many people. This could be a Day Timer or a Franklin Covery branded notebook. I like to keep an electronic schedule and carry a small planning notebook with the same schedule recorded as well.

Stay in Communication with Home and Office.

Don't burn the candle at both ends -- See Job Burnout: Definition, Prevention and Treatment

Over-work may result in good short-term business achievements, but will lead ultimately to illness and burnout in yourself and alienation of your coworkers, supervisors, clients and your family and friends over the long term. While away on bsuness, call the office and home to check in and say a pleasant hello. Don't argue over the phone or via email. Saty upbeat. Also make sure your office knows exactly where you are and how to reach you in case of emergencies, either business or personal.

Wheelchair Travel Tips

© 2007 Patty Inglish


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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great tips on how to travel well for business in this hub. Very useful and informative. Voted up!

    • hi friend profile image

      hi friend 5 years ago from India

      very interesting hub

    • profile image

      Business Models 6 years ago

      Enjoyed the hub, Thanks.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks, Daniel. I was required to do a lot of writing for each of my black belt dan exams (9), as well as for graduate school. Hubpages helps polish it all.

    • danieltetreault profile image

      danieltetreault 9 years ago from Nanaimo, British Columbia Canada

      Ms Inglish I continue to enjoy not only your up-to-date, original content, but your wonderful writing style - it flows so well. Great Hub. Daniel

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Yes, I like Hub pages a lot for this alone, besides fun and information.

    • svetoslav profile image

      svetoslav 9 years ago

      A great guide! HubPages seems like a nice platform. One page - one guide - straight to the point. And it gets indexed by Google pretty well.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Well, that's pretty encouraging, SunSeven.

      I think Hub Pages could provide more good information than Wikepedia in the future, considering all the good Hubbers I've met! :)

    • SunSeven profile image

      SunSeven 10 years ago from Singapore / India

      You are doing very well Patty, most of your hubs are a reference guide in itself. :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for the kind comments, Guru-C and SunSeven!

      I feel that I am getting the hang of Hubbing to a greater extent; some of my first entries were kind of :)

    • SunSeven profile image

      SunSeven 10 years ago from Singapore / India

      Wow!. What a great Hub. A perfect candidate for the Flagship Hub. (In fact most of your hubs are!)

      Best Regards.

    • Guru-C profile image

      Cory Zacharia 10 years ago

      Very comprehensive guide!