Frequent flyers are never in the same place for long, spending more time in cars, airports and hotels than at home. Through their experiences, they have gained travel knowledge that non-frequent travelers are unaware of. With that said, it is never a bad idea to turn to the experts for additional travel tips.
Both having traveled to numerous locations, Lea Lane and Peter Shankman know a thing or two about travel. Lane, travel writer, blogger and photographer, has been to over 128 countries and answers some questions as she is embarks on another trip – in this case, a road trip. Shankman, author, founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc. and travel aficionado, speaks to audiences all over the world about his expertise in business.
1. Know where you’re going
One of the most important travel tips concerns what you should do before you leave. When it comes to international business travel, Lane suggests, “Air on the side of caution even if you are a little bit of a risk-taker.” When you are going to travel somewhere you are not familiar with, it is best to be careful and avoid drawing a lot of attention to yourself. Taking the time to research the area and learn about the customs and culture will help make your trip go smoothly.
Lane points out, “You shouldn’t travel without having some idea of where you are. You have to do your homework.” Without acquiring any knowledge beforehand, there is a good chance you will be confused and frustrated while abroad. And finding out more about any topic, person or location is easier than ever thanks to technology. Lane recommends taking a look at the government’s website as well as print out the information you find, so you can always refer back to it if need be.
2. Less is more
Traveling light is actually much easier than many people are led to believe. Although most frequent flyers are already aware that less it more when it comes to packing, it can be still difficult at times to decide what to pack. Many tend to bring more than necessary. Shankman emphasizes that you do not need as many clothes as you think: “Unless you’re flying to a war zone, everywhere has laundry, dry cleaning, and suit pressing. One suit and two shirts is more than enough for a week.” And the same goes for footwear. He suggests that two pairs of shoes are all you need (even for women!) Once you realize how little is required to pack for your trip, fitting everything into one carry-on bag will become second nature.
3. Uncover your jetlag remedy
One of the most dreaded factors concerning travel is jetlag; for some people, it takes a lot of time before they get used to a new time zone. However, everyone reacts and adjusts to jetlag differently. Lane recommends staying hydrated as well as resetting your watch in order to “get into the time zone as soon as you can.” She also recommends that travelers “go a day ahead, so you can sleep more at first.” This way, you will be able to catch up on some shuteye without missing a beat.
Shankman couldn’t agree more. He states that sleep is crucial and recommends going to bed early on your arrival day in order to make sure your body gets enough rest. “Whenever you land, go to the hotel and immediately workout,” he suggests. “That could be a run, a weight-training session, something to get the endorphins flowing.” Again, jetlag affects people in various ways, so trying out several tips and tricks can help you discover the recipe for defeating jetlag that works best for you. Some people may feel better if they take it easy the first day or so while others need to be active as soon as they arrive. But one thing is for sure, getting enough sleep on your trip is critical.
4. Consider the long-haul
Some frequent flyers absolutely hate taking long-haul flights because they get stuck on an airplane for what seems like endless hours. However, as exhausting and intimidating as it can be, taking a long-haul flight does have some advantages, especially when it comes to work. Completing work assignments while traveling is something business travelers already know is doable. Moreover, having to switch airplanes on a connecting flight could be more of an interruption than a break in some people’s eyes. “For me, it’s about long-haul/non-connects,” Shankman explains. “In other words, fourteen hours from EWR to NRT is more than enough to write 25 blog posts, or four chapters in a new book. The key is to sit down, pull out the laptop, and get to work until you touch down.”
Having to sit on an airplane for hours on end can be grueling, but if you take a look at the list of tasks you need to complete, figuring out what to do to keep yourself busy may not be as difficult as you would initially think.
5. Determine your hotel must-haves
This is definitely one of the most important travel tips because business travelers stay at many hotels and motels in countless locations. After a while, you start to discover what you should look for in a hotel. Maybe you prefer a hotel with a spa or pool. Maybe security is your number one priority. Lane notes that everyone is going to have their own preferences when it comes to choosing a hotel, saying that “different people have different needs.” However, she looks to stay somewhere “safe, clean and comfortable.” As stated before, always do your research when it comes to where you are traveling to; that includes the hotel or motel you are going to be staying at.
Plus, once you find a hotel, and airline, that you like, you can sign up for their loyalty programs so you can earn points and miles in order to receive awesome upgrades. As Shankman points out, “Stay loyal to one airline, and you’ll AMAZED how quickly you can get whatever you want.”
6. Don’t forget how lucky you are
There are going to be times when you just do not want to go to your next destination. Nevertheless, every business traveler should take a moment and realize how easy they have it. Years ago, before smartphones and tablets, traveling was much more difficult. Lane points out that by traveling without a cell phone, she did not have a way to get in touch with anyone if there was an emergency. Now with the help of technology, “you can do almost everything."
Shankman is a huge proponent of using technology while traveling; “My favorite apps on the road: XE for currency translation, RunKeeper for logging GPS of where I ran in different places, and HotelTonight for finding a last minute room.” There are a number of great travel apps that make going from here to there less trying whether you are flying or driving, traveling domestic or international. Additionally, sites, such as AirBnB, make travel planning so much easier than it used to be as well.
“Travel is a wonderful investment. It’s something that lasts your whole lifetime,” Lane indicates. So, even though there are times you do not feel like going anywhere, remember that traveling is not only less challenging than it once was, but it is also not something that everyone gets to experience, so make the most of it.