The Hour Hands guide to better business travel

June 05, 2024 by Natalie Brewer
The Hour Hands guide to better business travel

Business travel – a perk, an opportunity to discover, or a chore. No matter how you perceive it, business travel can be easier to manage by having in-depth knowledge of your company’s travel policy, and following certain ‘rules’ designed to make it a much better experience.  No matter if you are a regular or infrequent traveller, here are the Hour Hands top tips for business travel – read on as you may pick up some hints to support your summer holiday travel too!  

Check your passport!

The number 1 rule for anyone going abroad. Always check your passport is in date, and whether you need a visa or any mandatory vaccinations.  For example, the rules to travel to Europe have changed and they are still catching people out. Check your passport is in date and that you have the requisite amount of time on the passport on arrival and when you are leaving the country. Make any digital visa applications in advance and within prescribed time limits. 

There’s lots of information on the .gov website about passport validity, visa and vaccination requirements.

Packing

Bring a power bank – you never know when you might need it since it can be difficult to find a plug when you’re on the road for long periods of time. Don’t forget a travel adapter and a travel-sized first aid kit too!

Have you discovered packing cubes yet? Perfect for keeping all of the same clothes together when you’re living out of a suitcase. You could even use one cube for each day so you don’t need to have a jet-lagged panic when getting dressed each morning.

Consider packing a small bottle of your preferred air freshener or pillow spray with you – they are useful for stale hotel rooms and hire cars.

Planning

Share your travel details, including flights and hotel information, with a member of your family as well as your work colleagues. It means that anyone can contact you if needed – it’s also useful to make a note of any time differences so you’re not inadvertently woken by a call!

Research your destination’s culture and business etiquette. How to greet people, accept business cards, eat, or communicate can be very different from country to country, so understanding the basic rules before you travel means you will have the greatest opportunity to have a successful trip and build relationships.

When you travel 

Whenever possible, choose non-stop flights and avoid layovers. You’ll spend less time traveling and you’ll arrive better rested. Plus, you’ll have a greater chance to avoid delays, cancellations, overbookings, and lost bags.

Make use of airport lounges too – business lounges are often more comfortable, have a Wi-Fi connection, plugs, food, drinks, and showers, so are a great way to relax before your flight or catch up on last-minute work when necessary. Access to airport lounges is usually included for business class passengers so check this out before you head to the airport. 

Ask about twilight check-in if you’re staying in an airport hotel for an early flight. You may be able to check in your main bag the night before so you can go straight to security in the morning.

Keep healthy

Although you are away from home, you still need time to look after your health. Consistency is key so stick to any established exercise routines and any treatment plans over the summer. You may need to adapt your exercise in terms of timings around business, but there may be alternative exercises you can do whilst away such as jogging or using the hotel gym or pool. 

Business travel is likely to mean irregular meal times and unhealthy snacks. Pack your preferred healthy snacks for on the plane and between meetings. Ensure you always stay hydrated too.

At the hotel

Try to adapt your meal times to local times at your destination as soon as possible, even before your flight if you can. Adjusting your meal times will tell your body when it’s time to be active or when to sleep, so this is a great way to beat jet lag.

Take a photograph of every claimable receipt that way you always have a record of it, even if you lose the paper copy. 

Always use the door locks on your hotel room. You may also wish to put a chair against the door for added protection.

If your curtains don’t close properly, use a trouser hanger (one with clips) to hold them closed.

Pilots and aircrew sometimes use hotel irons to reheat their pizzas during layovers. So ensure the iron is clean before pressing a crisp white shirt.  (thanks to DialAFlight for that great tip!)

As a reminder to empty your hotel safe when you leave, put one of your travelling shoes in it the night before you’re due to check out. You won’t leave the hotel room with only one shoe so this way, you won’t forget your passport either!

Most importantly

Travel with the best version of yourself. Maintain a ready smile, good manners, and patience.  And an understanding that other countries do things differently. Expect the unexpected and be flexible.

How the flexible Hour Hands team can support your business

Hour Hands is made up of experienced Personal Assistants ready and waiting to support you with booking travel, researching customs and etiquette, and preparing presentations. They are also on hand to cover all those office tasks that you are not able to do when you are out of the office. From diary management, answering emails, managing your accounts and reconciliations – let us take the strain whilst you are away. We will help you to complete tasks and shift them off your to-do list so you have a ‘clear desk’ when you return.   

To find out more simply call us on 01727 818262. We will ask how we can support you and offer a solution either on an hourly rate or package cost. The choice is yours – we simply want to help.