How to travel for work like a pro

Linda Le Phan

We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s about the journey, not the destination,” but that may not always be the case. Sure, it works great as a metaphor for life…but when it comes to literal traveling, no one prefers the traffic jams, the overbooked flights, or the long lines at baggage claim, over actually arriving at their destination.

When you’re traveling for work however, your destination may not be somewhere you’re personally looking forward to going. You arrive, but you’re not on vacation; you’ve got a job to do. So relaxation may not be in the cards. Don’t get us wrong – being able to travel for work is truly a dream for lots of people out there! But like any other job, it comes with it’s ups and downs… and the downs can include being bored, lost, uncomfortable or super stressed out

If you’re going to be a frequent or even a one-time business traveler, here are some simple ways to ensure you’re traveling for work like a pro and minimizing any stressful situations while you’re out and about:

Travel light

Traveling always comes with delays, most of which are completely beyond your control. The best you can do is pack in a what that enables you to move as quickly as possible when you’re able to. Oversized rolling suitcases, bulky duffle bags – these things slow you down. The last thing you need when navigating a crowded terminal is to be hindered by your luggage (and constantly bumping into people along the way). Try to limit yourself to carry-ons only. Allow yourself one medium sized suitcase or backpack for your essentials, and a garment bag for your clothes. Keep it light by choosing clothing items that you can use multiple ways and putting things away neatly in your bag with space-saving travel bags. You’ll find you can move much quicker, without feeling literally and figuratively weighed down by all of the stuff you’re carrying along with you.

Invest in quality luggage

If you know you’re going to be traveling a lot, there are certain things you’ll need to invest in. Luggage will be your number one priority. That means that the beat-up suitcase you’ve had since college, and that old backpack that’s barely holding itself together just aren’t going to cut it in your new life as a professional traveler. There are plenty of options to choose from at different levels of affordability. So no matter what your budget you should be able to find something that works for you, especially if you’re sticking with the “carry-ons only” strategy.

Pro Tip: If you do decide to go with a full suitcase, make sure to choose a bright and unique color or pattern. This will make it much easier to spot at baggage claim versus another simple black luggage bag!

Bring your own food

Most people don’t think about food while they’re packing. It’s much easier to say “I’ll just grab something on the way,” or “I’ll eat at the airport.” Well, that may be easy, but it certainly isn’t healthy nor is it a safe bet when you never know if you’ll enough time or what the options are. If you do end up relying on the fast food options at an airport or train station, you’re almost guaranteed to feel more sluggish and slow than if you had packed your own snacks. Save some space for a few collapsible food containers that can hold a sandwich and some healthy snack options like almonds, baby carrots, granola bars, protein bars or crackers. Bringing your own healthy food will save you time, money, and will help you feel more productive during your trip.

Focus on Sleep Quality

Traveling for work usually means you have to be up and ready to go in the morning like you would for a normal day at the office. But the possibility of delayed flights, and late arrivals means you’re not always guaranteed the luxury of a normal bedtime. Be ready to sleep anywhere and everywhere if need be, by packing a quality travel pillow, headphones, and an eye mask. They may take up extra space in your bag but being able to get a proper amount of rest is well worth it. A good night’s sleep is more important than a 3rd pair of shoes.

Pro Tip: Whether you’re used to a king or a queen bed, make sure your hotel room has your preferred sized. This will help you feel more at home and you won’t have to sacrifice your favorite sleeping positions to accommodate something you’re not used to.

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How companies support their employees when they travel for work is a huge sign about how much they care. Share how your current (or former) employer cares about you anonymously on kununu.us!

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