When I first started traveling for work, I was literally scrambling like a headless chicken, especially when it comes to packing (I am forever in my ‘travel-for-holiday’ mentality).
Here are some tips to make your business travel less hectic and more beneficial for you:
- Black is the New Black
On business trips, I always bring dark-coloured clothes because if you’re a clumsy eater like me, it’s easier to hide the stains from the spaghetti you had for lunch! Not only is the colour slimming, but it’s also easier to match with your wardrobe – hence, lesser things to pack. I always bring a khaki-coloured chinos as it can be worn for business or leisure. Wear black leather shoes if you have to attend any function that requires you to dress up!
“A friend of mine had to buy a new shoes (and a new tux) while we were in London as he, on the last minute, had to attend a black-tie event and his brown loafers were not appropriate.”
Shopping tips in London: Go to Bicester Village to shop for discounted items from last season!
If you have sensitive skin like me, you might have certain skin products that you have to bring whenever you’re traveling. With the limit of 100ml per liquid item that you can bring in your carry-on luggage, my suggestion would be to buy small traveling bottles that you can get from pharmacies. You wouldn’t want to risk your skincare products being thrown into the bin, now would you?
On a different topic, I recently noticed that people would bring those Korean face sheets on board and wear it during the flight. I might join the craze.
- Packing Hacks
ROLL YOUR CLOTHES LIKE A SWISS-ROLL. I learned this few years ago when I went backpacking in Indo-China. When traveling with a small suitcase, rolling your clothes give you more space. To be more organized, I would categorise my things and place them in zip-locked bags. If you’re packing an extra shoe, you can stuff your socks or underwear in the shoes. Just make sure that your shoes are clean and don’t stink!
- Carry-on Luggage
If you have flown before, you would know that flights usually get delayed, or in the worst case scenario, cancelled. This is a nightmare for any business traveler especially if you have a business appointment scheduled within a day or two after you land. The trick is to always have a small bag with all your essential toiletries in you carry-on luggage together with a fresh new shirt and undergarments . This is because you would never know when your luggage will go rogue and go on a holiday trip without you.
“One time, my luggage went to Manila for three days when I was going to Perth and it was winter in Australia! Luckily I was wearing my business jacket, so that kept me warm for few days in Perth.”
- The right adaptors
Have you ever travelled to another country and found out that our Malaysian 3-way plug doesn’t fit at all? Always bring your own universal adaptors. I learned a trick on charging my gadgets during my first trip to Paris when I forgot my adaptor. I remembered that most flat-screen TVs would have USB ports. Long story cut short, that was how I charged my phone for the next seven days of my trip.
- Schedule your sleep
Jet-lag is the most common thing that one suffers. This could be avoided with one simple trick – which is to time your sleep. Try and adapt your body into following the eating and sleeping time of your destination on the flight as this will ease your transition to the new time zone. Another advice that I would use is to schedule your flights’ departure and arrival times.
- Become a Airlines Frequent Flyer Member
My past few articles have been stressing on becoming a frequent flyer member. First thing’s first, if you know that you will be traveling for work quite often, I would highly suggest registering yourself as a frequent flyer member of an airline such as “Enrich” (Malaysia Airlines) or “Kris Flyer” (Singapore Airlines). This will give you more perks especially with the usage of their airport lounges.
“I remember one incident when I just arrived in KLIA from Sydney after an eight-hour red-eye flight to attend an important meeting in Kuala Lumpur scheduled in a few hours’ time. Knowing that I won’t be able to check-in to my hotel room first, I hopped into the airline lounge to shower and have my breakfast. My mother always stress on how important first impression is. It is very unprofessional to show up looking haggard for meetings especially when you’re representing the image of your company.”
I always stay in the same hotel whenever I travel for work. This can work to your advantage (and your company) by developing a corporate agreement with the hotel. This means that you get to stay in the hotel for a cheaper rate.
“There’s a hotel in Perth that I always patron whenever I’m in town and I feel like that the hotel staff is my part of my family there. They always surprise me with cake in my room or invite me for a special viewing party when a parade is happening in front of the hotel. Sometimes get a room upgrade too!”
- Credit card
Most banks nowadays give extra perks and benefit when you use their credit cards. Use your credit card to purchase flight tickets or paying for your business lunch. Just make sure that you clear your debt in 21 days so that you don’t charge interest. Before traveling, don’t forget to call your bank to activate your cards for international usage!