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Many of us dream of finding a career that affords us opportunities to travel and explore new corners of the world (on our employer's dime!). But those fortunate enough to actually build such careers may discover that business travel isn't exactly a walk in the park – it often means tight schedules, stressful meetings and a constant cycle of packing and unpacking. Even so, you can get a lot out of your business travel experiences, if you're willing to take a few extra measures.
Pack Like a Pro
Frequent Business Traveler editorial director Jonathan Spira told U.S. News & World Report that one key to easy business traveler is keeping the essentials packed at all times. Store your travel toiletries, a set of charging cables and other trip essentials in your travel bag at all times. This gives you less to worry about for your next trip, and keeps you from forgetting essential items.
On that note, make your travel bag a carry-on. It'll save you time arriving to and departing from the airport, and eliminate lost luggage worries. Wear your bulkiest clothing and shoes to keep them from taking up space in your suitcase, and make sure to pack your liquids in TSA-approved bottles and bags.
The Travel Channel suggests that frequent business travelers pick a rewards program and stay with it. If you're a frequent client for a particular airline, rental car company or hotel chain, company staff is more likely to help you out with early boarding, first-class upgrades, hotel room priorities and rental car delivery.
Take this rule especially seriously when choosing an airline. Frequent flier programs can earn you some serious perks for your brand loyalty. If choosing and sticking with a single airline doesn't appeal to you, at least consider applying for a rewards credit card, to help you build points, miles and other rewards for your travel-related expenses.
Dress to Impress
You're a business traveler. Dress like it. George Hobica, founder of discount airfare website Airfarewatchdog.com, told Business Insider that your appearance can affect whether you receive flight upgrades. According to Hobica, when airlines oversell economy seats, gate agents often choose to upgrade certain people based on how well they are dressed, plus how nice they were at check-in.
Moreover, dressing business-ready can help you save time after landing in case you have to rush to a meeting or presentation.
Become a TSA VIP
Security is notoriously the most tedious part of travel, so make it as easy on yourself as possible. Wear comfortable shoes that you can easily remove. Prepare to take your laptop out of its case. Familiarize yourself with TSA's guidelines for liquids, and follow those guidelines religiously. Offer Stage Consulting CEO Pamela Shand told Inc. that frequent business travelers should avoid wearing belts, jewelry and other items with metal accents, to help expedite the security process.
Consider signing up for TSA pre-check and Global Entry, as well. Qualifying members can move through security without having to remove their shoes, laptops, liquids, belts, or light jackets, and often have much shorter wait times than travelers in the traditional TSA line. Global Entry qualifies certain international travelers for expedited customs, as well.
Beat Jet Lag
Figure out how to avoid jet lag after international travel, so you can get the most out of your trip, and perform as well as possible in your meetings or presentations. Consider using melatonin, a natural sleep aid, to help you get some shut-eye on the flight, and during your first night or two at your destination. Avoid coffee after 2 p.m., and drink plenty of water, as dehydration can worsen the effects of jet lag.
Brenna Swanston is a freelance writer, editor and journalist. She previously reported for the Sun newspaper in Santa Maria, California, and she holds a bachelor's in journalism from California Polytechnic State University.
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