Strate­gies for suc­cess­ful busi­ness travel dur­ing the hol­i­day rush

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Success - By John DiS­cala |

Trav­el­ing for busi­ness can be stress­ful — though it be­comes more man­age­able af­ter you’ve been on a few flights, no­ticed a pat­tern and de­vel­oped a strat­egy. How­ever, busi­ness travel dur­ing the holi­days is far from re­lax­ing. In fact, it’s tax­ing on your nerves and pa­tience, and it can be down­right in­fu­ri­at­ing at times.

And even though ev­ery­one wants to be any­where else dur­ing the holi­days, busi­ness travel is in­escapable for some. For those few souls who have to close deals or mend re­la­tion­ships dur­ing the holi­days, here are a few tips for mak­ing busi­ness travel bear­able.

1. Take the path less trav­eled.

One thing’s for sure dur­ing the hol­i­day season: Ev­ery­one wants to get where they have to go as quickly as pos­si­ble. No one wants to deal with the harsh en­vi­ron­ment longer than they have to. For that rea­son, they fly.

While a plane is the most de­sir­able op­tion, it might not be the best for you. Con­sider the time spent get­ting to the air­port early, wait­ing to board, pos­si­ble delays, the flight time and, fi­nally, wait­ing for lug­gage. If th­ese nearly equal the amount of time spent driv­ing, on a coach or even on a train, con­sider th­ese al­ter­na­tive op­tions.

If this is a last-minute trip and you do need to fly, con­sider al­ter­nate air­ports that are a bit far­ther out of the city. If you are able to, drive part of the way to take ad­van­tage of travel time.

2. Do your re­search.

Weather delays and can­cel­la­tions can turn a trip that’s sup­posed to be four hours into one that re­quires three or four more hours. Be­fore you book your flight, make sure that the air­port you’re fly­ing to isn’t known for snow storms, de­layed flights or can­cel­la­tions. The last thing you want is to not get there or back home on time.

3. Pack only what you need.

Air­ports are tremen­dously busy dur­ing the hol­i­day season, pos­ing a higher risk of your bag be­ing lost. Elim­i­nate as much risk as pos­si­ble by stick­ing to a carry-on. You will have your be­long­ings with you at all times, and you won’t have to wait at the bag­gage claim for your items. Just be sure to know the bag­gage and carry-on rules for the air­line(s) you are fly­ing with.

4. Ship the rest.

De­pend­ing on how se­ri­ous your trip is, you might need more than a few pairs of cloth­ing. If you have to make a pre­sen­ta­tion and need your ma­te­rial from the of­fice, ship it to the busi­ness’s ad­dress. You can overnight items through UPS and FedEx or use a ser­vice that’s de­signed to ship your suit­case for you, such as DUFL.

5. Check-in on­line.

Check­ing in on­line 24 hours be­fore your plane de­parts can let you by­pass the check-in counter. Plus, you may be able to pick your seats be­fore the other pas­sen­gers sim­ply from check­ing in.

6. Take ad­van­tage of your loy­alty pro­gram.

Use your fre­quent flyer sta­tus to get ac­cess to lounges and bet­ter seat­ing. The best busi­ness credit cards usu­ally come with travel perks that you can ap­ply to help make the trip more en­joy­able. It’ll dras­ti­cally im­prove your mood if you’re able to re­lax more be­fore and dur­ing your flight.

7. Be pre­pared for things to go wrong.

We all know that life is un­pre­dictable. If your busi­ness trip is com­plete but you’re still in the city be­cause of weather prob­lems, have a backup plan. Make sure to look for flex­i­ble op­tions at ev­ery turn.

8. Carry cash.

I started car­ry­ing cash with me when I had to wait in line for 45 min­utes to pay for my din­ner be­cause the card ma­chine was down. That hap­pened at a restau­rant dur­ing the off-season. Who knows what can hap­pen and how long you’ll have to wait if the same sce­nario hap­pens when you’re in a rush?

John DiS­cala has trav­eled over 100,000 miles a year since start­ing his news­let­ter in 1995 and has vis­ited close to 100 coun­tries. He was named one of Forbes’s Top 10 Travel In­flu­encers for 2017.


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