Frequent domestic and international fliers know the drill: Pack, fly, unpack, attend to business, rinse, and repeat. Like George Clooney’s character in the film Up In The Air, business fliers live out of a suitcase, and they have their own system for packing, flying, navigating a new country, and returning home...in time for another international flight.
But new business fliers have a lot to learn. Lesson Number 1: Time is crucial. You cannot waste precious moments fretting over your misplaced luggage or wondering if you turned the gas mains off before you left home. Lesson Number 2: Adopt a Zen-like attitude. Like they say, ‘Keep calm and go on’. If you’re calm, you can handle the stresses of international travel like a pro.
Heres 4 stages of your business trip that you can sail through with these 10 hacks. Read on.
1. Pack light: If you’re a frequent international flier, by now you must have your packing routine down pat. But if you’re not, here’s the most important tip: Don’t pack EVERYTHING. Whatever the nature of the business travel you’re about to embark on, two suits, five pairs of underwear and socks each, a pair of jeans and two sets of formal shirts and T-shirts are enough. Pack your toiletries in a special case, make space for an extra pair of shoes and keep a concealed pocket for extras.
2 Keep travel documents handy: Store your travel documents – passport, insurance papers and flight tickets – in a separate bag, preferably in your shoulder bag. This will save time that you would otherwise waste rifling through your luggage looking for these items. Your shoulder bag can also contain sachets of hand sanitizer (we’ll tell you why you need this), paper towels, wallet and your mobile phone. A bigger bag can also accommodate your laptop if you need to work on the flight.
At the airport
3. Arrive on time: Leave for the airport at least an hour before expected time – you know how stressful it is to get stuck in traffic and receive an alert from the airline asking you to check in NOW. It’s better to sit waiting at the airport than in the back seat of your cab, swearing at the traffic and sweating buckets.
4. Eat where the airline crews eat: Late night flights leave you in a limbo between day and night – its ages since dinner and way too soon for breakfast. It’s a good idea to fill yourself up at a restaurant so you won’t get hungry on the flight. A good tip when it comes to eating: head to the place where you see airline crews eat. They normally know the best eating options at airports and also the best grub there.
During the flight
5. Use hand sanitizer: The seat you’re in the food tray in front of you, the magazine you just pulled out for a browse – everything has been touched countless times before, by a million different hands. That’s thousands of bacteria and germs floating about and being circulated many times over, and now you’ve got most of them on your own hands. Now is the time to use that hand sanitizer we asked you to pack in your hold-all. Use it before you eat on the flight, twice during the journey and always after using the restroom.
6. Go to sleep: If you’re on a long-haul international flight, you might have a stopover or a continuous flight that seems to go on for 500 years. You could snooze on the flight, get some background prep for your conference or meeting done, or simply stay up watching a movie. Some fliers time their sleep such that they arrive refreshed if it’s morning in the destination country.
After you reach
7. Unpack smartly: Just get your clothes out of your bag and give your suits and shirts a press if needed. Leave other items in your bag so you can quickly pack just your clothes when you leave. Place your toiletries next to the bathroom sink in a cluster, instead of all over the place. Again, this saves valuable packing time.
8. Get out of the room often: A foreign country needs to be explored as much as possible, so ditch the TV set in your room, get into comfortable walking shoes and explore the city. If you’re spending all day in a conference, you might want to just have your dinner and go to bed, though!
9. Pack a night before departure: Save yourself many minutes of frantic running around on the day of your departure by packing the night before. Fold your clothes neatly and pack the same way you did back home. Make sure you put back every item you unpacked and check the bathroom for clothes you may have left hanging there.
10. Head on early: Again, leave for the airport early and choose to wait there. Check in early and keep your flight tickets handy. Have a meal, read the papers, walk around to keep your blood circulation going. It’s going to be another long international flight, so it’s good to be in a calm frame of mind before you embark.