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Business Travel Tips for Stress-Free (and Fun!) Work Trips

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These business travel tips take the stress out of work trips. Traveling for work can be draining, or it can be productive and a lot of fun, depending on how you do it. Business executives and frequent travelers share their best advice to make business trips easier, more comfortable, safer, and more enjoyable. Read these 21 business travel tips to get the most out of your next conference, trade fair, faraway business meeting, or corporate event!

Minimize stress while maximizing productivity and fun during your business travel
Minimize stress while maximizing productivity and fun during your business travel (Photo credit: yellow2j, Depositphotos.com)

These business travel tips are brought to you in partnership with HP.

1. Keep your technology charged.

Before any business trip, be sure to charge all your travel electronics at home. You should also bring a portable charger so you can stay connected on the go. CEO of JourneyPure Cecelia Hunt says, “There is a lot of waiting time in airports and planes. Having charged electronics will enable you to use this time productively. Calls and emails can use up your phone battery quickly so having a pre-charged charger or battery can come in handy.”

Meanwhile, Saurabh Jindal, the founder of Talk Travel, suggests bringing a power strip to the airport. He says this “will aid massively when all power outlets have been hogged by others.” Moreover, he continues, “you will be an instant hero” among other power-seeking travelers.

Keep powered up when traveling for business
Stay powered up when traveling for business (Photo credit: makidotvn, Depositphotos.com)

2. Rack up those travel rewards.

One of the benefits of frequent business travel is racking up travel rewards for personal use. Co-founder and CMO of Formspal Ebony Chappell says, “Utilize your company travel to earn points or miles on your preferred airline, hotel, or travel credit card.” You can also earn rewards and discounts from car rental companies and restaurant chains. Some brands don’t make it abundantly clear if they offer a reward program. Be sure to ask, even if you don’t think you’ll use that brand again. You might be surprised by how quickly you collect points for freebies and discounts. Often hotels provide free WiFi and other goodies to reward members and sometimes you’ll even receive an award just for signing up.

Sign up for all the travel rewards programs you can
Sign up for all the travel rewards programs you can (Photo credit: Rawpixel, Depositphotos.com)

3. Get a comfortable and functional computer travel bag.

The right or wrong computer bag can make or break your business travels. You don’t want something too bulky that you’ll have a tough time stowing below your airplane seat. Plus, comfort is an absolute must lest you arrive with a crook in your neck or back. Of course, you need a briefcase that looks professional, too. That’s where HP comes in!

The HP Renew Travel Series is made with recycled materials, so you can feel good traveling with this eco-friendly option. These options are super lightweight and comfortable to carry, too. What’s more, they’re surprisingly affordable and come with a 1-year warranty. Plus, they’re water-resistant, which gives peace of mind. With classic designs in black or charcoal, your coworkers or clients may ask where they can get one, too!

I’ve gone through many computer travel bags over the years (a roller bag back when laptops were super heavy, an inconvenient high-end name-brand leather bag, a too-heavy designer backpack, a lightweight tote with too little protection). The HP Renew travel bags are the best by far. They won’t disappoint in terms of design or function.

Choose from such options as the HP Renew Travel Backpack (my favorite!), the messenger-style HP Renew Travel Laptop Bag, and the simple HP Renew Business Laptop Sleeve.

HP travel bags make business travel more comfortable and convenient
HP travel bags make travel more comfortable and convenient (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

4. Dress professionally, even during transit.

Like it or not, appearances matter. You’re more likely to get good customer service if you’re dressed to impress rather than wearing baggy sweats and flip-flops. This is particularly true should a flight get canceled and you need to reschedule, or you’re vying for a hotel room upgrade. You’re also more likely to nab that cab in a busy city. Plus, as Emma Alda, cofounder of ModestFish advises, “Do not dress like a slob or over-relaxed on the plane. You never know who else is going to be on your flight.”

Of course, you want your clothes to appear fresh and wrinkle-free, too. For businesswomen, Hannah Ackroyd, founder of the Get Lost Travel Blog, says, “When it comes to your business travel wardrobe, always look for non-crease fabrics. Stretch jersey dresses are the ideal travel companion. They’re breathable, comfortable, and crease-resistant.” Meanwhile, businessmen can look for wrinkle-resistant slacks and collared shirts. Jeroen van Gils, managing director at Lifi, also recommends packing darker business clothes to hide creases and dirt. Packing a travel steamer is helpful, too.

Dress to impress on your business trips
Dress to impress on your business trips (Photo credit: AllaSerebrina, Depositphotos.com)

5. Invest in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

If you’re a U.S. resident who travels often, then you will definitely want to invest in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. You must fill out an extensive online form and schedule an in-person interview, but the payoff is worth it. These designations enable travelers to sail through security via shorter lines. Plus, typically laptops, liquids, and shoes do not need to be removed. Most U.S. airports and airlines recognize TSA PreCheck. Global Entry costs a bit more for the five-year membership but it enables travelers to whiz through customs when returning to the U.S. Bonus: some mileage credit cards pay for this fee as part of membership.

TSA PreCheck is a must for frequent business travelers
TSA PreCheck is a must for frequent business travelers (Photo credit: TeriVirbickis, Depositphotos.com)

6. Stock up on snacks and drinks.

You never know when you’ll be stuck on the tarmac or if that meeting will go way longer than expected. You don’t want to be left without something to eat or drink. Always keep a few travel snacks and a bottle of water tucked into your laptop bag so you can quench your thirst and hunger wherever your travels take you. The World Travel Guy, David Leiter, advises bringing your own snacks from home. He says, “Airport snacks and food are always overpriced and the reason they get away with it is because so many travelers come unprepared.”

Additionally, don’t waste money on expensive minibar items. Jindal says, “Find a nearby story and, depending on your length of stay, stock up your room on stuff you like.” Think bottled waters, easy snack or breakfast items like yogurts and fruits, and your favorite beverages. Alcoholic beverages in particular are much less expensive if you buy them from a convenience store rather than paying a premium at the hotel bar.

Travel snacks
Pack your own travel snacks (Photo credit: daniel.draghici.gmail.com, Depositphotos.com)

7. Bring sleep essentials for the best rest.

Getting adequate, quality sleep is one of the most important business travel tips. Performio Founder David Marshall says, “To travel for business the right way, pack items that will make it easier for you to sleep. It’s important to get a good night’s rest, especially when flying long-haul, and even more so when you’re expected to conduct yourself professionally when you land.” He recommends packing sleep essentials like a pillow, a travel blanket, an eye mask, and noise-canceling headphones. Marshall goes on to say, “These items should help you sleep not only on the plane but also when you reach the hotel.”

Jonathan Cohen, co-founder of the law firm Cohen & Winters, recommends purchasing a travel neck pillow for better sleep in transit. He says, “For a long time, I used the rolled-up coat trick as my pillow, but that just never quite cuts it. There is nothing worse than arriving at a new location for work and having a sore neck or back. Having a good neck pillow ensures you get some rest so that you can be energized and ready to get to work when you arrive.”

Quiet sleep is better sleep for most of us. “Earplugs are an absolute must for any business traveler’s kit,” according to Wesley Exon, CEO of Best Value Schools. He continues, “You have no idea how quiet or noisy your hotel room will be until you’re in there. You could have noisy neighbors, there could be construction, or the air conditioner could run loudly all night. Don’t leave anything to chance, keep a pair of earplugs in your luggage at all times.”

Bring sleep essentials in your carry-on
Bring sleep essentials in your carry-on (Photo credit: ChamilleWhite, Depositphotos.com)

8. Make use of airport lounges.

Airport lounges can make business travel much more pleasant. Co-founder/CEO of CureSkin Guna Kakulapati says, “To the uninitiated, airport lounge memberships may seem pointless. To regular business travelers, however, they are an oasis of calm within a storm. Airline lounges provide outlets, comfortable private seating, and included food that can make flying an enjoyable experience.” Some lounges even offer showers, spa services, and sleeping pods. Kakulapati continues, “The airport lounge may even entice you to arrive earlier for your flights,” thus reducing stress and the need to dash to your gate.

Frequent travelers may earn airport lounge access for accruing miles with a particular airline. Alternatively, check with your company to see if you can submit the day pass lounge fee for reimbursement. Many credit cards offer free or affordable lounge access as well.

Complimentary food and drinks in an airport lounge
Complimentary food and drinks in an airport lounge (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

9. Be kind to the flight crew and other passengers.

A little kindness goes a long way, for you and those you meet during your business travels. Jindal recommends introducing yourself to flight attendants and making small talk. Ask them about their day and where they are based. He says, “Friendly flight attendants can make or break your own flight.”

Rick Hoskins, founder of Filter King, agrees. He advises, “Be nice to the airline staff. Be nice to the airport staff. Be nice to the people next to you. Nobody wants to spend their whole day hanging out in departure halls. We’re all in this together.” And what about the parents of that baby two seats over that won’t stop crying? Hoskins says, “Be especially nice to them because they’re having a far worse day than you.”

Kindness goes a long way, especially when traveling
Kindness goes a long way, especially when traveling (Photo credit: pressmaster, Depositphotos.com)

10. Break foreign language barriers.

Traveling internationally? If you don’t know the local language, then a translator app can bridge the divide. Ian Sells, CEO and Founder at RebateKey, advises, “Break the barrier by having a handy translator on your smart device.” There are even apps that will translate text, making reading business documents and menus in a foreign language a breeze.

It’s always a good idea to learn a few keywords and phrases when visiting a foreign country. You don’t need to be fluent, but you’ll feel more comfortable if you can say greetings and ask simple questions like, “How much does this cost?” and the all-important, “Where is the bathroom?” Plus, you’ll impress foreign business partners when you make an effort to converse in their language.

Speaking a foreign language can increase business opportunities
Speaking a foreign language can increase business opportunities (Photo credit: Rawpixel, Depositphotos.com)

11. Stay hydrated when traveling for business.

Busy schedules and limited resources can lead to dehydration on your business trip, especially if traveling somewhere with non-potable water. Cabin pressure and dry air on planes exacerbate the problem. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages add to dehydration, too, and therefore should be limited. Instead, be sure to drink plenty of filtered water or electrolyte-infused drinks. Jessica from SurvivalMesh.com says that when she’s traveling, “I find that when I stay hydrated, I’m more refreshed and less likely to get sick.”

MoneyNerd Founder Scott Nelson suggests bringing along a reusable water bottle to make staying hydrated easy. He says, “Although in airports you’re not allowed to take water through security, an empty bottle is fine, which you can often fill up. This reduces plastic waste and saves time by not waiting in line [to buy bottled water].”

Stay hydrated on your business trip
Stay hydrated on your business trip (Photo credit: limpido, Depositphotos.com)

12. Make safety a priority.

A travel expert with Autoinsurance.org, Deborah Goldberg, shares a few helpful safety business travel tips. She says, “To stay safer while traveling for business consider getting a portable door lock so you have added security when staying at an unfamiliar place or hotel. Make sure you also keep your bag or luggage with you at all times in the airport. Do not bring unnecessary expensive items like watches with you either, as these can make you a target for thieves.” Also for safety’s sake, don’t share your room number loudly with fellow coworkers.

Additionally, Terica Sippio, site editor of Top10Banks, recommends investing in travel insurance. She says, “Get travel insurance that could cover medical expenses or other displeasing eventualities.” Your company may be willing to cover this expense, too.

Business travel tip for safety: keep luggage nearby when traveling
Keep luggage nearby when traveling (Photo credit: mimagephotos, Depositphotos.com)

13. Snap a photo of your room number and parking spot.

It can be hard to remember your hotel room number after a long day of meetings and meals with clients. Snap a photo of your hotel room number upon arrival so you know where to go.

This trick works for parking spots, too. The last thing you want to do upon returning home after a business trip is to wander in circles searching for your car in the long-term parking garage. Instead, Ryan Rollins with TeachMePersonalFinance.com proposes taking a picture of the parking spot number and location in the parking lot. Be sure to remember where you tucked your parking ticket and car keys, too!

Business travel tips: take a photo of your hotel room number and your parking space d
Take a photo of your hotel room number (Photo credit: doomu, Depositphotos.com)

14. Stay fit during your business travels.

It’s tempting to give up your fitness routine while traveling for work. But you’ll feel better during and after your business trip if you prioritize exercise. Mattias Magnusson, founder of Cruise Trail, says, “Exercise to stay fit, healthy, and energized. Make use of the hotel gym or simply start your day with 10 pushups before you shower. Even when flying, walk the aisle, and move your hands and feet to help with blood circulation.” He also advises booking a hotel within a 20-minute walk from your place of business. He says, “Use the walk to enjoy the city you are visiting while getting free exercise.”

Stretches and yoga work wonders for staying healthy and soothing muscle kinks during your travels. Anne Abreu, travel blogger at ShePacksLite.com says, “Find a yoga studio near your travel destination and go to an evening class if you have the time. It’s a great way to decompress after a long day and get better sleep away from home.” Some hotels offer yoga classes, too. Or you could do some poses on your own in your room.

Business travel tip: make use of the hotel gym during corporate travels
Make use of the hotel gym during corporate travels (Photo credit: tampatra@hotmail.com, Depositphotos.com)

15. Use sticky notes to get out of sticky situations.

Colorful sticky note pads make a handy addition to your travel kit. Harriet Baskas, freelance writer and creator of StuckAtTheAirport.com, says, “In hotels, I use them to leave thank-you notes with my tips for the housekeeping crew, for missing ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs, and on the back of the door to remind me to check around for charging cords and such. On planes, I’ve used them to entertain small children seated beside me.”

Sticky notes are helpful while traveling
Sticky notes are helpful while traveling (Photo credit: mrsiraphol, Depositphotos.com)

16. Keep in touch via technology while away.

Michelle Davies, cofounder/editor-in-chief of The Best Ever Guide to Life, recommends business travelers keep in touch with loved ones, especially children, via technology while away from home. FaceTime and Zoom enable us to connect with kids for bedtime stories or a quick hello. Davies says, “Build a regular schedule to check up on your kids and partner while you are away. Even a five-minute call to see them and blow a kiss makes a difference.” For teens, you may want to text a simple question or fun photo from your travels instead.

Stay connected with loved ones while traveling for business
Stay connected with loved ones while away (Photo credit: dedivan1923, Depositphotos.com)

17. Add flair to your luggage.

A lot of luggage looks alike. That’s why Adrienne Denaro, global communications director with BagsID.com, says, “Adding your own flair will help you recognize your luggage faster and prevent people from stealing it (too noticeable).” Use stickers, ribbons, and patches to make your suitcase stand out from others.

Add flair to your luggage to make it stand out from the rest
Add flair to your luggage to make it stand out from the rest (Photo credit: billiondigital, Depositphotos.com)

18. Make time for play during your business trip.

Tracy Lamourie with Lamourie Media recommends getting out of your hotel room or conference center to explore your destination. She says, “Seize the moment! Spend time planning how you can make every moment between meetings count. I’m an expert at throwing on my bathing suit and hitting the ocean for an invigorating soak in 45 minutes, then dressing and slipping into my chair at the meeting or convention in time to crush some business goals.”

To make the most of your business travels, WeInvoice Founder Eden Cheng advises, “reading travel blogs, checking reviews online for nice places that can be visited, and looking over local visitor guides.” She explains, “This will help you find must-see attractions and top-rated restaurants, and make your business trip more enjoyable and stress-free.”

If you can’t find time during your business trip for play, then consider taking a personal day at the start or end of your travels. Founder of PlanetHopperGirl.com, Jumana Mundichipparakkal says, “Take a day off to explore at least one landmark and experience the destination.”

Take a break from business for fun
Take a break from business for fun (Photo credit: SimpleFoto, Depositphotos.com)

19. Pack casual clothing, too.

Avner Brodsky, co-founder and CEO of Superwatches.com says, “Even if your schedule is packed with meetings, it’s still a good idea to pack some casual clothes for when you can squeeze in some sightseeing or souvenir shopping, especially if the destination is a foreign country.”

CEO of Trusted Homebuyer Martin Boonzaayer concurs. He says, “It’s easy to forget to pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes and jeans when packing for a trip full of meetings.” He recommends bringing at least one outfit for a night out on the town or other adventures. Boonzaayer says, “You won’t want to wear a full suit or business dress for the duration of your trip.” Don’t forget the all-important swimsuit!

Don't forget to pack clothes for play, too, on your business trip
Don’t forget to pack clothes for play, too! (Photo grinvalds, Depositphotos.com)

20. Stow a separate stash of business travel must-haves.

Make packing easier by keeping a separate stash of business travel items. Johannes Larsson, CEO of Financer.com, suggests identifying which items you use most during your corporate travels and then buying a second set of these necessities to leave in your luggage or computer bag for use on subsequent trips. Examples include an eye mask, toiletries, and a remote phone charger. Abreu also suggests, “Keep a toiletry bag packed and ready to go. After each trip, replenish what has been used so you can just grab and go for the next trip.”

Keep a separate set of travel toiletries
Keep a separate set of travel toiletries (Photo credit: snegok1967, Depositphotos.com)

21. Use a business trip packing list.

Even for seasoned business travelers, it’s easy to forget to pack something important. (Like business cards!) Stay organized when traveling for work with this printable packing list for business trips. With this checklist, you’ll rock your business trip like a boss!

business trip packing list
Use a business trip packing list (Photo credit: Depositphotos.com)

Buy the HP Renew Travel Bag that suits you now!

I love the HP Renew Travel Backpack with its padded straps and a breathable mesh backing so I don’t overheat when running for my connection. It features a main compartment that fits a standard laptop, plus nine internal pockets and four external easy-access pockets. This makes it easy to store everything I need when traveling for business (or play) like pens, business cards, a water bottle, snacks, a sweater, headphones, and more. It’s compact but I was surprised by just how much I could cram into this travel bag. Did I mention it only weighs 1.33 pounds?

If you prefer a messenger bag style, then take a look at the HP Renew Travel Laptop Bag. It’s even lighter at just 1.12 pounds. This bag offers one main compartment plus nine internal pockets, three external pockets, and a padded removable shoulder strap.

Minimalists will want the Renew Business Laptop Sleeve. Tuck your laptop computer into this thin but cushioned case for a quick jaunt to the coffee shop or pop it into a larger bag when traveling. Just like the other HP Renew products, it’s made with recycled materials and is water-resistant.

The surprisingly roomy HP Renew Travel Backpack
The surprisingly roomy HP Renew Travel Backpack (Photo credit: HP)

Learn more.

If you travel internationally often for business, then you may want to consider learning a new language.

Looking for a new career? Take a peek at these tips for turning a hobby into a business.

Tuck one of these business books for women into your laptop bag to read on the plane or between meetings.

Don’t put your foot in your mouth during your business travels. Read what not to say to other people, even if you mean well.

Business Travel Tips from Corporate Executives and Travel Experts

Save these business travel tips.

For future reference, be sure to keep this list of 21 business travel tips. Just pin the image above to Pinterest. Go ahead and follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Do you have any questions or additional business travel tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: I received complimentary HP products for the purpose of this story and I will receive monetary compensation from HP. This story includes affiliate links for which I receive a small commission at no extra cost to consumers. Your purchases help to keep Travel Mamas a free resource for readers like you!

 
About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. Karen Mullery says

    I really appreciate these tips and will share them with colleagues! My noise canceling headphones are a must for helping me avoid distractions from my seat mates and surrounding noisy passengers so I can catch up on emails, catch a nap or enjoy that romcom my husband will never watch with me.

  2. Elizabeth Ervin says

    These are fantastic business travel tips. I especially value the computer travel bag and snacks! Snacks are pertinent for all travel IMO.

  3. I need all the tips! When I go on business trips I’m always super stressed out!

  4. Elise Ho says

    Great tips. I have followed many before but am happy to have picked up on a few new ones too.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      So many great tips — I learned a lot from these tips from business people and frequent travelers, too!

  5. Melanie williams says

    What an amazing and in depth check list, so helpful. I agree on buying snacks cheaper and also keeping tech all charged up x

  6. Ivan M. Jose says

    I love all your tips. You’ve covered so many topics. I do find traveling for business to be generally work-like but I try to fit in some leisurely pursuits in my itinerary like shopping and going to a local tourist destination.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      So important to add a couple of fun activities to your itinerary to make business travel more enjoyable!

  7. Ntensibe Edgar says

    Taking snaps of where you are or will be is such a great tip! That way, tracing you or way back is much easier!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      So much easier than trying to remember little details! You have enough on your plate when traveling for work!

  8. Emily Fata says

    This was really sage advice shared here! I learned a lot of valuable information.

  9. Alita Pacio says

    Sleep is very important to me when travelling. So, it would be on top of my list to bring sleep essentials

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Lack of sleep is so tough when traveling (or at home)! So smart to plan ahead for good rest!

  10. Oh yes I am so glad you included to stay fit during travel. It’s easy too if you look around. Hotels have great fitness areas and the change of pace is nice, or you can just go swimming!

  11. Jeetech Academy says

    These tips are so much helpful for me. I like the way you mentioned about the airport lounge. All of your suggestions are excellent. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  12. Emman Damian says

    So many great tips! We all need this now. In my country, business travel is permitted although there’s so many restrictions. I can’t wait to do business travel again.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Emman – I hope all sorts of travel become safe again soon for all of us around the globe!

  13. I’m the queen of stressing out when it comes to vacation! I’m always the one sorting everything out and keeping hold of everyones passports etc- yes, even when we’re with other adults!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Nyxie – I can relate! I’m much the same when traveling with my husband and I was in charge of everything back when I was backpacking through Europe when my friends and I were in college. Sometimes it helps to delegate — I’ll give my husband a specific task, like booking the rental car. With my kids, I’ll ask them to look up restaurants on Yelp. Hope you can pass off some of your stress so you can really enjoy your travels in the future!

  14. Kushigalu says

    Love all your tips. So many useful information on travel here. I hope I can travel soon again. Thanks alot for sharing this.

  15. These are such great tips! Those bags look awsome; I am totally slacking in that department and could definitely use one of those. I love the post-it idea! Such a great tip! Thanks for putting this together! – Linzey @thefamilyfuntour

  16. khoingn | The Broad Life says

    Wow, a very deep article that brings a lot of points to me for dealing with the stress in business trip. Definitely I will save them to read again in the future.

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