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10 Travel Hacks for the Beginner Business Traveler


It’s a big week: you’re about to head out on your first business trip for the company, and you want to really nail it. The good news is, you’ll probably be fine. Just be yourself, trust that the company knows what they’re doing sending you out — and then fake the rest until it feels all right. But for the sake of your own sanity, we’ve compiled a list of the travel hacks that will make this trip feel like as much of a vacation as your friends think it is.


(Photo Credit: Ryan McGuire/Gratisography)

1. If You’re Not (Super) Early, You’re Late

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While your flight might be scheduled for 5:00, it’s likely that the doors close about 15 minutes before hand. If you’re looking for a sweet spot on when to show up, USA Today recommends showing up two hours in advance.

2. Dress for the Seat You Want – Not the One You’re Assigned

According to the inside information on Business Insider, a gate agent admitted that being better dressed is going to get you a better chance of an upgrade. Further explanation unnecessary.

3. Stay Charged

You can never take for granted that your flight is going to have a port for you to charge your device. Go in to the airport smart: make sure all of your devices are charged before you even show up. And in case of a real crisis: buy a portable charger pack.

4. Stay Fresh

Getting off a flight can be reminiscent of waking up from a long, sloppy nap — minus the rested feeling, but morning breath included. The Midwesterner Abroad blog has an extensive list of everything you should bring on the plane to stay fresh.

5. Don’t Let Pests Bug You

Thanks to our societal rejection of DDT, “don’t let the bed bugs bite” is an all-too-real sentiment these days. Take it from this author: don’t let the next victim be you. Here’s a comprehensive guide from LifeHacker to checking your hotel room so you can truly rest easy.

6. Go Digital

If you don’t own a printer (because you no longer live at your parents’ house, and your college roommate stole the one you two “split”), there’s really no need to fret about printing itineraries, reservations, or tickets. Most everything, including boarding passes, can be displayed and scanned right from your phone. Hassle-free and environmentally friendly.

7. Be a Member, Score Points

According to The Points Guy, there’s virtually no limit to the points that you can rack up when you have different hotel and airline cards. Be smart about signing up for them, and it could lead to swanky room upgrades, seat changes, and even meals.

8. Don’t Forget Backup

You tend to be more forgetful and clumsy when you’re nervous or anxious, according to The Calm Clinic. The easy answer: pack a backup. Whether it’s a stick of deodorant or an extra tie in your laptop sleeve, better be safe than a complete mess.

9. Make Every Spot a HotSpot

While there are certainly a lot of places — including planes — that now offer WiFi, there’s no sense in leaving things up to fate when in comes to internet access. If you’re prepping a presentation last minute, or looking to get some work done in unfamiliar territory, springing for a mobile hotspot can be exactly what you need to save the day.

10. Scope Out Your Territory

Just because it’s not a familiar city, doesn’t mean you can’t be familiar with the places you’ll be meeting with clients. Scope out a good meeting spot on FourSquare, and make like one of the locals.

Tell Us What You Think

What did we miss? What was the worst mistake you made on a recent business trip? Save others from the same fate and leave a comment below — or get professional on Twitter!

Peter Swanson
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