Business trips can be stressful at the best of times, but even more so during the festive season when everyone else seems to be winding down. There are ways to beat the madness, though. Flight Centre Business Travel has put together seven top tips for travelling for work when everyone else is in a holiday mood:
1. Choose your date and time
There will always be crowds during the festive season, but you can minimise the inconvenience (and sometimes even save on fares) by travelling on the major public holidays, when most people have already arrived at their destination. This might not be an option if your family is waiting for you at home, but if you’re combining business with leisure and have your loved ones travelling with you, a Christmas Day flight can be surprisingly fun and festive.
Alternatively, choose the early-morning red-eye flight. You’ll beat the crowds and get to your destination earlier – also avoiding any possible delays building up during the day. The same goes for driving: get going really early to avoid snarl-ups and parking issues.
2. Pack light
If the length of your trip allows, only take carry-on luggage and wear your heavy items.
This saves time and effort – zip through security (and customs, if you’re travelling internationally) on departure and avoid joining the throngs at the baggage carousel on arrival. This also ensures that there’s no way you can lose your baggage.
If you do have to check in your bag, follow a few simple guidelines: pack garments in neutral colours that can be layered or worn repeatedly, bring a small, light suitcase, pack heavy stuff at the bottom (such as shoes, stuffed with as many socks and small items as possible) and rely on accessories for a fresh look every day. Keep all your chargers in one place for easy access, and remember that mini-toiletries are your best friends.
3. Be early - and be prepared
Check-in online the day before and print your boarding pass in advance, minimising the need to join airport counter queues and saving time and effort. Make sure you’re early for your flight, allowing plenty of time for delays or other hassles. This means you’ll sail through while others are running to make their flights.
4. Be plane savvy
Choose an exit row – this will give you more legroom, plus children are not allowed next to the emergency exit, giving you more space to work, relax or doze, so you emerge on the other side fresher.
Also bear in mind that Flight Centre Business Travel offers mixed-class airfares, allowing you, for example, to fly economy class on the way to your destination and business class back – a relaxing end to a work trip.
5. Strictly business?
If you’ve chosen to combine business with pleasure, embrace it by staying near the sites, taking in the vibe and embracing the festive spirit. But if you’re solely focused on work and efficiency, choose a dedicated business hotel and/or district, allowing for a more muted atmosphere and avoiding the tourist crowds.
6. Let someone else do the planning
Use a professional travel-management company to help you mix business travel with leisure. Flight Centre Business Travel can help you put together a cost-effective travel package allowing good use of your free time while travelling for work.
In addition, letting Flight Centre Business Travel take care of organising flights, hotel bookings, transfers, lounge passes, insurance, car rental and loyalty points will save you time and stress – plus you’ll have 24-hour access to a team member who can help with concerns or problems. This peace of mind is even more valuable during the frenetic holiday season.
7. Stay healthy and comfortable
Air travel always poses the risk of picking up bugs and germs. Pack a small bottle of hand sanitiser and wet wipes and use them regularly. Many airports these days also have sanitiser stations for travellers – don’t pass one without cleaning your hands. Remember to pack small first-aid items such as plasters and make sure you have any chronic or acute medicines in your carry-on baggage.
If you’re a contact lens wearer, opt for your glasses during the flight – and make a real effort to stay hydrated.
Try to rest so you can arrive at your destination fresh for your meetings or conference. You may think lugging a travel pillow around looks silly – but on long trips you’ll sleep like a baby while fellow travellers struggle to get comfortable.