After nearly two years of business largely being conducted remotely, the chances are that you’ll want to make up for lost time and visit clients, suppliers, trade fairs and conferences this year (Coronavirus variants permitting). Our tips will help you minimise jet lag, make the most of your travel trips and keep you safe when travelling for business.
While the coronavirus lockdown put a halt to most international travel, the reopening of country borders and regular trade networking has seen business travel start to return. In April 2021, Statista showed that business travel accounted for 17.4% of travel spending worldwide, at a total of $504 billion (a 61% decrease from $1,294 billion in 2019). Although the volume may have fallen greatly, with remote working predicted to almost double in the next five years to 36.2 million in the US alone according to Upwork’s Future Workforce Pulse Report, there will be even more reason to pack your bags to visit a number of different business locations to ensure processes are running smoothly.
Agile travel plans
In an age of uncertainty around travel, being flexible and adaptable is key. That’s why our first tip for getting back to business travel is to be nimble with how you make your plans. This covers everything from your car rental or taxi bookings to and from an airport or ferry, down to checking your tickets have a cancellation and refund policy.
Many travel businesses are starting to include flexible bookings for Coronavirus, such as British Airways, which will allow you to change or cancel flights in the event of any last minute issues.
Equally, if you’re staying at a hotel, hostel, B&B or Airbnb, it may be wise to check they offer last-minute cancellation refunds or flexible bookings.
There’s nothing worse than having to pull an oversized bag around an airport, ferry port or train station – especially if your trip is intended to be short and professional! That’s why we recommend that you always travel light, with a fail-safe kit of packing essentials. This way, if you have a business trip to go on, you can be ready and prepared at the drop of a hat – even more advisable given that you may need to make swift plans to take advantage of travel routes re-opening during ongoing coronavirus restrictions:
- Sleeping eye mask: For anyone who has been on long flights or journeys, you’ll know how hard it can sometimes be to catch a bit of rest along the way. By having a good quality sleeping eye mask, you can finally enjoy some peace and quiet. The MZOO Sleep Mask comes with its own earplugs and silky pouch, keeping this essential easy to find in your hand luggage.
- Travel adapter: In modern business, your phone or laptop are often your way of accessing everything you need to work. That makes having a universal travel adapter incredibly important in keeping your valuable devices running. The hyleton Worldwide Travel Adapter fits almost any international plug, meaning no more panic around where to charge your mobile phone!
- Portable door lock: As business travellers return to international routes, thieves will also be aware of the locations where they typically stay. That’s why having a portable door locking device, such as the DoorJammer Portable, can be an essential addition to any business travel kit. No larger than an iPhone, it can be conveniently carried in a bag or jacket pocket and easily installed on in-swinging doors overnight, to help keep you and your valuable equipment secure.
- RFID Passport Wallet: While we’re still on the subject of safety, don’t forget your passport and bank cards! Having a documents wallet that has RFID blocking protection will keep your tickets and papers safely organised, but also out of reach from any card-scanning scams. The Homchen RFID Blocking Travel Passport Wallet Holder is a compact, durable solution that is available in a variety of colours.
- Noise-cancelling headphones: If you prefer to travel listening to music, podcasts or catching up on recorded business meetings and interests, having a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones can make all the difference. The Bose QuietComfort range are wireless and include a microphone for phone calls, making them useful whether you’re in the air, or on the street!
Staying safe when travelling
As the Omicrom variant has shown, while we are learning to live with Coronavirus, we can’t be complacent, making it important to stay safe and healthy when travelling to new locations for business. That’s why our final recommendation for planning that next work trip is to be hygienic.
Remember to keep a face mask and hand sanitizer in your pockets, where they are easily accessed whenever needed. We would suggest this is worthwhile doing even if there are no requirements to wear face masks when you set out on your trip. With new variants emerging, restrictions and safety guidelines can change frequently; with face masks so small and light, packing a few is a sensible precaution that isn’t going to tip you over any luggage weight restrictions.
There are many pocket-sized bottles of hand-sanitizer available that also won’t add much to your luggage, and Carex even offers its Antibacterial Hand and Surface Spray in packs of 6, if you know you will be travelling often (or in a group). But do check first if the airport you will be travelling through has any restrictions over carrying hand sanitizer as a liquid in your hand luggage.