Business travel and recreational travel are different, yet sometimes similar. Let’s call them cousins.
Each requires some form of luggage, transportation and lodging, yet budget and activities can wildly vary. So on the most basic level, both types of travel demand different tools. Where a two week backpacking trip to India might require a backpack, stuffing your three-piece suit into a 65 liter Osprey bag might tamper your closing ability when a potential buyer in Chicago sees countless wrinkles because you wanted to “rough” it.
So lets go over a few must-haves for business travel, starting with the situation just mentioned.
Step Up Your Luggage Game
There’s a great scene in the award winning movie, “Up in the Air,” where George Clooney’s veteran business traveler character preaches about the wonderful qualities of the modern suitcase. Well, he’s not only handsome, but right.
Setting aside the notable importance of having your business suitcase be carry-on friendly, it should also mirror your movements without struggle. Two wheels are good, four wheels that twist and turn and let you casually push your suitcase along without fear of tipping are amazing.
No kidding, having great luggage specifically for business travel is life changing. If you’ve cursed your old, got it for Christmas when in college suitcase in the last year, it’s time to treat yourself (or get the pen and paper out for a letter to Santa).
Your Schedule, Perfected
Whether you’re dependent on your phone’s calendar, spiral bound notebooks or your brain, managing and sticking to your schedule is job no. 1 when on the road.
I see travel organization as a direct relation to someone’s learning ability. Everyone has there own preferences and best practices. Some people like a tangible printed-out Excel spreadsheet, while others prefer the buzz of their phone reminding them of an upcoming appointment.
I’ve come kicking and screaming away from the land of organized notebooks and printouts to exclusively utilizing my phone while traveling for business (thank you, TripIt), leaving a more improvised experience for recreational travel. It hasn’t been easy to give up my grasp on the physical world of organization, but so far, the advantages of having helpful reminders, important information, and the ability to manage my schedule without having to dig into my bag for a pen or printed confirmation emails has made the transition easier. No more do I sweat the sweat that’s blurring my flight number and gate inked on top of my hand.
Reap All The Points
Business travel is an excellent opportunity to earn “free” rewards on credit cards when expensing all of your flights and hotel rooms. If your company allows you to freelance with your own cards when on the road and booking travel, here are a few of the best for helping you enjoy your time off when it comes, courtesy of nerdwallet.com’s September 2016 rankings.
Bank of America Travel Rewards Card:
- Bonus offer – 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days – that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases
- Rewards rate – 1.5 points per dollar
- Annual fee – $0
- Intro APR -0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles
- Ongoing AP – 15.24% – 23.24% Variable APR
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card:
- Bonus offer – Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Rewards rate – 1 point per dollar
- Annual fee – $0 for the first year, then $95
- Intro APR – N/A
- Ongoing APR – 16.24% – 23.24% Variable APR
Capital One Reward Ventures Card
- Bonus offer – Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel
- Rewards rate – 2 miles
- Annual fee – $0 intro for first year; $59 after that
- Intro APR – N/A
- Ongoing APR – 13.24% – 23.24% (Variable)
Have an airline preference? Most carriers have partnered with banks to create a credit card, so if you love Southwest, United, Delta, Alaska, etc.—there’s most likely a card and points bonus out there with your (ready to print) name on it.
Speaking of plastic …
Extra toiletry organizer? Quarantine zone for dirty clothes? You never know when or why you’re going to need them, but they always come in handy. Plastic bags.
All The Cords
Got your phone charger? Laptop charger? Headphones? Anything else that wants to get tangled in a bundle of frustration?
I like to have a backup set of power chords for all my devices so I can keep one set in the office and the other for working from home or traveling. If your IT department is like mine, they’ll have a stockpile of discarded power chords and other possibly relevant hardware ripe for the picking (I now have three MacBook charges—shhh).
Now that I’m flush in wires and chords, how do I keep all this organized? Zip ties and other chord organizers are a great way to keep you from having gritted teeth and mumbling something about Christmas lights while in intimate, confined public places like airplanes where sanity is required. Stock up because as we all know, chords and wires aren’t going anywhere.
Or are they? Which leads us to …
Yes, as in, what Apple referenced as the key factory when deciding to finally slay the nuisance that was the headphone jack.
In our case however, I want to use courage more in its traditional realm, like having the courage to:
- Talk to strangers.
- Ride public transportation.
- Explore a city by walking.
- Try new styles of cuisine (looking at you international Burger King loyalists).
I’ll save the Instagram inspirational quote-post for your mid-afternoon refresh and just say this: everyone has varying comfort zones. What is easy for one is harrowing for others. Business travel is the perfect opportunity to find little, low-risk opportunities of personal growth through mini-moments exploring a city on your own whether it’s Tokyo or Tallahassee.
Miss anything? Let us know in the comments!