Whether it's to meet suppliers or vendors, to analyze the customer base, assess the competition, or attend forums and events, entrepreneurs know that in order to succeed, they must travel.
But when too much work, too many client presentations, and too many other needs all demand your attention at once, the added stress of dealing with the minutiae of travel logistics can hinder that very success.
As I discussed with You, Inc., when you have to travel to Asia and back in 48 hours, or to Siberia and back in three days, or on any travel-heavy, must-go business trip, these tips can make all the difference:
1. Book Smart -- If you're an entrepreneur, chances are you are watching the bottom line. Is there a particular destination you must often fly to? Especially if it's a pricey fare, try reverse booking: Either buy one 1-way ticket and then book a round trip for the return (keeping the other trip to the destination in reserve), or buy a connection ticket that connects in your destination and just don't continue on. This ticket must be purchased as a 1-way, but it will be much cheaper.
2. Bank Sleep -- Travel takes a lot of energy, and you need to be fresh and rested to win that client or wow your team. Bring eye masks, noise-cancelling headphones and anything else that may help you rest effectively.
3. Ground Support -- Delays, cancellations and snafus are virtually inevitable, so make sure you have a team on the ground to help you get around the lines at the gate and so that you avoid long hold times on the phone.
4. Hydrate -- The last thing you need is to feel sick. Aircraft cabins are purposely kept dry to maintain airline equipment, while alcohol and caffeine actually exacerbate the dryness. Make sure you drink lots of water.
5. Power Up -- Some airlines are equipped with electrical outlets in the seats, but most are not. You don't want to waste this long flight staring at a dead laptop or tablet screen, so make sure your battery is at 100% when you board.
6. Seat Selection -- Location, location, location: It could make the difference between a good night's rest or being nudged awake every 10 minutes by passengers heading for the washroom or galley. Use Seat Guru to find the perfect seat.
7. Never Check -- Checking luggage is for amateurs; pros know that 22-by-14-by-9 inches fits in any overhead. Checking luggage means waiting at least an extra 30 minutes for your bag -- if it makes it.
8. Advance Check-In -- Your seat is not confirmed until you are checked in. In fact, if bad weather forces a weight limit and you're not checked in, you could get bumped. Keep in mind also that a change of aircraft could affect your seat selection. So double-check your flight status and complete your check-in 24 hours in advance; reconfirm your seat selection, and some airlines, allow you to reserve your meal at that time.
9. Avoid Customs Lines -- TSA Precheck, Nexus, Global Entry and more: Any and all are worth it so you can bypass the painfully long lines for security and customs -- and can instead use the machines to get into the country.
10. Quick Getaway -- When you need to get to that meeting on time, don't assume you can just hail a taxi -- or that the driver can find your destination. Taxi queues are unpredictable and you could be left waiting for up to 45 minutes, especially during holidays and school breaks. Instead, use a professional car service like Boston Coach, Carey or Sunny's to reserve in advance or use Uber when you land.
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