Traveling Tips for Consultants On the Go

Let’s face it, traveling for business has always been a little bit difficult.  In the past several years, there have been changes that have negatively impacted the travel experience, driving up stress levels.

Draconian airport security measures, aging airport facilities in an economy that doesn’t support the building of new ones, and increasingly tinier amounts of personal space aboard the aircraft have made the business travel experience less enjoyable than one would hope.

When traveling for business, there are a few simple tips that can ease the stress-level often experienced by the weary traveler.  Here are just a few.

No Rental Car?  Don’t Bother.

If the company you are consulting with doesn’t want to provide you with a rental car after you have traveled across the state (or, for that matter, country) to give them your services, then perhaps you ought to reconsider whether your time is better spent elsewhere.  Do you really want to have to schlep to work for the hotel on the bus or train, in a strange city?

What if you want to get out and explore?  Is it assumed that you are going to pay for a rental yourself?  Find a tactful way to suggest that your new employer Google “US car rental,” or give your time to a company that appreciates your value! 

Don’t forget to take a few moments to walk around your rental car before you take off.  Check the vehicle for dents, dings, major scratches, cracked windows, busted tail lights, and similar damage.  If the rental car company doesn’t know about the damage to the vehicle, there is a good chance that you could be held responsible.  Reduce the chances of a stress-inducing credit card charge for vehicle damage, and point out all existing damage to a rental agent before accepting the vehicle.

Avoid the Rush

One of the first rules of thumb when booking business travel is to avoid itineraries with short durations between connecting flights.  Choosing a flight with less than an hour between connections will amp up your stress level right to the limit.  This may not apply if you are connecting through one of the smaller, less busy regional airports, but play it safe and take the longer layover if you are connecting through a large, busy airport.  Knowing you have plenty of time before that next flight goes a long way towards keeping things smooth during your trip.

Don’t Mix Business with Travel

Keep in mind that you will be doing plenty of work when you get off the flight.  While you may feel that working on a presentation, project plan, or client documentation is the best use of your flying time, remember that the stress of travel, not to mention the constant noise and interruptions, can have a less-than-positive impact upon your quality of work.  Unless critical project work requires your attention, take this time to rest.  Lack of adequate sleep can make you irritable, angry and more susceptible to stress.  Put in some earplugs, lean back, and catch some shuteye.

Reducing stress while traveling on business can make the difference between a quick, well-executed week of work and the business trip from outer space.  Taking the time to carefully plan ahead and utilize all of the tools at your disposal can mean a relaxing journey, instead of a nightmarish plunge into the chaotic airport melee.