You may be a business traveller that likes bleisure, or you could be an individual that simply wants just a little more comfort. Either way, we have some top tips for you.
Booking the perfect business trip is an art form and with a few tweaks and adjustments to your normal routine, you can end up with a fantastic trip. Remember; the journey is just as important as the destination.
Not always the easiest one, as options can be limited by whether your company buys the tickets on your behalf via their preferred partner. Also, destinations and departure times can limit your choice. If you are lucky enough to choose your flights or have options, consider these points:
Cost vs Times
In my experience, I have noticed that the more expensive airlines, such as British Airways and Air France, land at better located terminal buildings and their arrival times seem the best (I’m not sure why). Budget airlines typically land at terminal buildings further away from the exit. In the end, travellers develop a preference for which airlines they use, so pick one you like, especially if you earn points from them.
If you are flexible, then consider using a service like Skyscanner. Not only do they show you each airline and route, but they also reveal prices, so you can compare and make an informed choice. The search features are strong, allowing you to compare different departure airports, direct flights, or even 1 stop or 2+ options.
When to fly
This point is not focussed on cost saving, as early morning flights are often cheaper, but weigh heavy on your wellbeing. Early flights are great, but you can end up being very tired for the day and not performing at your best during a meeting. Personally, my preference is to fly out the night before, get to my hotel for around 6/7pm, then relax in the evening. I can get a good night’s sleep and wake up, ready to perform the next day. For the return flight, I prefer the following day, but this can depend on how far you live from the airport. If you’re likely to get home after 10pm, then fly back the following day, aiming to land in your city at around lunchtime, then finish the day in the office. The trick here is not to tire yourself out. Remote working is easy, so whether you’re at home or in a hotel, you’re likely to be as productive as you normally are.
At the Airport
Not everyone realises this, but airports can offer additional perks while travelling through them. Visiting their website may not cross your mind, but you can get better rates on parking, even if booking the day before a flight. You can also add lounge facilities and fast-track security options. Each of these makes the experience that much better and less stressful.
As a business traveller, you want to be relaxed. Well, for the hard-working, you want to be productive, but either way, you need somewhere a little quieter, calmer and geared towards remote working. Chances are, if you are flying business class, the airline will offer you a complimentary lounge. For those travelling in economy, then you can enjoy the same comfort for a small additional price. On most airport websites, you can find a range of lounges for between £20 – £35. Consider the value of your productivity. 1 hour of you being productive is most likely worth that cost. Additionally, lounges usually offer free coffee and snacks; perfect if you are hungry and not wanting to waste time queuing for a Starbucks.
Alternatively, for all you frequent flyers, you may wish to consider investing in an annual lounge pass. These memberships are great if you travel regularly. The top tier ‘Prestige’ membership with Priority Pass comes in at around £259, which means free lounge visits and the maths really adds up. Let’s say that an average lounge pass is £20. This means that you’d only need to visit the lounge more than 13 times in one year, before you feel the benefits and enjoy the savings.
Fast Track Security
Now this one I know can stir up some strong opinions. Why waste a few pounds on skipping the long queue? Well, if you don’t travel regularly then it probably doesn’t mean so much to you, but when you fly weekly, no one wants to spend 45 minutes to an hour queuing each time. It’s a boring waste of time. Upgrade on the airport’s website and spend more time in the lounge, working.
Passport Control Fast Track
Not all airports offer this, but it is a good option to consider. Arriving at passport control after a business trip is not an experience you treasure, especially if you are rushing back into the office or home, to your bed. Opting for passport control fast track gives you the benefit of a dedicated lane and a faster processing. Anything to avoid queues after a long flight has to be a good thing!
There is little exciting about this, but booking in advance gets you the best rates and some airports offer better parking options for business travellers. These could be spaces closer to the terminal building, valet parking or nice add-ons such as professional car valeting. What could be nicer than returning home to a sparkling car?
Additionally, while booking your parking, you have the option to buy a package that can include, fast track and lounge, but this is airport-dependent.
After a long flight or perhaps an early start, there is little better than finding a brilliant hotel that allows you to wind down and relax, so invest a little extra time and find that amazing location where you would want to stay, if you were on holiday.
To hotel or Airbnb, that is the question.
You may not automatically consider this, after years of staying in hotels, but do not miss the opportunity to check out the range of accommodation that Airbnb offers. If you require flexibility, book through Airbnb Business. It offers 24-hour check-in, has a wide range of properties in many locations and at varying price points. I tend to find that with Airbnb, you can find something that little bit more special and private, if you book the entire place. Give it a go.
No need for an introduction. I typically use booking.com, but that is down to habit and convenience. I do have a few tips that I use to get the best out of it, all of which are easily transferable to other sites.
I’d recommend selecting a minimum of a 4-star hotel. They offer better facilities and rooms, but not all 4-star hotels are equal. To find the superior ones, choose to view those with a review score of at least 8.2 and ideally 8.5. Add any other requirements to the search filter, then you’re good to go.
Once you have found a few hotels you like, spend five minutes scrolling through the pictures. Look at the hotel location on the map, then compare on Google maps, looking at the distance from the airport and your meeting location. Choose the one that is just right and you’ll not have cause to regret your decision. Personally, if I see ‘rooftop bar’ listed in the facilities, then I’m instantly sold.
We just touched on this, but it is an important consideration. The location of your hotel is important, as you need to consider proximity to your meeting location, but also a little nightlife and amenities. If this is not possible, I’ would prioritise central city locations, then adjust my travelling schedule to include a slightly longer taxi journey to my meeting.
A central city location allows you to enjoy yourself when your work is over. Hotels can be great, but they are also boring, if you’re on your own. Going out and exploring the city can lead to great experiences.
The Perfect Business Trip
We each have our own preferences, but this is my list. In the end, I try and do things that ensure that I am relaxed and focused on the task at hand, during every phase of my business travelling. Give your comfort and productivity equal priority and travelling the world will never feel like work again.