Anyone who’s ever travelled for work knows it’s not as glamorous as it seems. Early mornings, fighting through peak hour traffic to get the airport, security lines, hours spent waiting at the gate – and that’s all before you even get on the plane. Add in the plane food, hotel beds and long taxi rides and you’ve got a recipe for a bad time.
Business travel will never be as enjoyable as a holiday, but there are some things you can do to make your next trip more bearable, and return home feeling human.
Skip the lines
The key to zipping through those airport security queues is simple: be prepared.
Be aware of what process you need to follow before you get to the front of the line. Have your laptop and iPad out of your bag ready to go through separately, along with anything that could possibly set off the scanner: belts, watches, jewellery, loose change in your pockets, metal fastenings on your shoes. If you are bringing a water bottle with you, empty it before you go through security so you don’t have to surrender it, or quickly chug a full bottle. Depending on the airport and your outfit, you might be asked to take off your shoes and coat. Be aware of any liquid volume restrictions for your toiletries, and have all your liquids together in a clear bag as well.
Choosing the right line also makes a huge difference. Look for queues predominantly made up of solo travellers: they tend to have less carry-on baggage and aren’t distracted by travelling companions, so these lines move much quicker than those with children or large groups.
Ditch the rental car companies and use a car-sharing service instead
Having a car when you’re travelling can be really useful, but is it worth waiting in line at the hire car desk, filling out endless paperwork, and hiking (with your luggage) all the way to the back of the carpark to collect it?
Car sharing services provide a convenient and cheaper alternative to traditional rental cars. Car Next Door allows users to borrow cars from real people nearby, meaning that you might be able to pick up a car from a street near your hotel or office. It’s quick and easy to sign up and you can rent vehicles by the hour or the day. Prices start from $5/hr + $0.33c/km (including fuel and insurance) meaning you can have a car when you need it and then return it when you’re done for the day. As an added bonus, Car Next Door offsets all your carbon emissions.
Follow the golden rules of packing
It really comes down to a few basics.
Everyone has their own packing tips they swear by, but for an easier trip, have one go-to piece of luggage you always use. Knowing exactly how to arrange everything in your suitcase to make it all fit is a huge time (and sanity) saver when it comes to packing. Give some thought to the specific outfits you will wear, making sure you choose clothing items that can mix and match with each other, doing double outfit duty. If you’re working hard there’s no excuse for your clothes to be slacking off. Lay out everything you think you’ll need, then put half of it away before it even gets near the suitcase. You won’t wear most of what you think you will, and if you’ve planned your outfits well you’ll know you have all the items you need.
Master the in-flight basics
Bring the essential carry-ons to have an enjoyable flight
Even short flights can be painful experiences but having a few carry on essentials will make a big difference to how you feel on the other side. Particularly for long-haul flights, being prepared will make the difference from getting off the plane relatively fresh and rested and being absolutely wrecked.
Firstly, beat the germs by making sure you have some hand sanitiser with you. Large numbers of people and recycled air make aeroplanes fertile ground for bacteria, so make sure you’re sanitising your hands regularly, especially after using the toilet and before eating. If you’re prone to dry skin and it’s a longer flight, some moisturiser or lip balm will help your skin stay hydrated. Bring a water bottle with you to fill once you’ve passed security to avoid getting thirsty on the flight, having to ask the flight attendants for a cup of water multiple times or even having to pay a steep price for a bottle.
You’ll also need reading material, Kindle’s can be used in aeroplane mode, or a good paper book if you prefer to read technology free. A fully-charged device loaded up with plenty to watch (or some work to catch up on), and noise cancelling headphones. The hours pass far more slowly when you’re sitting doing nothing so make sure you’ve got something to do, other than checking your watch every 10 minutes.
Don’t stress about a car park
It can be hard in a new city to know where to park, or whether you’ll need to waste time before your meeting or temporary location finding a spot to park. Luckily with Spacer it’s easy. You can find a suitable location close by to wherever you need to be. With parking locations all over Australia, why stress out about parking unnecessarily?
Particularly if you’ve travelled for business, time is of the essence. The last thing you want to be doing after making an interstate or international trip is wasting your limited time circling the block looking for a spot, or having to travel across the city from the nearest place you could find.