Business Travel Tips From A Digital Nomad
Posted on 19 April 2018
Hopping on a plane for a long holiday is one thing, but travelling for work puts me in a whole different headspace. To make sure that I stay focused on the “business” part of “business travel”, I offload the gritty details of getting to and from onto my team of personal assistants...aka the apps on my phone. Letting technology take the reigns allows me to keep my mind on bringing my A-game with the comfort of knowing that the important details won’t get lost in the shuffle.
Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way:
1. Make your calendar work for you
I would love to be the type of person that actually writes things down and remembers the dates and times of my flights, but for now, I rely on my Google apps to keep me on track.
One very helpful feature I’ve come to rely on is the auto-scheduling capability on Google Calendar. When linked to Gmail, the calendar automatically creates an event block when I receive a flight or hotel confirmation email. The event block even includes the details of my reservation and a link to the original confirmation email. Having these self-generated reminders on my calendar saves me time, effort and keeps me from double-booking, which is especially helpful when I’m juggling multiple trips at once.
The Google search app is also helpful when I’m on the go. I get customized results that only I can see, like a link to check in to my flight online when I search “Tokyo Flight”, or updates on my reservation when I search “Shanghai Hotel”. Having the details at my fingertips keeps me moving and informed in real time.
2. Keep a digital copy of the important things
No matter where I’m travelling to, I make sure to have a photo of my work badge, business card and the first page of my passport saved on my phone in case of emergencies (or for a quick reference when filling out any landing forms). Having digital backups of these items can be literal lifesavers if the situation calls for it.
I’m also a big fan of mobile boarding passes. Some people feel more secure having a printed copy but I always opt for a digital version whenever possible if it means one more line I can skip at the airport. In case of any hiccups with phone service, I also keep a screenshot of my boarding pass handy.
3. Track those expenses
No one likes to do their expenses but I’ve found that planning ahead can keep the headache to a minimum. First and foremost, I take photos of my receipts and save them to a separate album before I have the chance to lose them. As fun as it is digging frantically through my purse and pockets for receipts at the end of every month, keeping a snap of each bill has been much easier to manage.
If your company’s expense management system has an app, don’t wait until you get back to your desk to start sorting through your charges. My company uses Concur, which allows me to track and submit expenses right on my phone but Splitwise is also a great alternative. While Splitwise caters to splitting bills across several people, you can also use it to track personal expenses by creating a group with yourself as the only member. The app is also able to keep track of multiple currencies in one group, making it even easier to convert and track your charges.
4. Make the most of your free time
It's easy to forget that work travel is still travel and travelling is a privilege not everyone has. When I do have downtime, I try to make the most of it. I turn to travel guides from apps like Klook or TripAdvisor to help me pick an activity or two to get a feel for whatever city I’m in. On the days where time is scarce and exploring isn’t really an option, I’ll try to pick a local favourite for dinner instead of ordering room service at the hotel. Eating dinner is non-negotiable (at least for me), so why not make an experience out of it?
5. Stick with your healthy routines
Regular exercise, especially when I’m travelling for more than a few days keeps me energized and focused. While most hotels will have gyms, I like to keep a playlist of my favourite follow-along workouts saved on my Youtube app. This way, I can get a sweat session in, even if I get back to my hotel after gym hours. Having a few simple exercise videos on hand leaves no room for excuses and is free and easy to prep before a trip.
6. Keep all the important things in one place
As a frequent traveller, I like to make sure all of my “airport necessities” are in one place. That means my passport, boarding pass and a pen for entry forms are kept together and handy in my travel wallet. This saves me from that pang of panic at the security gate where I’m frantically clutching at the bottom of my bag for the boarding pass that was in my hand just a second ago. And don’t overlook that pen. Having your entry forms filled out before you land means getting in that immigration line faster. Shaving off a few minutes to jump a couple spots in line can end up saving you a lot more time than you think.