Business travel is, at its best, still a bit of a headache, particularly if you need to pitch to a client soon after getting off a long flight. If you’re not used to it, business travel can take a toll on your body and mind.
We turned to a few investment bankers and consultants in their 30s with plenty of experience crossing oceans and pitching deals the next day. Here are a few pieces of advice they imparted, some more obvious than others.
In the US, signing up for TSA Pre-Check can save tens of minutes getting through the screening process if you are deemed a “low risk traveler.” You’ll be placed in a shorter, faster-moving security line and can also keep your belt, shoes and jacket on. Plus, you won’t need to pull your laptop out of your bag if it’s compliant with the Transportation Security Administration’s standards. Find one of those and buy it.
Pre-Check works with 11 different airlines and is accepted for international flights as long as they depart out of the US. You can set up an appointment at an airport before one of your flights or after you land. It only takes a few minutes.
Wrack up points
Depending upon your line of work within financial services and your particular employer, you may have the option of keeping mileage points for yourself. If you’re eligible, do just that. Sign up with multiple airlines but try and fly on one in particular to build up as many points as possible.
A Big Four consultant said that with the American Airlines points he accumulates through work, he hasn’t paid for a personal flight in years. And he upgrades to first class often.
Conversely, a former Deutsche Bank VP said he was once given the option to transfer American Express points from his work card to his personal account. He chose not to out of laziness and, 10 years later, is still kicking himself. He ended up covering emerging markets and was spending tens of thousands of dollars a month on his corporate card.
Spend on the rental
For shorter trips, the difference between base-level rental cars and luxury models is rather negligible. An anonymous banker said he always splurges on fancy models for two reasons. You’ll look better with clients and airports always keep the most expensive rental cars up front. It can save you a few minutes.
Don’t nap on cross-continental trips
If you’re flying across multiple time zones, especially if you are going west to east, don’t nap when you land. Struggle through the rest of the day and wait until nighttime to go to bed. This will get you acclimated to the new time zone much sooner. If you fall asleep after landing in the morning or afternoon, you’ll keep yourself in your original time zone and be a mess for the rest of the trip.
Also, if you are taking a night flight, one banker suggests not taking sleep medication unless the flight is at least seven hours. He recalls taking an Ambien flying from New York to London and waking up five hours later "feeling like a ghost."
Other quick ones
- If you don’t have TSA Pre-Check, always wear loafers and socks.
- Buy a Powerpad so that you can charge all your devices without needing to bring multiple cords.
- Buy a hotspot/mifi device so that you can work on-the-go.
- Splurge on a quality piece of luggage with a dress bag included, and make sure that it fits in the overhead bin so you never have to check luggage. You only need one pair of dress shoes.
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