05 February 2016

Survival Guide for Business Travellers : Air Travel

by Roberto Revilla
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According to Ryan Bingham, played to perfection by George Clooney in Up In The Air, avoiding people with children, the elderly and certain ethnic groups is a must when attempting to travel on business efficiently.

Here are my top tips on how to survive your business trips with a little less stereotyping than our friend Ryan…

1. Preparation is key before you travel

- When buying business clothes get help from your tailor/salesperson on which suit fabrics are less resistant to creasing, shirt fabrics that are easier to iron and more crease-resistant. I always ask my own clients whether they travel or not and the answer determines the types of fabrics that client needs to focus on.
- Keep your business travel suit dark – preferably dark grey or deep navy. This will stop you scratching your head over what colour shirts and ties will work. A deep navy suit if cut and styled right is the most versatile as the jacket can be used as a blazer for evening dinners, client entertaining etc.
- When you get your shirts laundered, have them folded rather than on hangars. This means you always have them ready to go and easy to pack at a moment’s notice.
- Visualise your trip when deciding what to pack. Take a few minutes to look at your schedule and then visualise your journey from beginning to end. Then only get out the items of clothing you need at each stage of the trip to ensure you pack as light as possible.
- Use a carry-on rather than luggage that needs checking in. Checking in luggage wastes on average 35 minutes for domestic flights and even longer for medium-long haul trips. Times that by how many trips you take in a year and that could be a huge number of days wasted!
- When you pack keep everything neatly folded and use all available space. Your suit will take up the most space so either wear it (for a short flight) or pack the trousers and wear the jacket as a blazer (handy to stow your boarding pass and passport for quick access).
- Check-in online before you travel and have your boarding pass pre-printed (or available on your smartphone) which saves you the bother of going to a check-in desk.
- Make sure you have already prepared for your meetings, written any presentations before you travel. Don’t rely on cramming it all in during the flight! The journey should be used to review and relax – get your head ready for the Big Game.
- Work out your journey time to the airport and pre-book your taxi, or if you live in a big city I strongly recommend Uber because you can usually get a ride in minutes.
- Just before you walk out the door stick all your electronic devices in the front (or easiest accessible) compartment of your carry-on bag.

2. At the airport

- If you’ve followed everything I’ve outlined in part one, then part two should be a breeze starting with arriving at the airport – head directly to security with your pre-printed boarding pass ready that you smugly stuck in your jacket pocket before you left the house.
- As you enter the security zone, scan the queues quickly. Here I would take Ryan’s advice and avoid getting behind anyone with kids. Sometimes however you can’t pick and choose where to line up and you need to do what you're told else there’ll be big trouble – so while you wait in line take off your jacket, remove your belt and watch and pop them in your jacket pockets, and untie the laces on your shoes. Bonus points to you if you are wearing slip-ons!
- When it’s your turn, pop your bag on the conveyor belt, grab two trays, pop your coat and shoes in the first and then grab your electronic devices and stick them in the second. Whip through the scanner without setting off the dreaded beep, collect your belongings and off you go.
- Grab two bottles of water and drink one before you board, drink the other during take-off. And I mean really drink it, like down the darn thing. I have no idea of the scientific reasons why but flying can create havoc with the digestive system so if you don’t want to be bunged up for a few days after your flight drink your water as I’ve prescribed and it will help keep you nice and regular. Having experienced no action for a while after your flight, you really don't want your next bowel movement to want to occur during your big presentation.

Repeat the above for the return trip home and you should be in good shape – do this on your next few trips and you’ll form habits that will keep you an efficient, happy traveller until someone invents a teleportation device. Which less face it isn't likely to happen any time soon.