Business travelers who fly regularly for work quickly get into a routine that makes their travels efficient and stress-free. As a leisure traveler, you’re likely to have the luxury of more time and flexibility when you embark on a journey. Still, we all like the thought of reducing stress during the journey. With that in mind, here are six tips from business travelers you can easily adopt for your next leisure trip.
Always Pack Light
Savvy business travelers don’t waste time standing around at checked baggage carousels — that is, if the airline doesn’t lose your luggage. Space-saving tips for squeezing more clothes into your carry-on include rolling rather than folding items — which has the added bonus of keeping items wrinkle-free — and stuffing shoes with smaller items such as socks. Packing cubes are also a handy tool to efficiently create more room in your suitcase. When planning your vacation wardrobe, ensure every item is sufficiently versatile to be worn in a variety of situations. If you’re off on a trip of more than a week, you can always plan to use the hotel laundry service or find a local laundromat that can offer a service wash for a fraction of the cost.
Leave a Few Essentials Packed at Home
Many frequent travelers find it useful to keep a “go” bag packed and ready at home. They’ll place toiletries into reusable travel-sized plastic bottles and store them in a quart-size clear plastic bag, along with a spare set of other frequently used items such as hair styling products, sunscreen, and toothpaste. You might also want to invest in a small first-aid kit with space to add painkillers, vitamins, and other personal care items. Charging cables and universal adaptors can be given a similar treatment — by investing in duplicates, you can stock a travel tech case and leave it in your carry-on suitcase between trips. This makes packing for your next adventure faster and easier, with half the work already completed ahead of time.
Dress for the Airport
Don’t forget about the clothes you intend to travel in — are they conducive to speeding through airport security? When traveling by plane, avoid wearing lots of jewelry and, if you can, choose an outfit that doesn’t need a belt. In places that require you to remove footwear, opt for slip-ons over lace-ups and avoid wearing bulky boots if at all possible. (And please: If there’s a chance you might be walking on a grubby airport floor, wear socks.) Finally, resist the temptation to stuff your pockets and clear out any purses while you’re still at home, in case they contain forgotten liquids or other items that might be confiscated.
Sign Up for Programs Like TSA PreCheck and Clear
If you’re a U.S. citizen or resident who travels regularly, it’s a no-brainer to sign up for trusted traveler programs such as TSA PreCheck. Aimed at pre-approving passengers deemed low-risk, these programs offer expedited security screening, where you’ll no longer be required to remove items such as shoes, belts, or laptops for inspection.
It can be a significant time saver: According to the TSA, around 99% of TSA PreCheck passengers wait less than 10 minutes in security lines. CLEAR Plus is designed to speed up the travel document checking process when you depart the U.S., while the Global Entry kiosks that you find at some airports work in a similar way for passengers returning to the U.S. from abroad. These programs aren’t free — for instance, Global Entry costs $100 to apply but lasts five years and it includes TSA PreCheck. It’s also worth noting some credit cards can offset the application fee.
Get the Right Credit Cards
One of the perks of business travel is that the company usually pays for your flights, but you collect the frequent flier miles. As a leisure traveler, make your own spending count and earn points on purchases that you’d be making anyway, such as groceries and gas. Each airline has its own loyalty program and credit cards, so work out which one has the most attractive flight options from your home airport and make sure to sign up before your flight. The points you earn can quickly add up to a free flight — particularly if your credit card offers a sign-up bonus or bonus points in specific categories such as dining. Some airline credit cards also offer useful perks such as free checked bags, priority boarding, airport lounge access, and statement credits for in-flight purchases.
Stay Healthy on the Road
When you’re on the road a lot, sticking to a wellness regime can be challenging — regardless of whether you’re a business or leisure traveler. The temptation to eat calorie-laden foods and large portions is everywhere, particularly in fast food restaurants and at hotel buffets. Still, it’s worth the effort to stick to a healthy diet.
For starters, don’t skip out on breakfast. Later in the day, try to pick dishes that go easy on carbs and heavily processed foods. Instead, choose leaner, protein-rich options such as grilled chicken or fish with steamed vegetables. You can also pack bags of dried fruit and nuts to snack on during the day or pick some up from a health food store near where you’re staying. Opt for a hotel with a gym or pool to ensure you meet your daily exercise goals or look for one that’s near cycling or jogging trails. Finally, drink plenty of water and keep an eye on your alcohol consumption — your body will thank you later.