As a professional consultant who is quite competent at what she does, I do a whole lot of traveling. I am someone that can be referred to as a road warrior. These days, the word consultant is in fact synonymous with traveling. No matter what industry one renders his/her services to, as long as your service has to do with consulting, then it should be expected that you’ll be spending a lot of your time away from home.
Yes, traveling comes with its own share of perks and benefits, but the thing is, even for the most dedicated jetsetter, frequent business trips can make one feel frazzled. It is important for one to maintain his/her work-life balance, which is something quite difficult to do even from a surrounding one is used to; therefore when you are offering services like consulting that keeps you on the go, you’ll be needing some real time strategies to ensure that you remain centered. Below are some travel tips for consultants that I have garnered over the years from my own experience as a consultant.
Shoes and Clothes
• Do not wear a belt – This tip is for the convenience of passing through security. Following it means you won’t have to go through the stress of taking it off and putting it back on. Besides that, it also helps your body system’s blood circulation.
• Drop the idea of putting on anything that contains metal buttons, labels, clips, etc.
• Wearing a clothing that has got too many pockets might become a hassle as you are bound to forget a coin or key in one of its pocket which will in turn set off metal detectors. So, do not wear clothing with too many pockets.
• Tight clothes should also not be on your list of clothing as they will cut your blood circulation, which will make the journey uncomfortable for you.
• Put on comfortable clothes that will be close to your body; do not wear baggy as these can make security personnel flag you down.
• Put on sandals or slippers and if you feel like putting on shoes, wear those with thin soles but make sure they have no metal fittings or shoelaces. This will help you feel comfortable as you might not experience the feeling of taking them off and if it happens that you want to do that, it will be easier for you to take off.
Money and Travel Documents
• As said earlier do not carry anything metal which includes coins. If it happens that you must carry coins, ensure that you keep them in a plastic container instead of your pockets.
• Ensure to always have more than one currency on you. For instance, if you are going from Europe via London to the United State, ensure to have Euros, British Sterling Pounds on you as well as the US Dollars.
• Make sure that you carry credit cards that are accepted globally with you. You never know when emergencies might pop up.
• You should also try to pay for as many expenses as you can beforehand. This will help you reduce the amount of cash you’ll need to have on you. You’ll also be equipped with the ability to bargain to the maximum.
• Always carry your travel insurance, you never can tell when you might get injured or fall sick.
• If the person isn’t your colleague or family, do not give them the bag containing your travel documents.
• Keep all of your necessary documents in a place, probably a folder for safety and ease of access.
• Ensure that you make use of major airlines whenever possible. It is true that budget airlines save you a lot of cash but the thing is there are some things like schedule, safety, and reliability you’ll need to consider, and these factors are usually better with major airlines. As a frequent flier you will get exclusive benefits and privileges like extra (hand) baggage allowance, airport lounge access, priority boarding etc.
• Keep a list of numbers to call should you experience any kind of delay or cancelation, like corporate travel management numbers, hotel numbers, rentals, etc.
• Loyalty cards offer a wide range of benefits like priority check-ins, which offers you less time on a queue. They provide you with the opportunity to carry excess baggage. This is especially useful when you are having your mobile office (brown paper, moderation kit, etc.) traveling with you. You also get VIP services for customs clearance and priority emigration. Access to a lounge that has got free broadband internet connection is also one of the rewards that comes with loyalty cards. This benefits are quite vital for a consultant. It is essential that you get loyalty cards that offer these benefits instead of going for the ones with free food and discount on air miles.
• If possible, ensure that you stay in a hotel with the highest class. If your budget isn’t enough for that, make sure the hotel you are going to be staying in is no less than a 3 star establishment; you should be able to get a comfortable experience from these. Almost all major hotel chains own a lucrative loyalty program that allow guests to earn hotel points and redeem them for discounted or free stays.
• Some of the main facilities you should look for in a hotel are free broadband internet access, a gym and complimentary ironing of at least one set of clothes per day.
• Ensure that you are well hydrated twenty four hours before your flight. This means you’ll have to refrain from exercises that make you sweat excessively, and if you take alcohol, you’ll have to drink less alcohol before traveling.
• Live in the destination time zone. Most advanced aircrafts have this feature that mimics the time zone you are traveling to. This will allow you get accustomed to the time zone even before you get to your destination.
• Bring a book/iPad/eReader on board.
• Have a notepad with you, you can get inspired at any time.
• Buy noise cancellation headphones – even if your not listening to music, they will help you to calm down and relax.
• You can also go over the work of some of your clients, or play puzzle games.