I was chatting with a good friend over drinks and we were discussing as a regular traveller what some of my top tips would be for those less experienced business travellers.
1. Don't overload your hand luggage, if your travelling for business, apart from a short trip, you will no doubt have hold luggage, so why overburden your hand luggage, stick what you don't need into your suitcase.
One of my pet hates when travelling through airports is waiting in line for security as people unload the contents of the kitchen sink from their hand luggage, just make sure your prepared, belt off, lap top to hand ready to just drop then in the trays, so much more relaxing.
2. As soon as I get on to the aeroplane I set my watch to the time at destination to try and train my body clock into the new time zone, particularly to try and fit eating and sleep patterns into the time at the destination. More than half of the human body is made of water, and it's really easy to become dehydrated while traveling. So drink plenty of water, both during your flight and before it. Personally I generally avoid alcohol as it dehydrates you whilst flying.
3. Think about how you are going to get to where you are staying, easy if someone is going to collect you if not I generally will print of the hotel addresss in advance or if the local language doesn't use the latin alphabet then email them as ask them to send me the address in the local script. That way if you want a taxi and the driver doesn't speak English you can just show them where you wish to go. Personaly I like to try public transport if I can so I also ask for advise on how to get from the airport / rail station. Once you arrive at your hotel pick up a business card and then if for any reason you find yourself needing to get back whilst not knowing where you are again you can just show the card.
4. I always will leave a copy of my itinerary and where I can be contacted with someone in the U.K. for security purposes, god forbid anything may happen to you but better to be safe than sorry and if needed people know where you are or should be. Keep a spare copy of important documents in case things go missing.
5. Patience is important when travelling, not everywhere runs the same way as home, so relax and be understanding but make sure you leave yourself time, add a little extra time to any journey in case of delays it is much better to be early than late. In the Middle East they can be very laissez faire about meeting times, however the opposite can be true such as in Japan where punctuality is very important.
6. Take time to get a feel for the pulse of a place, learn a few words in the local language, even if it is just please, thank you, hello and goodbye, I guarantee it will get you a smile. If you can just try take a break and observe local life around you.
7. If you travel to the same city stick with the same hotel, choose a hotel based on its location, meaning how close it is located to amenities, your clients etc. Prioritise convenience over price, saves money in the long run.
8. Have two of everything I have two toiletries bags and two sets of computer and phone cables, one set is for home, the other is for travel. The one's for travel are always left in my suitcase so I never get to my destination late at night only to realise I've left my toothbrush at home.
9. Hide a credit card in your suitcase, on the very rare chance that you might lose your wallet or purse, have a credit card hidden away in your luggage so that in a worse case scenario, you've got a backup.
10. Travel with a basic health kit, always check beforehand regarding innoculations but always take the basics such as headache tablets, plasters and I never leave home without immodium (other brands are available). Also be aware that carrying not just prescription drugs but over the counter drugs can casue issues in some countries, keep them in your hold luggage or make sure you have a letter from your doctor explaining why you need them.
Most importantly have a good trip.