How to always be ready for business when you travel

By Chris C., September 7 2018
How to always be ready for business when you travel

Plenty of things can affect your business trips – flight delays, weather events, and terrible traffic to name but a few – but there’s lots you can do to take control of your travel, so that no matter what happens, you’re always ready for business.

By removing some of the variables along your journey, you’ll be able to schedule meetings more reliably, get more work done on the road or maximise your sleep so that you’re ready to roar: so here are five ways to keep your travels on-track.

1. Keep calm and carry-on

While checking-in luggage can sometimes be unavoidable, I fly with only cabin baggage wherever I can.

For starters, having no checked bag makes it far easier to change flights at the airport – not just when arriving early in ‘Fly Ahead’ situations, but also when flights end up delayed: I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been able to ditch my delayed flight and get to my next destination sooner, by switching flights at the last minute in the lounge, or even at the boarding gate, to one that’s on-time.

There’s also the efficiency of not having to arrive at the terminal earlier to check a bag in, and hang around after each flight to have it delivered, so particularly before early morning journeys, I can catch that little bit of extra sleep and be at the top of my game for meetings when I arrive, heading straight there as soon as the aerobridge is connected.

This strategy means the airline can’t misplace my luggage, either – and by extension, my business and evening attire for meetings and events – although if a bag has to be checked-in, keeping a day or two worth of clothes and supplies in your carry-on can help your trip run smoothly until you’re reunited with your checked luggage.

2. Shore up your airport lounge access

Even if you fly business class or have top-tier frequent flyer status, there are plenty of times an independent airport lounge membership can still come in handy, especially if your pre-flight routine involves preparing for your next meeting or tackling other work.

For example, the lounge your airline provides might be crowded and noisy – or, there may be no lounge at all – yet something like a Priority Pass card could open the doors elsewhere, helping you stay on-task.

It’s also a useful strategy to adopt if you tend to fly premium economy internationally: a better-than-economy cabin, but one that doesn’t normally include lounge access in the ticket price. When you have an independent lounge membership, you’re free to fly whichever airline you want, which brings about its own benefits, too.

Read: Escaping the Gold or Platinum status handcuffs

3. Noise-cancelling headphones are a must

Speaking of work on the road, one of the best investments I’ve made on my travels is a solid pair of noise-cancelling headphones, as those provided by airlines tend to be average at the best of times (and in my experience, are frequently delivered with broken or damaged connectors, crackly cables or sound in only one ear).

I find they help me stay focused on the task at hand – including in the lounge before my flight – as they don’t only offset background noise, but can also reduce the interference of other sounds and distractions when there’s music playing, such as the noise of screaming children.

On overnight journeys where I can’t lie down – when flying premium economy, for instance, or on recliner-style business class seats like ScootBiz or those found on Malindo Air – they also help me make the most of my rest for the busy business day ahead, or arrive back home feeling better-refreshed.

4. Bring your own source of power

Nothing says ‘epic fail’ on a business trip like a smartphone or laptop going flat at an inopportune moment, which is why I also carry both a charging case that clips around my phone, and a separate power bank capable of refuelling my other devices such as the Microsoft Surface, when access to wired power isn’t available.

Yes, airport lounges have power outlets, but it’s not always possible to sit near one – and while many aircraft feature at-seat power, sometimes they just don’t work: far from ideal on longer flights when you’re planning to hit the ground running.

Ultimately, whether you can conduct business on the road shouldn’t be at the mercy of the airline you’ve travelled with!

5. A universal, multi-country travel adaptor works wonders

Whether you’ll be visiting lots of countries on a single voyage, or your travels tend to be unpredictable, bringing along a multi-country power adaptor can be just the ticket, so that wherever you end up, you’re never left without the right plug or connector.

There’s no shortage of these on the market, and depending on your needs, some also feature multiple USB charging ports or provide surge protection.

Just be mindful that these tend to be larger in size than more traditional AC adaptors, and that if you’re travelling to places with less-common outlet types (such as with the rounded tri-pin connectors of the Indian subcontinent and South Africa), you’ll want to check whether your ‘universal’ adaptor will still serve you well.

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 966

I carry a battery back up that’s got enough juice to recharge a laptop.


04 Apr 2014

Total posts 207

Sone very good points Chris. One comment would be if travelling domestic (or to Canada!) in the US then overhead space can be very limited so plan to board early and if possible use FF status to get an early boarding group.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2014

Total posts 214

I carry an Australian power board with me when I travel, which plugs into a single travel adapter. This becomes my "base station" in hotels, allowing me to quickly put multiple devices on/off charge without any thought or effort.

This travel hack was a real game changer for me during longer stays in foreign hotels.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jul 2015

Total posts 219

Great idea! Had not thought of that and given we all travel with multiple devices its smart to do so.. Guess you have no issues carrying that through security checks?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Sep 2014

Total posts 3

Yeah, that AUS power board has been a must have for me too! So much easier just having 1 plug rather than multiple


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Nov 2017

Total posts 51

I bought a cheap leather passport wallet which has been great for storing my frequent flyer cards, overseas bank cards, spare pre-paid debit cards boarding passes (until partner points have hit the account) and the express passes when they don't collect them at customs! Also after losing one in a taxi and another in the washing machine, I've haven't needed a replacement since (touch wood).

Singapore Airlines - The PPS Club

11 Sep 2015

Total posts 46

Other tips

1. Store essential doccs/data in your 'cloud' be it Google drive or whatever.
2. Carry good quality earplugs. Beeswax are best. French Quies are my favourite.
3. "Fes" up frequently to keep those air ways clear and free of nasties that people bring onto flights.
4. Learn how to meditate.


28 Dec 2014

Total posts 1

Please don't have your battery backup active on the plane. We recently had to slide evacuate a Ryanair flight in Barcelona because of a fire that began in a power bank. The quality of some of these devices is questionable.

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