Remembering my early days of business travel makes me cringe a bit. I overpacked like crazy, missed out on a ton of points, didn’t know my company policies, and wasted a lot of time at airport security. Little by little my trips got more efficient and went more smoothly, but it took a while! Hopefully this list will help you travel better sooner than I did. Here are 5 frequent mistakes new business travelers make and how to avoid them.
They pack too much.
You definitely want to put your best foot forward on your first business trip, but that doesn’t mean bringing your entire wardrobe! Carrying your suitcase on, rather than checking it, will save you time and potential heartache if the airline were to lose it. Use the Road Warriorette Packing Checklist to plan exactly what you need. This goes for toiletries too! You don’t need full-sized bottles for everything, and probably don’t even need the full 3 ounces that TSA allows.
They don’t maximize their points.
Trying to think about your miles and points totals while you’re planning your first or second business trip may feel a bit overwhelming. But there are a few simple steps you can follow to set yourself up for success. First, make sure you sign up for the rewards programs for any hotel, airline, or car rental company you use. As much as you’re able, try to stick to the same brands when you travel so your points accumulate. Finally, sign up for a travel rewards card with a solid bonus and use it. (Here is a list of good travel credit cards from fellow Boarding Area blog View from the Wing).
They don’t sign up for TSA Pre-check.
If all you know is regular airport security then you may not think TSA Pre-check is a big deal. Let me tell you, in most airports, it’s the number one time saver for me. $85 for five years is a great deal! People who travel all the time could save hundreds of hours over that time. (If you will be traveling internationally go for Global Entry.)
They go a little crazy.
This definitely does not apply to all new business travelers. But have you ever traveled with a first-timer who overindulges and doesn’t make it to meetings? I certainly have and it’s not pretty. Know your limits, and don’t drink ridiculous amounts of booze just because you’ve got an expense account.
They don’t know their company policies.
This is not sexy but it’s very important. Plenty of new business travelers don’t know their company’s policies about rental car insurance, meal spend allotments, gas reimbursement, entertaining clients, and others. Make sure you look over all of it before your trip. If you’re starting a new job, ask your hiring manager if there are any policies you can read. Otherwise you may set yourself up for not getting reimbursed.
Readers, what are mistakes you made when you first started traveling for work?