9 business travel hacks everyone should know

If you’re a frequent business traveller, staying on top of your game in the face of long flights and contrasting cultures is essential. Here are nine essential hacks everyone should know.

Beat jet lag

These two jet lag hacks are simple but effective. Firstly, change the time well before you arrive at your destination. Some recommend gradually moving yourself into a new time zone over a period of days before you travel (by getting up earlier, for example), but this may not always be practical. But when you get to the airport and are set to go, switch your watch to the time at your destination. Secondly, rehydrate. There may be temptations to make the most of the free bar on board the aircraft but try to resist anything more than one or two beers or glasses of wine. Take electrolytes rather than just water, as they contain nutrients that help maintain your body’s fluid balance. You’ll find these either in specifically designed drinks or in things like orange juice, coconut water, spinach, watermelon and potatoes.

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Stretch yourself

You don’t have to be a yoga practitioner to do simple, highly effective exercises, perfect for getting your body back to its best after a long-haul flight. Either use a mat in the gym or lay down a towel in your hotel room and you’re set to go. Here’s three for you, although there are dozens more: The ‘thread the needle pose’ is great for reducing the stress and anxiety of flying, and stretches hamstrings, lower back and inner thighs, which are often tight after sitting for a long time. The ‘supported shoulder stand’ stimulates circulation, increasing blood flow to your head and shoulders and helps get oxygen in the lungs. The ‘half-tortoise’ is great for lower back flexibility and also indigestion. Even sitting in the half-lotus position and concentrating on taking full deep breaths for five or ten minutes can help your body adjust to its new environment and time-zone.

Utilise the next generation of travel apps

You’re no doubt familiar with travel apps on which to download your boarding pass and order a taxi to pick you up when you land. But discover a new generation of apps that will help keep track of your expenses, advise on you packing, or allow you to make note of those eureka moments on the go? And when it comes to staying on top of your flights and airport experience, look no further than the SkyTeam app which provides easy access to flight and airport information, along with seven-day weather forecasts and SkyTeam network flight schedules.

Lounge around

Getting access to an airport lounge becomes that bit easier thanks to airline alliances. For examples if you’re a frequent flyer with a SkyTeam member airline you can quickly earn miles to qualify for SkyTeam Elite Plus status giving you access to over 750 lounges worldwide. The perfect place to leave the chaos of the airport terminal behind and catch up on some work, have a meeting, call home, or simply relax and recharge your batteries.

Prepare to never get lost again

One of the stresses of being in a new city is potentially getting lost and having no wifi or data on your phone to bail you out, especially if you’ve got appointments to keep. Put your mind at ease by simply downloading an offline map of your destination to your phone before you go. Apps like CityMaps2Go, Google Maps Offline and Maps.me are ideal, with thousands of destinations in hundreds of countries, coming with up-to-date, detailed and easy-to-follow maps, and plenty of additional features like information on footpaths, bikeways and public transport. And when it comes to finding your way around the airport make use of SkyTeam's handy airport maps (available via the SkyTeam app), full of information on where to find restaurants, lounges, toilets and crucially departure gates. It’ll show you exactly where you are and where to go, finding the best route through 39 key airports to get you to the gate in plenty of time.

Dress with the three colour rule

What to wear on that business trip? On the one hand you’ll be in offices and at meetings during the day, on the other there may be formal events in the evening. And you don’t want to be lugging your entire wardrobe halfway across the world. One solution is to apply the three colours rule. This is where you stick to three colours for all your clothing on the trip, making it easy to mix and match items while remaining smart and fashionable. If your business environment is liable to get a bit rugged, it might also be worth investing in crease-resistant travel wear by companies like Fig Clothing, Athleta Sol and Paul Smith among others.

Use a VPN

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It’s free, easily downloadable software that enables users to share and receive data across public networks as if they were directly connected to a private network, meaning it’s secure. When you’re travelling on business you’re far more likely to be using public wifi connections, which means it’s easier for personal information to be stolen – a VPN prevents this, stopping hackers in their tracks and giving you one less thing to worry about if you’re using bank details and passwords. It also means you can access internet content that might be territory restricted.

Photo: Getty Images

Plug into your hotel TV’s USB

A neat little cheat this one. If you forget your travel adapter – and who hasn’t at one time or another? – then have a look at the TV in your hotel room. It will invariably come with a USB slot, which means you can simply plug in your phone or tablet and use it as a power source to charge the device.

Frequent flyer perks

If you are a frequent flyer, it's highly likely you'll fly with a wide range of airlines. And with a bit of forward planning you can maximise your points and miles and save money. For example, sign up to a SkyTeam member airline frequent flyer programme to start earning and redeeming miles that can be used against all 19 member carriers.

Find out about the benefits of signing up for SkyTeam member airlines’ frequent flyer programmes to start earning and redeeming miles with all alliance members. No need to register for several programmes, their alliance-wide offer has you covered. Find out more