My most recent business trip took me around the world in just eight days. I traveled nearly 35,000 miles, visited three continents and spent over 88 hours on airplanes. Needless to say, I picked up a few tips and tricks along the way.
Knowing top travel hacks can help you stay healthy, productive and sane during a trip, and allow you to conduct business successfully from the moment you arrive. I didn't experience any jet lag and I arrived on schedule for all my meetings.
Here are 20 of the top lessons I learned during my world-wide travels that can help you on your next business trip.
Business class secrets and tips
- Foreign airlines have much better standards for business class than US airlines. If the price and flight times are similar, choose a non-American carrier.
- Not all seats are created equal. One of my business class seats was much narrower than the other, even on the same airline and plane model. Use Seat Guru to find the best seat on any given flight.
- When booking a business class seat on an international flight, make sure you have access to the aisle. Otherwise, you'll have to move like a ninja in order to go to the restroom when your neighbor is stretched out and sleeping.
- Flying business class also gives you access to the express line for check-in and security, which can save you up to an hour before a flight.
- Make sure you include your rewards number on long-haul business class tickets. You'll get a ton of points for future travel. The Points Guy is a great site to learn how to hack travel rewards points.
- International business class tickets include access to the airline's lounge, where you can enjoy food, drinks and even a shower if you need one.
Business Class vs. Premium Economy
- If you can do without a bed, premium economy is the way to go. You get basically the same meals you would in business class, along with the extra legroom, and often at less than half the price of business class.
- The premium economy on a foreign airline is usually nicer than business class on American-based carriers (like United or American). And this saves you money.
Pick the right flight
- Take the latest flight out and select red-eyes whenever possible. The quicker you can adjust your sleep cycle to your destination time zone, the better your chances at avoiding jet lag.
- Book flights with the same airline so that you can consolidate your miles.
- When you buy a flight, use the Privacy setting on your browser. Airline sites track how many times you look at a flight, and where you visit from, and increase the price.
- If you can't book on the same airline, make sure you book with airlines in the same global alliance so that you can combine the miles for a single reward flight.
- If you have status on one airline, but they don't fly internationally, fly with an alliance partner. These partners usually honor your status.
- The airline makes a big difference. For international trips, EVA, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Emirates are usually among the top airlines in the world. I like Virgin America for domestic flights.
- For international travel, select flights that use a Boeing 787 Dreamliner or Airbus A380 airplanes. These planes emit less radiation, have lower engine noise and better air quality, all of which reduce the toll on your body.
How to beat jet lag
- Take red-eyes whenever possible and sleep on the plane.
- When you arrive, don't take a nap. Wait until bedtime before going to bed.
- Take melatonin to help you sleep during overnight flights, and then again on the first night at your destination. Ask a doctor for recommendations on usage.
- Bring an eye mask and ear plugs. You'll get better rest when you block out the light and reduce noise pollution.
Bonus Tip: Don't fly United Airlines
United flights are notoriously late and the airline has high rates of delays, lost baggage and plane failure. Both of my United flights were delayed by a total of five hours, which almost caused me to miss a connection to Australia. Do yourself a favor and pick a top 25 airline.