While it may sound like a recipe for disaster, summer travel doesn't have to be a nightmare. From navigating airports like a pro to managing your time efficiently (and yes, that includes power napping), here are eight ways to make your next business trip more relaxing.

Arrive Early

This one action can set the tone for your entire journey. Give yourself a margin of time to calmly deal with any unexpected delays like traffic or ticketing issues. Don't arrive late and suffer the panic of watching the clock tick by while you're stuck in a slow-moving security line. Arrive at the airport early, breeze through check-in or wait patiently with time to spare. Reward yourself with a gourmet coffee and a good magazine.

Examine Your Bag

Over-packing usually happens when you throw items in your suitcase at the last minute "just in case." Spend a little extra time planning your wardrobe, so you don't end up bogged down by heavy suitcases and carry-ons. Opt for low-maintenance fabrics that travel well and are wrinkle-resistant. Choose dark colors that are forgiving and won't show every stain. Make sure each piece you bring has more than one use and matches other items. Be strategic about shoes; wear a pair you will want on your trip and pack one additional pair.

Dress Sharp

When you travel for business, select your wardrobe for comfort, but also remember you are representing your company. Business casual attire is ideal. You never know who you will see or sit next to on the plane; you may be embarrassed to be wearing ratty sweatpants and an old T-shirt as you run into a client in the lobby of the hotel. When in doubt, dress up.

Select an Early Flight

The chances of an on-time departure improve when you leave earlier in the day. An additional perk: early flights tend to have the most no-shows, meaning you could get a seat upgrade. You will get to your destination with enough time to enjoy your day or eat a good meal before heading to your meeting.

Use Your Time Wisely

Use your time wisely. Travel often provides a golden opportunity for catching up on work, listening to a podcast or taking a nap. Consider in advance what you'll need, whether it's technology, a good book or earplugs and an eye mask.

Have Cash Ready for Tipping

Though the world is becoming increasingly cashless, a stash of bills for tipping service providers is still a necessity when traveling. It's important to acknowledge the people who make your travel comfortable, such as skycaps, bellhops, bartenders, baristas and hotel housekeepers.

Make the Most of Your Downtime

Business travel often includes free time; be ready to take full advantage of it. Choose a hotel with a fitness center, a great pool or a nearby jogging path or park. Try to incorporate a little adventure into your journey. Plan an outing that lets you explore your destination and broaden your mind. Vow to make each business trip a cultural experience--even if it's learning something new about an airport restaurant or neighborhood theater or wine bar.

Stay Cool

With planning and preparation, you increase the chance of a successful journey. Even under the best of circumstances, you may still experience a delay or a botched reservation. Go into the situation with a positive attitude. Treat everyone you encounter with respect and kindness. You will not only feel better, but people will be more inclined to help you along the way.

Published on: Jun 20, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.