Over the years, I’ve met all sorts of business travellers. Some are road warriors, and some are just happy if they don’t have to get on a plane very often anymore. Each of these people have there own coping mechanisms as do I. In this piece, I will list some coping mechanisms that I bested over the years, stuff I’ve learned after repeated mistakes and then some that were hand me downs.
The first tip I have to offer is about bags. I don’t check-in one for a trip up to 4-5 days long, carrying just a small cabin bag instead. I easily shave off 20-30 minutes from my travel time. Ladies think it is not for them, but my wife has been able to do week long international trips without a check-in bag as well. Added benefit is having your bag in your sight all the time, and not to worry with the bag being mishandled or left behind at the originating airport.
The next one is about check-in. As a Platinum status holder on Jet Airways, I check-in 48 hours before the flight, and get myself a good seat before everyone else does. When flying IndiGo or SpiceJet, I just buy the 6E Prime or SpiceMax package, which gets me a good seat in the front, along with a meal included. At the airport, I just head to the self-check-in kiosk to get a print of the boarding pass and proceed for security check. Airline co-branded cards these days get you airport perks as well, so you can get into a preferred queue if you have a bag to check-in.
For those who are on the road a lot, one sore point is running out of pages on your passport very quickly. I am not a fan of the jumbo passport. After I started running out of passport pages, sometimes within a year, largely due to random stamping by immigration officers on blank pages, I hand the passport now with the boarding pass indexing the page I’d like them to stamp. They are usually very helpful if you nicely ask them to stamp a used sheet rather than a fresh one.
In terms of money matters, I’ve tried and moved on to cashless payments, except when I really need to pay in cash in local markets. Domestically, this is not a problem. Even when travelling abroad, I don’t exchange huge sums before the trip. Instead, I withdraw in small quantities when I need the money. This way, I don’t risk losing much just in case I have my pocket picked, which I experienced in Paris back in 2009. It might sound expensive, but the interest earned by keeping your money in the bank till the last minute should cover it. Also, I step out of the hotel with only a couple of credit cards and a debit card, protecting myself from losing all my plastic money in one go as well.
With the wide use of social media becoming prominent now, travel brands have all moved to customer service on Twitter and Facebook. Support is almost real time, and you don’t need to be on the phone for hours at length. So even if you don’t tweet often, get yourself a Twitter account and follow your favourite travel brands. It is worth it.
There is a handy, hand-me-down tip for taking care of your clothes on the road and has held me in good stead for over 10 years. Unless I am travelling for more than a week, I carry only one suit, but multiple ties and shirts to pair up with it. Suits can get crushed, so I generally hang them in the bathroom, turn the shower up at the highest heat setting, and close the bathroom door for a few minutes. The steam removes the creases from your clothes, and that is a great quick fix to compensate for expensive laundry or ironing the clothes yourselves.
Last but not the least, back up all your important travel documents on the cloud. You can just take a picture of your tickets, your passport and insurance and any other important documents, and email them to yourselves for future reference. If checking in a bag, also take a picture of the bag before you check it in, and put an insert with your full address, just in case it is misplaced.