Do you have an upcoming interstate or overseas conference or business event to attend? As a professional conference and business event organizer, I have seen and heard many examples where the travel to and from the conference has negatively impacted on the delegate’s experience.
Here are 10 tips for preparing to travel to your next interstate or international conference, meeting or business event to make it a productive and comfortable experience.
1. Join a travel loyalty and rewards program
If you travel frequently for business, it will be well worth your while to join a corporate loyalty program. Simply, as you accrue frequent flyer points, you will become eligible for numerous rewards. These can be beneficial to use for future travel to enhance your travel experience, such as access to the airline lounge with Internet or wi-fi connectivity, complimentary baggage and priority boarding.
2. Prepare a few days in advance of your travel
Set a calendar reminder to start preparing for your travel more than a day in advance. Consider pre-booking your taxi or airport car park, checking in to your flight online, printing your boarding pass in the office and identifying the business materials you need to take. Make sure you leave adequate time to get to the airport on the day of your flight. Allow for traffic congestion and long queues at the airport. This can all alleviate unnecessary stresses.
3. Pack light and efficient
Purchase a quality travel suitcase, pack light, label and lock your luggage. Take rushing out of the equation by packing your suitcase the day before. The potential for forgetting an item will also be minimised. Check the weather forecast for your destination which will help you work out those items that you will need to wear or use.
4. Pack your charger
In today’s society, we can rely on technology to guide us from point A to point B. You don’t want to arrive at your destination to find your phone is dead and you’re unable to contact your pick-up or locate the address of the hotel you are booked in. Make sure you pack your charger and even keep it in carry-on luggage for easy access in case you need to give your phone a quick charge at the airport.
5. Hydrate and enjoy some fresh air
Planes and airports can be dehydrating places with their air conditioning and artificial lighting. Drink water at or before you go to the airport, buy a bottle of water for the flight, and take any opportunity to get some fresh air and exercise before you board. These small things can make a difference in your recovery from the flight and your participation and attentiveness that day at the conference.
6. Prepare for the security check
Double check your carry-on luggage before joining the security check queue at the airport. This can avoid some time consuming and embarrassing situations, especially if you forget about that nail file or other sharp object in your bag or those steel caps in your shoes!
7. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes for the flight
Airline seating can be cramped so it’s important to do what you can to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Wear comfortable shoes on the flight. Swap your heels or hard business shoes for a comfy pair of flats or casual shoes which can be easily slipped on and off during the flight. Skinny jeans or tight business pants are not a good choice either for flights.
8. In-flight productivity
Whether you prefer to read a magazine or book, complete a puzzle or work on your smart device, this is an opportunity to maximise time to yourself. The in-flight magazine will only last so long, so potentially take some other reading material, or use the opportunity to do some work that you can undertake in the small confines of your seat. A consideration might be to read any preparation material for your conference.
9. Consider some headphones
Even if you are not an avid music listener, headphones can still be useful for your flight. Have you ever sat next to a person on a flight who won’t stop chatting? This is a great opportunity to put in your headphones to concentrate on what you want to focus on. Flights can be also be a good time to listen to podcasts for your own professional development.
10. Travel positive
If you go into your travel or flight with a positive attitude and what you would like to achieve during your flight, then you will minimize getting distracted or letting minor issues affect you such as delays or lost luggage. Issues will arise from time to time, and the mindset you have when dealing with these issues can often impact on the outcome.
Rachel Ziccone is Conferences & Events Manager for Corporate Challenge Events in Australia and New Zealand. Corporate Challenge Events provides a corporate travel service to clients as part of its Conferences & Events department. Contact Corporate Challenge Events to find out about their services in event planning, professional conference and business event organising.