By Jason O’Brien

If corporate travel is high on your agenda for the year ahead, you may already feel overwhelmed at the thought of it. Getting from A to B in a time efficient manner, staying connected to your team even on different time zones and having everything you need on your person as you go from meeting to meeting can take its toll. Here are five hacks to help you master the art of business travel in 2018.

Pack your Suitcase Strategically

Taking the hassle out of business travel actually begins before you even leave for the airport. First time business travellers are at risk from hefty excess luggage charges and lengthy queues at both check-in and baggage reclaim. Packing smart from the offset can save you a significant amount of both time and money. Only pack what you need and opt for a carry on suitcase, this way you won’t have to waste time standing in line. Lastly, pack your belongings in layers with the things that you need first at the top. This way, you can save time changing when you reach your destination.

Make your Office Mobile

Once you have packed your business suits and accessories with precision, it’s time to turn your attention to tech essentials. While you may be out of the office, that doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from staying connected to your colleagues. Creating a mobile office can ensure that you are never more than a click away from any important business updates and you can reply to business emails and text messages on the go. Ensure your phone is stored away in an easily accessible place and also make sure you have any tablets or laptops should your trip require them. Lastly, don’t forget to pack a charger. A compact mobile charger pack will also come in handy for when you are travelling on public transport as you may find that a plug socket isn’t always readily available.

Top up Your Energy Levels

Catching multiple flights, long transfers and late nights can leave you feeling tired especially if you are travelling to a different time zone. To ensure that you arrive at your destination feeling refreshed, make sure that you eat regularly to keep your energy levels high. When possible, stockpile healthy snacks and give convenience food a miss as this will only make you feel sluggish and lethargic. Carry a bottle of water with you at all times and re-hydrate regularly. This will also help to fight off drowsiness throughout your journey.

Go Paperless

If your trip is made up of several flights, trains or transfers, you will need to keep a copy of your itinerary about your person. Having this information at your fingertips will ensure you are punctual and having the details of your flights, hotels and meeting locations close to hand takes the stress out of your trip. However, having to search through sheet after sheet of paper isn’t going to save you much time and these documents can take up much-needed room in your luggage. Go paperless and take screenshots of all of your flight and hotel bookings and confirmation emails and download airline apps that store your boarding passes to your mobile.

Be Rewarded for your Loyalty

If you travel regularly for business, it is in your interest to show your loyalty and make repeat bookings with your favourite airline or hotel chain. Joining a loyalty scheme with one airline can result in free upgrades, companion vouchers and even complimentary flights. Many hotels provide business travellers with loyalty schemes that exchange points for room upgrades and free nights. Sign up when taking your first trip and reap the rewards.

Whether you are on your first business trip or you are seasoned traveller, business travel is a learning curve. Follow these helpful hacks to make your next business trip a breeze.

Jason O’Brien is the Chief Operating Officer of Los Angeles-based international telecommunications provider