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There are a multitude of reasons why you might need to travel, be it for work, relaxation or something in-between. Nowadays, so-called ” bleisure ” excursions are all the rage, combining the fun and excitement of a pleasureful getaway with the productivity of a business trip. But regardless of why you’re hitting the road or booking a flight, good planning is a key determinant of whether you’ll have a smooth, seamless trip in which you achieve your practical goals and fondly remember the experience years down the line. Here are a few tips to help you achieve that very balance.
1. Use a checklist.
There’s a reason why the concept of checklists has endured so long across so many industries. In the hustle and bustle of preparing for your trip, the likelihood of forgetting something is very high, but you can prevent that simply by compiling a checklist well in advance. Becky Moore, writer and founder of the award-winning travel blog Global Grasshopper, adds that, “You can even use a note-taking app on your phone to keep a recurrent list that you can update as necessary. All you’ll have to do is uncheck the items on the list and start fresh when you’re going on a new trip.”
Related: Expert Advice for a Successful Business Trip
2. Book proactively.
When you’re booking your flight, leave a gap between expected touchdown time and when you’re supposed to be at an event or meeting. In the best-case scenario, you’ll have a chance to unwind, eat a healthy meal and refresh yourself. And in the worst case, you’ll be able to attend on schedule even if there’s a delay with your flight or any other hitch.
On the whole, the key to stress-free trips is investing time to plan things out thoroughly in advance, increasing your productivity and overall convenience along the way.
3. Build healthy eating habits.
Traveling often means you’ll be in contact with more people, public areas and objects than most other people. Something as simple as antibacterial wipes can go a long way to ensuring that you don’t catch any illnesses. Also, you’ll need to watch your diet and make the extra effort to find healthy food, instead of just going for the nearest chow you find at the airport or in the city you’ve arrived at. It might cost you more and take more time, but it’ll certainly be worth it in the long run.
Related: How to Get the Most Out of Your Business Travel
4. Research your financing options.
Travel can be very expensive, but savvy individuals have a number of ways to cut down their costs. You can get hotel credit cards, which will entitle you to free stays depending on how much you’ve used them, not unlike airline miles. Usually, you can also stack the benefits up and earn yourself a very low-cost vacation.
According to Ivan Baidin, CEO of Travel Payouts, “Travel-affiliate plans can also help you earn by referring people to helpful products and services. On average, you earn approximately $7 from the price of a purchased plane tickets and $20 from a hotel booking. It requires patience and learning, but over time it pays off really well ” .
Another cost-saving method is to only use no-fee ATM cards. Different banks offer them, so check the fine print to see which one is most beneficial overall.
5. Use tech tools to maximize your time.
Instead of spending your time in the airport lounge bemoaning your fate and wondering why you’re making your 20th business trip of the year in June, you can spend that time making sure your experience will be more comfortable. From checking your plane’s seating configuration and requesting a change to securing restaurant reservations across the world, there really is an app for everything. You can also utilize communication tools like Skype, Slack and other VOIP clients that’ll allow you to communicate with your base without spending too much in roaming charges. Because travel doesn’t have to be trying.