A single-day business trip has its perks. It saves you (or your company) time and money, and takes you back home to your loved ones. But it can be tasking and tiring. Applying the right tricks, you can make your day trip into a much more pleasurable experience.
Wear Business Attire and Comfortable Shoes
You are going to be at an airport twice in one day, so you need to be comfortable. But you also need to pack light. If possible, wear your work clothes on the flight out so that you aren’t carrying extra luggage or a coat that can get wrinkled.
The upside is that if you are dressed professionally, you have a better chance of being upgraded to business class. Airlines care how passengers look, and if you want a free upgrade, it helps if you look like you fit in.
Wear comfortable shoes; you’ll be on your feet for a large part of the day. Several members of the FlyerTalk forum recommend loafers or formal slip-on shoes. You might be asked to take off your shoes at the security check, and it’s always good to be able to give your feet a breather when you take one.
Pack Light and Use Disposable Items
For a short trip, you don’t need to carry too much if you’re already wearing your business clothes. Pack a second shirt or dress, your electronics, a pen and a notepad. A few toiletries are a good idea too, but nothing that you can’t have in your carry-on luggage. And grab some mints because there’s a good chance you’ll need to fight bad breath.
FlyerTalk’s member BonusPay echoes the advice of several frequent travellers: when it’s possible to use a disposable or inexpensive item, use that instead of packing your own.
Try to utilize disposable items where possible. That way if you lose the item, or you have to jettison stuff to make room for those unexpected extra materials you obtained during a meeting on your trip, it’s no big deal. Disposable items are not limited just to things that are designed to be disposable, but may also be items that are inexpensive enough that you don’t mind replacing them (i.e. inexpensive headphones vs. those expensive Bose models), or items old enough that you don’t care if they make it home.
The right bag can make a world of a difference in your comfort. Ideally have something with wheels and measuring 22″ x 13″ x 9″—this will meet all major airline’s carry-on maximum limits, says Real Men Real Style. The Wirecutter recommends the Tumi Alpha, which has been replaced by the yet unreviewed Tumi Alpha 2. But a few commenters say the Alpha doesn’t fit in the overhead compartments of smaller aircrafts, so the TravelPro Luggage Crew 9 is a safe and inexpensive bet.
Apart from your laptop, tablet and smartphones, make sure you carry a portable battery pack as well as a power strip. The Wirecutter recommends the $ 40 IntoCircuit Power Castle external battery case for travellers, although the MyCharge Hub is a good alternative too since you don’t need external cables. For power users, the LimeFuel will juice all your gadgets. The Belkin Mini Surge Protector is a reliable, inexpensive and travel-friendly pick for a portable power strip.
In case you need it—and only in case you need it—also pack a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Most smartphones will double up as portable hotspots, but if yours doesn’t, you may have to buy one. If you are going to be in conference centers and other areas with Wi-Fi connectivity, a hotspot is just dead weight; and you can turn to your phone in an emergency. For most day trips, a mobile hotspot is overkill. But if you’re a heavy internet user and need on-the-go connectivity, check out our guide to pick the best mobile hotspot for you.
Get a Comfort Upgrade
If you are a frequent flier, you will soon rack up enough points to get an upgrade to business class or first class, so use them! If you don’t have the points, there are some tricks that help. That old adage holds true here: if you don’t ask, you won’t get it. When you are checking in, ask the agent if it’s possible to upgrade you to a better seat. You’ll be surprised how often it works, especially if you get to talk to a manager.
Personally, I’ve found it best to travel on the same airline for both journeys. This way, I can point out to the agent that I’m a loyal customer and will be returning on the same day with the same airline. It’s worked 50% of the time I have done this, especially on a late flight back.
We’ve written about an old trick from WikiHow that you might want to try too:
Dress smart and arrive as late as possible. There are plenty of flyers who believe in getting to the airport as early as possible in the hopes of either asking the counter agent for an upgrade or asking the gate agent for an upgrade. This does not usually work. However, if you do arrive late, tell the airline it is because of a terrible experience you had with their competitor. Sometimes if they think they have the potential to win the business of a frequent flyer from another carrier, they might put you in first class, space permitted, since you are in an emotional state.
If you don’t get an upgrade, that still doesn’t mean you need to sit in a crowded terminal. There are a few ways to get into luxury airport lounges for free as well.
Similarly, you can look for great travel rewards credit cards to get membership privileges at hotels and business centers, whether it’s to park your bag for a few hours while you go around the city or to avail of any of their facilities. The New York Times reports:
Frequent traveller Matthew Corrin has also found ways to simplify his one-day trips. He paid a hefty fee to join the elite tier of his business credit card, which gives him membership privileges at a chain of business centers so he can freshen up before meetings. (This is especially important if you’ve left your house half asleep at dawn, he said.)
Take Care of Your Body
Don’t forget to look after yourself In the rush to get many things done in a packed day. Uniglobe says you should be mindful of what you eat and drink. Drink water regularly and eat your meals on time to stay hydrated and healthy.
Your ears will probably pop with two flights on the same day, and that can be quite annoying and even painful. The Mayo Clinic has several remedies to prevent “airplane ear”, but one of the best things you can do is to take a decongestant half an hour before takeoff. There are some caveats though:
Oral decongestants may be helpful if taken 30 minutes to an hour before an airplane flight. However, if you have heart disease, a heart rhythm disorder or high blood pressure or if you’ve experienced possible medication interactions, avoid taking an oral decongestant unless your doctor approves. If you’re a man older than age 50, you may experience serious side effects after taking decongestants containing pseudoephedrine (Actifed, Sudafed), such as urinary retention, especially if you have an enlarged prostate. If you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor before taking oral decongestants.
Remember to carry two decongestants with you—one for the flight back as well.
Prepare to be Stranded
You might have planned to be back home in your own bed at night, but the weather gods didn’t get the memo. Flight delays and cancellations happen for various reasons, and day-trippers like to be prepared, starting by packing an extra pair of underwear and socks, The New York Times says in the same article:
“Those are the lessons, where you regret not packing an extra pair of socks and underwear,” said Corrin.
With a little preparation, you can also be in a position to get an alternative flight:
Scott Hanselman travels with a printout of all the flights to his destinations and contact numbers for airlines traveling his route. He also subscribes to cell phone text message alerts from the airlines he’s traveling with, so he can be among the first to negotiate alternative flights if there are delays.
Remember to Enjoy the New City
It’s a mantra many day-trippers swear by: Book the first flight out and the last flight back. so that you are not rushed getting to your meetings, plus you get to enjoy a new city for a few hours before you go back. Sure, it’s a business trip, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take in the sights and sounds of a new place.