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How to always be ready for business when you travel

Plenty of things can affect your business trips – flight delays, weather events, and terrible traffic to name but a few – but there’s lots you can do to take control of your travel, so that no matter what happens, you’re always ready for business.

By removing some of the variables along your journey, you’ll be able to schedule meetings more reliably, get more work done on the road or maximise your sleep so that you’re ready to roar: so here are five ways to keep your travels on-track.

1. Keep calm and carry-on

While checking-in luggage can sometimes be unavoidable, I fly with only cabin baggage wherever I can.

For starters, having no checked bag makes it far easier to change flights at the airport – not just when arriving early in ‘Fly Ahead’ situations, but also when flights end up delayed: I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been able to ditch my delayed flight and get to my next destination sooner, by switching flights at the last minute in the lounge, or even at the boarding gate, to one that’s on-time.

There’s also the efficiency of not having to arrive at the terminal earlier to check a bag in, and hang around after each flight to have it delivered, so particularly before early morning journeys, I can catch that little bit of extra sleep and be at the top of my game for meetings when I arrive, heading straight there as soon as the aerobridge is connected.

This strategy means the airline can’t misplace my luggage, either – and by extension, my business and evening attire for meetings and events – although if a bag has to be checked-in, keeping a day or two worth of clothes and supplies in your carry-on can help your trip run smoothly until you’re reunited with your checked luggage.

2. Sure up your airport lounge access

Even if you fly business class or have top-tier frequent flyer status, there are plenty of times an independent airport lounge membership can still come in handy, especially if your pre-flight routine involves preparing for your next meeting or tackling other work.

For example, the lounge your airline provides might be crowded and noisy – or, there may be no lounge at all – yet something like a Priority Pass card could open the doors elsewhere, helping you stay on-task.

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It’s also a useful strategy to adopt if you tend to fly premium economy internationally: a better-than-economy cabin, but one that doesn’t normally include lounge access in the ticket price. When you have an independent lounge membership, you’re free to fly whichever airline you want, which brings about its own benefits, too.

Read: Escaping the Gold or Platinum status handcuffs

3. Noise-cancelling headphones are a must

Speaking of work on the road, one of the best investments I’ve made on my travels is a solid pair of noise-cancelling headphones, as those provided by airlines tend to be average at the best of times (and in my experience, are frequently delivered with broken or damaged connectors, crackly cables or sound in only one ear).

I find they help me stay focused on the task at hand – including in the lounge before my flight – as they don’t only offset background noise, but can also reduce the interference of other sounds and distractions when there’s music playing, such as the noise of screaming children.

On overnight journeys where I can’t lie down – when flying premium economy, for instance, or on recliner-style business class seats like ScootBiz or those found on Malindo Air – they also help me make the most of my rest for the busy business day ahead, or arrive back home feeling better-refreshed.

4. Bring your own source of power

Nothing says ‘epic fail’ on a business trip like a smartphone or laptop going flat at an inopportune moment, which is why I also carry both a charging case that clips around my phone, and a separate power bank capable of refuelling my other devices such as the Microsoft Surface, when access to wired power isn’t available.

Yes, airport lounges have power outlets, but it’s not always possible to sit near one – and while many aircraft feature at-seat power, sometimes they just don’t work: far from ideal on longer flights when you’re planning to hit the ground running.

Ultimately, whether you can conduct business on the road shouldn’t be at the mercy of the airline you’ve travelled with!

5. A universal, multi-country travel adaptor works wonders

Whether you’ll be visiting lots of countries on a single voyage, or your travels tend to be unpredictable, bringing along a multi-country power adaptor can be just the ticket, so that wherever you end up, you’re never left without the right plug or connector.

There’s no shortage of these on the market, and depending on your needs, some also feature multiple USB charging ports or feature surge protection.

Just be mindful that these tend to be larger in size than more traditional AC adaptors, and that if you’re travelling to places with less-common outlet types (such as with the rounded tri-pin connectors of the Indian subcontinent and South Africa), you’ll want to check whether your ‘universal’ adaptor will still serve you well.