You've spent more time in the air than the pilot who greeted you on your last flight so you know what you're doing when travelling for business. But all the experience in the world can't overcome than common human trait that afflicts us all....... complacency.
Getting complacent when travelling is a recipe for disaster, so in the spirit of helping a fellow traveller from him/herself, here's an essential checklist for all our fellow business travellers.
You know all about it, you've probably done it at one time or another and swore it would never happen to you again. But, it surely will unless you make sure you check you have all your necessary paperwork with you at every stage of your journey.
Check after showing your passport at check in, when you're boarding etc. Spare yourself the last minute panic of retracing your steps when you realise you've left something behind. We recommend purchasing a passport wallet that keeps your passport in good condition but also has enough room for your extra ticket stubs and boarding cards.
2. Copies of paperwork on your phone
We understand, we do. You're only going away for a couple of days at the most, do you really have to photocopy all your paperwork and have electronic copies in the cloud, and in your luggage? You're a hardened business traveller, not a 19-yr old backpacker.
It's this sort of thing which is the first to go when complacency sets in. As a result, it's one of the main things you should be looking out for. It only has to happen once to turn your business trip upside down, and you'll never want it to happen to you again.
We suggest downloading all your documents on your phone or taking photos of all the relevant points like flight numbers, hotel details, etc. Evernote is a great app that enables you to scan, copy and access your notes off-line on any device.
3. Emergency Contact Numbers
As above. More necessary 'just in case' preparations you'll never need, until you do. And then you'll wish you hadn't stopped preparing for the eventuality.
The last thing you want to do is turn on your data when you are abroad to get access to your emails. That'll cost you a blooming fortunate. Be organised before you go.
4. Headphones and/or earplugs
An insufferable bore, is an insufferable bore, whether they can afford a seat in business class or not. And if you can't afford that seat in business class, then you may find yourself sat next to people who don't want to sit quietly in front of their laptop and work. Make sure you have whatever you need to block out distracting noise.
In our eyes, noise-cancelling headphones the only way forward. They have changed our travel totally. You no longer have to hear the humming of the jet engines either. Just sit back, relax and enjoy House of Cards.
5. Putting all essential items in your hand luggage
There is nothing worse than an airline losing your luggage, especially when your most expensive items are in there. This is a key reason why we started GATE8. Why part with your belongings when you don't need to?
However, there are some instances where you have that longer-term trip and you need to take an extra bag. It may sound obvious but make sure you pack a change of clothes, your toothbrush and your expensive items in your carry-on luggage. Then, if you bag does ever get delayed or lost, you will be in good shape.
Familiarity often breeds complacency, and when travelling for business this is so true. Remember all the good practice you dutifully implemented when you first started to travel, most of which you just don't bother with anymore? Well, we're encouraging you to keep doing it. It's good advice, and you'll only know how important it is when you need it.
For more ways to help make your business travel more bearable, check out our Business Travel Hacks page.