Business Travel: What to Know Before You Go

 
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Some of the most important decisions about your business trip are the ones you make before you leave home. 

Whether it’s packing, making sure vital documents are updated or simply ways to make your business travel run more smoothly, here are some tips to keep in mind. 

A passport is valid for 10 years and with a date that far into the future, most of us aren’t thinking about when it expires. But if you’re going to be traveling internationally, it’s important to check the expiration date on your passport. The U.S. State Department advises that some countries require for your passport to be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your trip. Some airlines won’t even allow you to board if this requirement isn’t met. 

Although you have e-tickets on your phone, printing out your boarding pass and confirmation numbers for things like a rental car and hotel will give you extra peace of mind. For international trips, be sure to bring a photocopy of your passport, too. 

To save time going through airport security, frequent fliers should consider signing up for the Transportation Security Administration’s Precheck and Global Entry programs. You can fill out an application online in about five minutes, and then schedule an appointment at any of more than 380 enrollment centers nationwide to complete the process, which includes a background check and fingerprinting. Global Entry offers the benefits of TSA Precheck plus expedited customs screening for travelers returning home to the United States.

If you’re on the road a lot, invest in good luggage that’s easy to pack and maneuver through the airport. Ideally it should be made of material that will stand up to wear and tear. It’s also a good idea to buy a digital luggage scale. About the size of a corkscrew, it’s easy to carry and will ensure that you don’t go over airline weight limits and incur a hefty fee. 

When it comes to packing, think versatility. Bring articles of clothing that go with everything, and that you can layer, including dark-colored items that will hide stains in case spills happen. When it comes to keeping dress shirts looking fresh, minimize wrinkles by packing them in bags from the dry cleaner’s. Make room for items that will help you sleep, like a neck pillow, eye mask or headphones.

While cheaper isn’t always better — especially if it costs you valuable time —it’s worth comparing the cost of various modes of transportation to the airport. For example, weigh the cost savings of parking your car in a lot farther away, or off the airport property, versus the time it’ll take you to get to the terminal. How does taking a taxi or public transportation compare? Sometimes the most convenient way is better, but other times, you can get where you need to be on time while saving your company a little money.