The act of traveling for business can either be a massive hassle or a headache-free joy; it all comes down to preparation. I clock tens of thousands of miles per year for business and, through each of those experiences, have learned valuable lessons for making my trips feel more like walks in the park.
Keep a bag packed
My suitcase is always packed with the essentials: toothpaste, toothbrush, face wash, cologne, etc. I never take these items out, which, when I'm on the go, makes the packing process quick and easy.
Never check luggage
Checking bags is the bane of every traveler's existence. I never, under any circumstances (even on lengthy trips), check a bag. If I know I'll need something that won't fit in my carryon, I will ship it in advance.
Stick with one airline
I find that flying one airline makes things logistically easier; airport gates are usually the same places and reward benefits can be a bonus. Since my company (Nextiva) is based in Phoenix, I go with US Airways, which has a hub there.
Opt for the exit row
The exit row is the biggest secret in business travel. If I'm not already in first class (my preferred choice), I will ask for an exit row window seat--more legroom and more space to lean against the window--a win-win.
Have you ever been in a cab on your way to the airport when you couldn't remember your flight number? You spend 10 minutes searching your email only to finally find the message, log onto the airline's website and--bam!--find out your flight is cancelled. I was that person until about two years ago when I stumbled upon TripIt, an amazing app that keeps all of your travel arrangements in one place and sends you alerts when flights change. It organizes your hotel bookings, car rental information and even allows you to change seats without calling the airline.
Apply for TSA Pre✓™
Your ability to get through airport security in a speedy manner can be the difference between extending a potential dealmaking meeting and having to cut it short. I highly recommend applying for TSA Pre✓™. Check to see if you qualify, then fill out an online application. Once your application is accepted, you are required to attend an in-person interview with TSA (don't worry; there are more than 280 locations across the country). From there, pay $85 and get your Known Traveler Number, or KTN. Enter your KTN the next time you book a flight and--presto!--you will be able to hop the line on your next trip.
Use a ride sharing service
Ride sharing services like Uber, Lyft and Flywheel (so far only in San Francisco, LA and Seattle) make traveling in cities much easier. Just use a company's app to call a driver the minute your plane lands (I prefer UberX because it is a little cheaper than black cars). The best part? You don't need to carry cash (a big bonus if you are traveling internationally), and ride sharing services charge everything--including tip--to your credit card on file.