Travel in general can be among the most stressful things to do, but it can also be among the most exciting. Business travel isn't generally the exciting type, but it doesn't have to be a major source of stress either. The work you'll be doing remotely will likely be stressful enough, so it would seem to be best practice to bookend the week (or weeks) with more relaxed travel, right?
Unfortunately, the easiest methods of making travel a relaxing experience are either more expensive or reserved for those seasoned travelers that have long since paid their dues. Priority security and boarding, first- or business-class seats, and chartered drivers might be in the cards for you, but that's probably not the case now. In the meantime, the following tips will help you streamline the travel process and help you relax a little bit on the way to and from your business trip.
I love shoes as much as the next guy, but you should really only bring two pairs: a pair of oxfords and a pair of running shoes. You likely don't need to dress to the nines on your business trip, so bring comfortable pair of standard oxfords in either black or brown. If you MUST bring both, do it. You will have to sacrifice other things, but that's up to you. I'm not going to insult you by talking about everything you should pack. Be a big boy (or girl) and pack only what's necessary. Do you need underwear and socks for every day. Yes. Do you need slacks for every day? No. Complimentary colors, weather appropriate, and setting appropriate is the key. My biggest tip here: invest in learning how to fold! Folding can save space and time. The right folding techniques can allow you to avoid the iron, which takes lots of time.
This is huge. Hard cases with vertical rolling and sturdy hardware (handles and wheels) are great. Rimowa and Samsonite are great, but other brands work too. Skip the LV bags; designer luggage is pointless and increases the likelihood of theft. Skip the cheap cases, because they suck and are a headache. The hard case gives you durability and vertical rolling is easier to walk with. Sturdy hardware is the most important. A broken wheel or handle can ruin your trip as fast as anything. Finally, go small. You can't bend the carryon rules with a hard case, so make sure it fits. Sometimes you can check at the gate, but don't count on it.
Don't be late, but don't be too early either. If you have a late flight or you are flying during peak time, it is usually necessary to get there at least one hour prior. It's almost never necessary to get there earlier, but this is case by case. Pro tip: check in before you get to the airport. You have a smart phone (and if you don't, stop reading right now and go buy one) so you have the option of getting electronic boarding passes. This should be insulting advice. If it's not, you're traveling wrong.
Thinking about checking bags? Stop it. Checking bags wastes time at both ends of your trip; it increases the likelihood of lost or stolen luggage; it over-contributes to the wear and tear on your luggage; and if you make your colleagues wait for you at the luggage carousel for thirty minutes at the end of a long flight on what might be the only night of free time, you'll never hear the end of it. Okay, okay. For multi-week, international, or special purpose travel you might need to check bags. Same rules apply when selecting luggage. But for a one- to three-week trip, carry on.
Now, I'm grateful to any process that tries to make me live longer. But the security line is still one of the most frustrating aspects of air travel. You know what? You can't do anything about the rowdy kids in front of you or the audibly sweaty bro behind you. This is the time to handle your business. Again, you know how security lines work so don't have knives or metal sewn into your slacks and you'll be fine. Get a process down and stick to it. Mine is to place all my peripherals (phone, wallet, keys, passport, etc.) into the pocket of my jacket and take it off as soon as I'm done with the TSA agent minding the security line. I take off my shoes as soon as I'm in reach of a bin and place them with my jacket inside. My bag is already unzipped for easy laptop access. I try and keep my belt in my luggage, so I have nothing else to take off. Whatever your process is, perfect it. If you already know how you'll handle security, it won't be stressful.
At the gate and on the plane you are just sitting, so try and unwind. Only you can judge how to do that, so try and do it. However, quality noise cancelling headphones and some form of entertainment will help with this.
After the flight, if you can grab an Uber, that is a really stress free way to get to your destination. If it's not an option and transportation isn't prearranged, I guess you're stuck in the cab line.
Money, Points, and Other
If you're travelling on the company's dime, tip well. It will make you feel good and hey, you're not paying. If you can use your own card and then get reimbursed, have some of points or airline miles cards at your disposal and use whichever is most appropriate. You'll feel better about your trip if you know it will help you pay for a vacation in the near future. Eat well but try to order healthy meals at least half of the time. Try foods you wouldn't normally try; this will help you develop fond memories and it will feel less like drudgery.
Your hotel likely has a gym, so use it. When else can you walk 4 minutes and be at a gym with nobody in it? It will also help relax you after (or before) work. If you're travelling, you likely have a pretty condensed schedule of items to accomplish, and stress tightens muscles and makes your body hold on to calories, so working out is doubly important.
There are probably a lot of other things you can do. Be creative, but above all else, be as efficient as possible on the way to your destination and try and relax or party during free time while you're there.
Hope this provides some useful information. If you have any other suggestions, please share with the class. Safe travels!