How to Make International Travel Easier and More Productive

Many people who have to travel for business often dread the time they spend sitting in the airport, on the plane, and in taxis just waiting to get from point A to point B. Travel can be stressful, uncomfortable, and time consuming. Because of this, it’s imperative that professionals who travel on a regular basis make the most of their time in transit. Follow the tips below to make your international travel easier and more productive.

Plan Ahead to Minimize Setbacks

When packing for your trip, keep the cramped overhead bins in mind and remember that whatever you pack, you’ll have to lug around the airport. Pack light and keep it minimal. Make sure all your devices are fully charged and that your outfit is practical. You don’t want to show up in pajamas, but a full suit or high heels might make traveling even more uncomfortable.

Double check that you’ve packed your identification, tickets, and passport. Keep your tickets and all forms of identification somewhere that’s easily accessible so you don’t have to sort through your bag at each checkpoint. Most airlines allow you to check in online, 24 hours before your flight. Consider doing this to avoid dealing with it when you get to the airport. When you check in ahead of time, you’ll also have a bigger selection of seats to choose from.

Have the Right Gear

From neck pillows to noise-canceling headphones, there’s an unlimited supply of products designed specifically for avid travelers. For those looking to get some work done in the air, you need to have a laptop or tablet. If you need to communicate with coworkers or clients or send time-sensitive emails, make sure you have access to the internet. Some airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi for a small fee, but many still don’t. To make sure you’re always connected, consider using a service like T-Mobile’s Gogo In-Flight, which gives you one free hour of Wi-Fi and unlimited texting throughout your entire flight.

You should also look into portable chargers for keeping devices powered up on long flights or the right pair of headphones to help block out the sounds of other passengers. Adapters are also important when you’re traveling out of the country.

Get Your Finances in Order

The first thing to do is to let your bank know you’re traveling abroad. You don’t want to have your bank account frozen because a purchase in another country looks suspicious. Try to avoid exchanging your money for the local currency at the airport. The exchange rates are usually very high, so do your research to find the most affordable option. When you do exchange money, don’t swap out more than you need. Having too much currency means you’ll have to pay additional fees to convert it back into dollars after your trip.

Tackle the Airport

Arrive early. You never know what could happen, and missing your flight could mean missing a big meeting or having to reschedule your flight for the following day. Frequent travelers should create a routine for navigating the airport to optimize time and allow less room for mishaps. You can also look into becoming a member of the trusted traveler program, TSA PreCheck, which allows its members to leave on their shoes, belts, and outerwear and even allows them to keep small amounts of liquids and laptops in their bags. TSA PreCheck lets you get through security within minutes.

Avoid checking your bags if possible. This will ensure that your luggage won’t get lost in transit and that you won’t have to wait for your bags after arriving at your destination. You should also try to avoid spending unnecessary money. Airport terminals have so many things you might want but don’t need like drinks, food, and souvenirs. You don’t want to waste money just because you’re bored and then regret it when you land.

International travel can be tough, especially when it’s for work. By maximizing your time and minimizing possible delays, you’ll breeze through all of your future international trips.

Image via Flickr by AstridWestvang

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