Business Travel Tips: 6 Ways To Make Work Trips Tolerable

Last Updated May 12, 2011 7:43 AM EDT

Business travel is rarely as sexy as George Clooney makes it appear in the 2009 film Up In The Air. In reality, it's a necessary evil. So you've already bought your Bose headphones, got some attractive lace-less shoes, and haven't checked a bag in over a decade (or at least since they started charging for the honor of handling your luggage). Ready to take your travel technique up a notch? To help ease your pain, I've compiled 6 never-fail tips from on-the-go employees that truly make business trips tolerable -- if not pleasurable. In no particular order:

The Tip: Join A Club
The Traveler: Jude Boudreaux, founder of Upperline Financial Planning.
"Spring for membership in one of the airport club programs, or get an AmEx Platinum which gives you access. The clubs are private, quiet, you can get work done, and have some space to relax. They are the oasis in the travel desert. If you're not sure you want to spring for the full membership, try a day pass."
The Tip: Make Safety A Priority
The Traveler: Suzanne Garber, COO, Americas At International SOS.

"I like to understand the risk ratings of the locations I'm visiting. For me, downloading a copy of these from the Control Risks website or International SOS helps me stay current with the goings on in a particular country or region from a medical or security standpoint. This also gives me peace of mind as I travel knowing that I am as prepared as I can be for the possibility of political unrest, transit strikes, or less-than-adequate medical conditions in any given geography."
The Tip: Invest In Technology
The Traveler: Andrew Burch, pharmaceutical company president
"I travel on business at least every other week. I recently began using an iPad for presentations instead of my laptop. It's lighter weight, easier and faster to use, and the graphics are superior. It's definitely a greener option (no more paper presentations)."
The Tip: Use Apps To Your Advantage
The Traveler: Sheel Mohnot, Director of Business Development for Fee Fighters, a comparison shopping site for small business financial services
"There are a few iPhone apps I use to make my life easier. I use the Hipmunk iPhone app to book my travel -- it's very clean and hides silly flights I wouldn't want to take anyway, saving me time. I also like Flightcaster to forecast whether I'll be delayed
, and Tripit to manage my itinerary -- I just forward my itineraries to plans@tripit.com and it tells me if something has changed on my flight.
 The American Airlines app is also awesome -- I don't need to print my boarding pass ahead of time because it has a mobile boarding pass."
The Tip: Plan Sleep For Your Sanity

The Traveler: Jeffrey Fox, marketing consultant and author
"On long flights to Asia the key is to do the math. For example, if a flight is 14 hours, here's the plan: first four hours work; next six hours take an Ambien and nap; last four hours work, read, watch a movie."
The Tip: Pack Smart
The Traveler: Susanna Zaraysky, author of Travel Happy, Budget Low "I discovered vacuum packing bags for packing. I lay my clothes flat in the plastic bag and then roll the bag gently to get out the air and then close the seal. The bags reduce the space my clothes take up by 50 percent. They cost $5 or $6 each and are one of the cheapest and most effective packing tools out there."
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