Taking the Stress Out of Holiday Business Travel

Holiday travel can be challenging under the best of circumstances, but when you’re a business traveler contending with ultra-crowded airports, longer than usual check-in lines, and intense competition for every cab, hotel room, and restaurant table at every stop, the experience can take up so much energy there is nothing left for the rest of the trip.

It’s even worse if your trip was planned so late that there was no time to reserve services that usually help you relax and enjoy your time abroad. The following are some coping tips for emergency travelers who find themselves oversees for business during the hectic holiday season.

1. Fly on the holidays themselves.

While the days before and after the holidays are some of the most overwhelming days at the airports and all support services, the days of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and, to a lesser degree, New Year’s Day are times people expect to spend with their families. If you are already committed to traveling over those days, take advantage of the calm within the storm and use the temporary slowdown to your advantage.

The holidays themselves will also be the easiest to book and come at the lowest price. The biggest price to pay on those days is the sad feeling that you will be away from your friends and family on the days you want to be with them most. But at least you’ll be with others who are in the same boat, or at least the same plane.

2. Give yourself maximum time to get comfortable.

The more time you have to spare, the less time you’ll spend on edge. In other words, even if you can’t book your favorite room at your favorite hotel, you can arrive a night earlier and avoid the stress of deadlines and feeling squeezed by every delay you will inevitably encounter. You may not have the luxury of a slow paced holiday, but by stretching the span of the trip to its maximum, you will be able to find some built in space to rest and recharge while other business travelers are feeling the strain of lost time.

3. Choose the road less taken.

If you have a choice about destination, choose a place that is less likely to be mobbed at every stop. Choose one of the out of the way places that may not be as convenient as a big central city but is also less likely to be as stressful. You may not find the best night life while you are away, but you will have room to breathe, and that has value as well.

The key to surviving holiday business travel is to find ways to lower the stress. Traveling off the beaten path may be just the ticket.

4. Limit yourself to carry-on luggage.

If you can avoid taking the extra time at the baggage claim, you will save yourself one major headache. You will also avoid the possibility that your luggage will be lost, which is an even bigger headache when it happens at the peak travel season.

If your trip is only for a few days, there is no reason to pack more than a carry on suitcase. It can fit a lot of the essentials. As long as you are staying the western world, you will be able to supplement anything you need while you are away, You may not realize how much time and stress you’ll be saving yourself, but you’ll certainly know it if you feel you need to check your luggage in and then wait to claim it at the end of the flight.

5. Automate your expense reports.

The more you can remove from your list of things to keep track of, the less your mind will feel spread out in all directions. One thing you can easily remove from that list is the stack of receipts and expenses you’ll need reimbursed by your company or filed for a VAT return when you complete your travels.

The easiest way to eliminate that headache is to use an automated system that allows you to scan all your receipts in and forget about them. By the time you arrive back in the office, the entire expense report is done, probably with greater accuracy than a report filed manually.

Make sure your company gets all of the VAT returns it deserves. For the complete story on recovering VAT in EU countries, download our eBook.

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