When you take your first business trips, it can be a pretty exciting experience, especially if you’re someone who hasn’t traveled an awful lot up until that point. Most newbie business travellers get a few things wrong when they start, and may end up with more out-of-pocket expenses than expected. Here are some simple business travel hacks for beginners that’ll get you acting like a pro from day one away from the office.

Create a universal packing list to keep on your phone. There are certain things you’ll likely always need to take with you on the road, and things that it is really easy to forget to take, or leave at the hotel (phone chargers, earbuds, medications). If you have a basic list to reference before and during every trip, you’re less likely to forget anything (or need to buy replacements when you get where you’re going). There are plenty of apps that can help you with this, but Evernote is a popular one for keeping life organized.

Be sure to collect those frequent flier points. Your work might be paying for your flights, but any frequent flier points you collect will be in your name, and when you’re a business traveller they can accumulate fast. This way you can save your points for a dream vacation, or use them to bring your significant other on the odd trip with you.

Pack light. If you can travel with hand luggage only, you’re going to find travel a lot less stressful. Besides not having to worry about lost bags, you’ll not waste time waiting for your bags to come off the plane. You’re also primed and ready to go should there be a chance of jumping on an earlier flight. The key is to minimize the amount of clothing you need to bring, because really what do you need? Plan your outfits in advance of packing them, and really think about how many pairs of shoes you need for that three day trip.

Think about your health. Business travel can be really awful for our bodies. We tend to over-indulge with food and booze, eat things we’d never usually eat at home, and not get enough exercise when away. Don’t treat every business trip like a vacation – it isn’t – and take healthy snacks for the plane, and pack gym wear. If a hotel gym never works for you, Google running routes in whatever city you’re going to, or find a nearby fitness class that interests you.

Invest in lounge access. Because delays and cancellations are an inevitable part of modern travel, it is well worth enrolling in a program that gives airport lounge access. Fly often enough and you may be able to earn status that gives you that access for free, but until then check out the various credit cards that include access as a perk (such as American Express) or consider buying into a lounge program (such as Plaza Lounges).

Get the right gear for the job. Having a decent carry-on bag with spinner wheels will save you time and energy at the airport, and make it a lot easier to travel without checked bags.

Keep those receipts safe. Check in advance what your company needs to reimburse your out of pocket expenses, and if they require receipts be sure to keep them safe. Having a zip-lock in your bag will give you a handy place to store them, and be sure you get pay-back for everything that you’re entitled to claim.

If business travel to Winnipeg or Calgary is part of your work life, we offer beautiful, luxurious, and comfortable suites in both cities that can serve as your home away from home. Contact us to see how we can help with your accommodation needs.