Philly Business Travel Pros Reveal Their Best Travel Tips

Here’s how to stay on top your itinerary in the face of pesky hassles like bad weather and unexpected delays.

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Let’s be real: business travel is not as glamorous as it’s purported to be. The stress can pile on between trying to be punctual for every meeting and staying on top of your itinerary. Added stressors may include having to navigate inclement weather and unexpected delays. Despite these roadblocks, however, some of us have managed to master the business trip with repeated practice. We reached out to these Philly pros to learn more about their time-tested routines. Be it by car, plane or train, these on-the-go business leaders tell us their best tips for successful business travel.

Patrick Lindsay, president and CEO, United BioSource

My travel schedule is approximately two to three times per month. Though our world has become smaller and communication with our clients and sites has become effortless, face-to-face interactions are extremely valuable so it’s absolutely necessary to be on planes and trains for business meetings.

My best tips are:

  1. Be organized: Organization, or lack thereof, can make or break any trip, especially a business trip where there is less flexibility available should something go awry.
  2. Be prepared: Know the ins and outs of where you are traveling to, logistics, cultural nuances, the weather forecast, the purpose for the travel, the attendees, and your role.
  3. Be courteous: Remember many of your interactions during travel are with hardworking people who are usually just trying to do a good job and delays are not their fault. Always be respectful, appreciative, and patient.
  4. Travel light: Be efficient in your packing. Bring only what you need and consider the attire for events you will be attending. If you can manage to pack that into a carry-on rather than a checked bag, you will save yourself time, money, and stress should your luggage not arrive when you do.
  5. Travel with an acceptable mindset: You cannot control things like weather, maintenance delays, and lengthy security lines. It is important to stay calm and be patient. Allow plenty of time to arrive at the airport, prior to your departure, and expect delays. Delays at the airport are a necessary evil for the world we live in today, so why not maintain a positive attitude?

Tiffanie Stanard, founder and CEO, Stimulus

I travel for business a few times a month.

My best tips are:

  1. Stay relaxed: Traveling can be stressful and you will feel it both mentally and physically. Figure out what keeps you calm. Try creating playlists for music, books, and comedy, and make sure they are accessible before you depart.
  2. Make use of your time: In addition to your initial reason for traveling to that city, post on Twitter and other social media platforms about your trip or look through LinkedIn to see who else you can schedule in during that time. I try to squeeze in as many meetings as possible, especially if I won’t be back in that city for a while.
  3. Keep things simple: I fly with a carry-on and a business backpack. I book my Airbnb or hotels close to my meetings to avoid traffic and spending extra money on Lyfts. I also make sure all outfits are interchangeable and match with at least two pairs of shoes.

Marc Brownstein, CEO and president, The Brownstein Group

I travel for business once or twice a month.

My best tips are:

  1. Lots of plane space: I fly a lot, so I have frequent flier status on a couple of airlines. If I’m not upgraded to the front of the plane, it’s important to secure extra legroom with an exit-row seat.
  2. Find a fitness center: On the ground, and before I book the trip, I look for hotels that have great fitness centers. Being in other time zones for a short period is tough on the body, so having a gym where I can reset and get re-energized is important. I am often in and out of a European city in less than 48 hours. That’s a lot of sitting — on a plane, in meetings, in Ubers, and restaurants. So I try to stand as much as I can in both the planes and meetings. Keeps me alert!

Varsovia Fernandez, president & CEO, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

I travel often for business, at least twice a month by car.

My best tips are:

  1. Stay organized: Know where your support system is.
  2. Keep track of the weather: Always check the destination weather and pack accordingly as improper attire can make it very uncomfortable for meetings and walking.
  3. Pack smarter: Identify travel clothes and keep them readily available for travel to make packing a 15-minute task. In your travel bags, separate toiletries from your permanent everyday items to keep them readily available use and for ease in packing. If you’re engaging in last-minute travel, focus on the unique items you need and cannot buy upon arrival.
  4. Prepare for the worst: Keep water, a blanket, and flashlight in your vehicle. Also, pack fruit and fruit bars. Traffic can change your plans.

Sylvia Watts McKinney, executive director, Summer Search Philadelphia

I travel for business about five times a year. Summer Search is a collaborative national organization, so business trips to Boston, the Bay Area, Seattle, and NYC are part of my job.

My best tips are:

  1. Travel light: The goal is to not have to check a bag. On my last trip to Boston, everything I needed fit into a little duffle bag.
  2. Have a great book with you: I’m currently reading The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by Mehrsa Baradaran as I prepare for my upcoming business trip to NYC.