• Tips for one-day business trips

    I fly roughly 80,000 – 100,000 miles each year, so I’m always looking for travel options that will limit the total amount of time I have to spend away from home. Often, this means flying into a city, attending a meeting, and flying back home the same day. It makes for a busy day, but there’s nothing better than flying without luggage and getting back home to sleep in your own bed.

    Businessman checking airline ticketI’ll admit, though, this isn’t always a feasible option. It really depends on where you’re traveling, when your meeting is scheduled, how long it will take, and whether or not you’re crossing time zones. Personally, I’ve had the best luck with these kinds of trips when I’m staying within my own time zone. For example, for trips like Minneapolis to Chicago, or New York to Boston – people do these kinds of trips in one day all the time. And with some of the shuttle routes between the larger east coast cities like D.C., Boston, and New York, flights run hourly, so there are plenty of options.

    It’s when you’ve got time differences, connecting flights, or early-morning meetings that one-day trips can be a challenge. If I’m traveling from Minneapolis to New York, even the earliest flights of the day will only get me into New York by around 11:30 a.m., meaning morning meetings are out of the question. On the other hand, if I’m traveling from Minneapolis to the west coast, I gain a couple of hours while I’m in the air, so it’s realistic to arrive by 9:30 a.m. Of course, by the time the meeting has ended and if I catch the 5:50 p.m. flight home that gets me in at 11:30 p.m., well, it’s been a long, 16-hour day of travel.

    Bottom line is you have to weigh out the pros and cons. Of course, there’s always the risk of flight delays or cancellations, so same-day travel doesn’t leave you much option for a backup plan. I’ve been in this situation, sitting on the tarmac with an extended delay, knowing that I’m not going to make it in time for my meeting, but having no option to just hop back off the plane. So depending on the nature of the business trip, this may not be worth the risk. If you’re traveling to close the big deal, I’d play it safe and arrive the night before.

    But if you find that same-day travel might be a reasonable option for you, here are a few tips I’d recommend:

    • Don’t bother renting a car if there’s reliable cab service at your destination. Picking up and dropping off a rental car will add time on both ends of your trip. That being said, make sure to check your travel policy to ensure you’re within its guidelines.
    • Pack light. I usually just bring what I’ll need for my meeting, and I don’t bring any extra clothes. Sure, there’s the possibility my flight home may be cancelled, but I’m OK with buying a change of clothes at my destination should this happen. And most hotels will give you a toothbrush and the basic necessities.
    • Fly into the airport closest to your meeting. In cities like New York and Chicago where there are multiple airport options, make sure you’re picking the most convenient one.

     

    Are one-day trips a part of your regular travel routine? What other tips would you share? Tell us in the comments below.

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