Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tips and Trends: Business Travel #2 - How to Survive the Airplane

 Business Travel Tips and Trends
#2: How to Survive the Airplane

If you are anything like me, your typical experience with air travel is that it's stressful, crowded and exhausting. Upon arrival at your destination, you just want to go to sleep. Unfortunately, when on a business trip, it is more likely that upon arrival you will need to immediately head off to a business meeting, where you will be expected to be intelligent, composed and charming, and completely conceal the fact that you just got off a plane.

To help you accomplish this feat, I've put together two lists for what you should always pack in your carry-on and some tips that I always follow when having to take planes for business trips.

In your carry-on for short flights (max. 4 hours):
-Ear plugs
-Headphones that fit over the ear plugs
-Dark-colored, lightweight wool shawl/wrap
-Granola bars
-Eyeliner, mascara and blush
-Light moisturizer
-Printed copies of any documents you want to review
-Pencils and pens
-Flash drive with any digital files you may need

For short flights, you will likely be heading straight to meetings the moment you get off the plane and may be flying back the minute the meetings are over. Your carry-on should have all you work essentials easily accessible and should have a few extra items to help you look and feel your best. 

I highly recommend ear plugs, even for short flights, because they block much of the humming and white noise produced by the plane which reduces some of the stress and tension you feel when flying. Once you have your ear plugs in, put headphones on over the earplugs so you can listen to something relaxing while you review work materials. Make sure you have a lightweight wool wrap with you, as planes can become very cold very quickly, and a couple of granola bars, in case the only thing the airlines serves is drinks. When you get to your destination, pop into the ladies room and touch up your blush, eyeliner and mascara in order to look refreshed. I've found those are the three makeup items that can look the most "worn down" after a flight. If you have time, apply a bit of light moisturizer to your cheeks and forehead. 

When I'm on a short flight, I really don't want to lug my laptop out of my bag in order to work on some documents. However, sometimes I need to look at something that just can't be viewed on a tiny blackberry screen. I've found that the best solution is to bring along my iPad, though any tablet would get the job done. It's just easier to have something larger than hour phone, but still smaller and lighter than a laptop to use while you are sitting around in the terminal.

Always make sure you have printed copies of any important documents so you can review them on the plane, along with pencils and pens to make any notes.

I always think it's a good idea to carry a flash drive with any PowerPoint presentations you intend to give, just as a back-up. It also makes pulling up the presentation on a local computer so much easier.


Add to your carry-on for long flights (over four hours):
-Eye mask
-Thick face cream
-Hairspray, bobby pins, hair elastic
-Wool socks
-Warm outerwear (such as a fleece jacket)

For long flights, I ALWAYS wear an eye mask. It's the only way I can sleep on the plane and is incredibly helpful when trying to relax. I recommend not wearing any makeup on long flights, but instead take along a thick face cream,  slather it on right away after takeoff and then apply your makeup quickly in the bathroom after landing. The face cream will help your face retain water and look less puffy after the flight, and applying your makeup later means it won't have gotten smudged. The same idea goes for hair as well - just leave it down or in a braid for the long flight, then do an elegant bun or French twist once you've arrived at your destination.

On long flights airplanes can get very cold, so I always pack wool socks and a thicker jacket just in case.

While you can get away with an iPad for shorter flights, on longer flights you will probably want your laptop, particularly if you intend to do a significant amount of work on the plane.

Readers, what are your tips for how to look professional and ready for business after stepping off an airplane?

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