Traveling for business: tips and tricks

Folla alla stazione

I am about to fall asleep for the third time since this morning, after coming back from Miami, where I spoke at the tenth WordCamp Miami (congratulations folks, you rock!). It seems only fitting to write today the second post about traveling for business.

This is a mix of a bunch of things that I tried or that friends that travel extensively suggested. There is a bit of everything, in no particular order.

Jet Lag

Let’s start with this, because this time around it got really ugly. So, no, I don’t have a 100% guaranteed successful tip for this one, but here are a bunch of things that helped a lot in the past. Again, not this time. This time I am like this:


What helped me in the past:

  • Stay hydrated. It doesn’t help with the jet leg per se, but it will help not get a headache when you finally get to sleep 🙂
  • When you fly West, try not to sleep too much on the plane and go to bed early (9 PM usually is when I am ready to pass out).
  • When you fly East, try to get as much sleep as possible on the plane, get a nap, 2 hours tops for me, and go to bed at your regular time.
  • Also when you fly East, go back to your regular wake up time as soon as possible. I found that if I indulge in too many naps when I come back I have a really hard time getting back into my schedule.
  • Melatonin has a lot of mixed reviews. I used it for months in Italy to help with my sleeping pattern, but it didn’t help much when I finally got to the other side of the Ocean.
  • Ask your doctor to prescribe a light sleeping pill. Not something that will knock you over, but something that will help you ease into sleep.
  • Luca suggested a food intake management system that sometimes I can keep up with and sometimes not. It also depends if I travel alone (then I am usually successful) or if I travel with someone that eats non-stop 😇

Airline bookings

  • Most of the time I will book directly with the airline I am flying with, unless the difference between their price and some websites like Opodo or Edreams is really big. I like booking with the airline itself so I can keep everything in the company app and it makes it easier to manage the bookings, the receipts and the check-ins.
  • On low cost companies, that I use quite often to go to London, I always upgrade to a seat that will allow me speedy boarding and a reasonable amount of guaranteed luggage on board, a carry-on and a laptop bag.
  • My preference is always for an aisle seat before the wings (you’ll feel less turbulence if you encounter one).
  • On transatlantic flights, I always upgrade on the way back to sleep a bit more comfortably. I recently flew on a 747 and it’s still one of the comfiest airplanes ever made, especially if you are flying with someone and they allow you to sleep on their shoulder.
  • If you need a connecting flight, either book the one with the shortest possible stop (if you are on vacation) but if you need to get work done on the same day, stop for at least four hours, so you can get three hours of work (

Bits & Bobs

  • If the airport offers the option, book premium security and premium passport control. In a messy airport like Malpensa or a busy one like Gatwick, they can save you up to 45 minutes in queue.
  • Try to stick to the same airline if you do long haul flight frequently. Miles are your new religion from now on.
  • Don’t get trashed at parties 😜 Some conferences throw some pretty epic parties, where alcohol flows and everyone has a good time. Remember you represent your business but also getting trashed is awful for jet lag! Speaking from experience, unfortunately. I haven’t drank at a party in months, after being way to buzzed for my liking in public.

Safe travels!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.