Everything I’ve learned about business travel, so far (part 2)

Everything I’ve learned about business travel, so far (part 2)

This post is continued from part 1 – read here.

6.  Download movies for your laptop

No joke, I finished every move on Cathay Pacific in about 6 weeks.  And while every month they had new releases and new additions to the collection, they don’t last long. And you mightn’t want to watch Bridesmaids again.

Whether legally or illegally, make sure you get a stack of TV series and movies on your laptop.  Although, if you’re watching Game of Thrones, expect to get a few people watching with you, or cringing at another sex scene.

Pro-tip – get a two way (or I carry a 5 way) splitter so your better-half, colleague or most importantly, your boss, can watch with you.  Reduces stress by taking your mind completely off the trip or off the 900 emails you got during your last flight.


7.  Carry-on only     

 Should be an obvious one for anyone who has watched Up In The Air, but stick to carry-on.  I’m heading to Europe for two weeks this trip and have taken carry-on trolley, small back pack and my laptop bag.

That’s a suit, 4 shirts, two pairs of pants, underwear, exercise gear, toiletries and the rest.

Pick for carry-on? Spend the money on a Rimowa.  Beautifully designed and a five-year warranty makes it easy.  Get four wheels – makes everything lighter through better weight distribution, makes moving down the cramped aisles of the plane easier and is less stress on the arm by wheeling ahead or next to you.

Travel wallets are also important, I’m using a new Bellroy who specialize in making things streamline and slim.  Get one.

How’s this reduce stress? Can be the difference between frequent small frustrations and moving through taxis, security, airports, planes and airports differently – that’s what you’re putting yourself through.


8.  Back-up power supply for your cell

The back up power supply – is amazing! If you’re an iPhone user, grab one of the cases with an extra battery pack.  For us HTC, Samsung or other users – grab one of the charging adapters.  Remember to charge it whenever you can – don’t put it off.

Buy a big one from a reputable brand.  I have invested in a cheaper one before and the battery was shot after two months.

Reduces stress by not having to worry if you’re going to miss that email, make that call or meet with your drinking colleagues.


9.  Stay connected with WhatsApp

Travelling means some big bills for you or your company if you’re still using SMS.  Asia has this hands down, and no one really uses SMS, unless you haven’t had the “which service do you use conversation”.

I primarily use WhatsApp, but am also now using WeChat (China), Line (Philippines and Hong Kong) and of course Facebook messenger.

Again, staying in touch with your friends and family will mean if you’re waiting in customs lines, airports lobbies you can always see what is going on.


10.  Join both miles programs, but stick to one

Biggest rookie mistake I ever made was not instantly transferring my Qantas FrequentFlyer Gold Membership straight to Cathay Pacific.  Rookie error.  If you’re changing countries, then make sure you do your research into whether oneworld or Star Alliance is better.

For instance, Singapore use Star Alliance.  For Hong Kong, use oneworld.

You won’t always be able to stick to the group.  So make sure you use both, but try to stick to only booking in one.  There plenty of people doing the hardcore math around which program and why so do your homework.

Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo Club (Asia Miles) is great – I’ve connected both American Express cards, a Visa card plus a whole host of other partners like Travelex (money exchange) to rack up points quickly.

Believe me, once you realize how many benefits there are, including upgrades and better lounge access it is all worth it.

Lounges seem like a small luxury, but I got stuck in New Zealand once at 2am with no where to charge my phone, have a sleep or get 15 minutes quiet.  You don’t need that kind of stress.

Lounges reduce stress not only from having a better view, but the food is half-decent, there is always some wifi, power sockets, TVs and anything else you need to forget the fact you’re awake at some ungodly hour.


11.  Remember to have fun

Talk to the concierge of the hotel, they will know everything about the local scene.  Talk to your colleagues and make sure you go out and have some fun.  See a few sights, eat the best food and buy a bottle.




I really hope this helps anyone about to start a travel gig.  It’s an opportunity I am extremely grateful for and look forward to continuing next year.

Reduce whatever stress you can, and manage yourself in the process.  Don’t forget it’s important to have a life at the same time.

Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.