Travel Tips — Published December 28, 2023 | 3 minute read
1. Maximize Your Time
Whether departing for business travel or returning from it, traffic should be the first thing you look at. If your flight is scheduled to take off around rush hour, it could change your travel plans, not to mention drive up fares for rideshare transportation. So, regardless of time, it’s better to be early than late. Use extra time in the terminal to prepare for your trip or unwind from it.
If time is an issue, research which terminals are busiest, especially if you don’t have TSA PreCheck. Often, security lines at one terminal can be significantly shorter at another. If you’ve checked in online, you can go directly to the less-crowded checkpoint without having to worry about whether it’s closest to your airline.
Just make sure that you know how to reach your gate. In mid-size airports, you can usually walk between terminals.
Set alerts to check traffic and rideshare rates throughout the day of departure.
2. Get Work Done
Every business traveler at some point commits to getting work done at the airport but fails to complete it. After all, traveling is stressful, and time constraints can make just getting on the plane a chore in and of itself.
If you still insist on firing off those emails, be sure to know your airport’s lounge areas, and invest in noise-canceling headphones. Mimicking a work setting is the best way to be productive.
Planning ahead can help productivity and eliminate related stress. Editing or writing a blog post is a work task. So is researching one. Bookmark articles to read and podcasts to listen to before heading to the airport. You can work through them at your gate, or yes, a bar stool, while feeling productive. Airports are also a great place to accomplish “rainy day” tasks, such as updating your LinkedIn profile or email signature.
Label small tasks throughout your work week with no timeline for completion as “airport tasks” or “travel tasks.”
3. Stay Active
Fitness options continue to grow more comprehensive in airports. In Dallas, you can get your yoga fix—a fine destresser—at two terminals, B and E. On the East Coast, Roam Fitness opened up shop at Baltimore-Washington International Airport with a full fitness center behind security. You can work out, shower and head to your gate after checking in. Roam intends to expand beyond BWI in the United States and internationally.
On the fun side, you can bring a “business gets done on the golf course” mantra to the airport in the Upper Midwest. If you’re flying into or out of Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP Airport), leave yourself extra time to visit the massive PGA lounge in the Lindbergh Terminal, which features putting greens and golf simulators. This oasis is especially nice during the Minnesota winter.
It’s simple, but skip the moving walkways and escalators if possible. You’ll feel more accomplished knowing an easier option is readily available.
4. Sample The Local Food & Drink
Large chains such as McDonald’s still dominate airport food courts, but more and more cities are adding local favorites to their terminals. For instance, business travelers in Philadelphia can grab a cheesesteak from Jim’s South Street or sample crab fries from Chickie’s & Pete’s at the Philadelphia International Airport. Charlotte Douglas International Airport features Southern fast food staple Bojangles’ Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits, among other local fare, while Texas burger giant Whataburger is open for business at DFW International Airport.
All to say, don’t worry about prioritizing a particular food stop if it doesn’t fit into your on-site itinerary. There’s a decent chance you can get your fill at the airport. The same is true of craft breweries. Airport bars—even in alcohol-strict Salt Lake City—feature a wide variety of local samples. And bigger breweries, like Goose Island in Chicago and Harpoon and Sam Adams in Boston, have opened spaces in their respective cities.
Do your research beforehand! If a popular city spot is in the airport, move it down your priority list for eats and drinks.
5. Transportation Considerations
Never have business travelers had more transportation choices. Uber and Lyft both offer business options, while taxis often still provide the quickest getaway from the airport to the hotel.
If you’re interested in one-day trips or breaks from a conference, you can’t go wrong renting a car. It’s always a good idea to check out a city’s public transportation options before departing, as well. The best transit of the bunch can reduce cost and time if utilized. Another consideration: bikes and scooters. Once you get settled at your hotel, rider-share bikes and scooters offer inexpensive, fun conveyance.
If you’re going to use an app for transportation purposes, familiarize yourself with it before you leave. It’ll help when it comes time to file expense reports.