Travel writer Ben Groundwater advises to use a guide book - but not too much. Photo: Danielle Smith
When travelling the world is part of your business, it's important to hit the ground running and maximise every moment of your working day and the down-time that gives you the chance to explore your surroundings.
It can be hard to know where to find good restaurants, meet locals or even where to stay. Not to mention what to pack.
Our frequent flyers share their travel tips on how to make the most of your time abroad no matter where you're heading, and have an experience, not just a work trip.
Ben Groundwater, travel writer and author of Five Ways to Carry a Goat
Use a guidebook - but not too much
Groundwater believes the old faithful guidebook is an ideal way to orientate yourself in a city, find out which neighbourhood appeals to you and which streets to wander in search of a great restaurant or bar. “Once you're on that street, however, close the book and look around. You'll discover far more by exploring on your own.”
Think outside the hotel box
To save money and live like a local, Groundwater suggests trying sites such as Airbnb that allow you to rent out someone's apartment.
Chris Zeiher, Asia Pacific sales and marketing director, Lonely Planet
Plan your sleep on the plane to match when night time is at your arrival destination, says Zeiher. Also, drink lots of water onboard, dose up on Vitamin C and don't be scared to use products that can help. “Recycled plane air can wreak havoc with your skin. I always travel with Aesop Ginger Flight Therapy and a small tube of Kiehls Eye Alert,” he says.
If you're not in a rush, forget cabs and walk, or take a chance on public transport – you might get lost, but that's the best part. “Recently I stumbled across Street Coffee in Bermondsey, London when I took a wrong turn. I knew it must be good as it was heaving with locals waiting for a brew. It's now one of my favourite coffee shops.”
Try the language
We know it's embarrassing to sound like the foreigner, but a few phrases in the local tongue will earn you respect and better service, Zeiher advises. Key phrases to know? Please, thank you, hello, goodbye and where's the toilet?
Robert Ferris, head buyer, Harrolds luxury men's department store
Carry noise-cancelling headphones
Not only will they drown out the crying baby in 12H, you can also use them to watch movies, listen to music or just cut out the engine noise for a while. “I wouldn't get on a plane without them,” Ferris says.
Forget tourist spots, explore regions
When it comes to investigating a new city, Ferris suggests picking a suburb and exploring by foot for a day rather than running from landmark to landmark. “I had the best sashimi in Ginza at a tiny place I would not have known was there unless I had walked past it just as someone was coming out,” he explains. “I do remember ordering more sake than sashimi though.”
Finn Kelly, financial advisor and co-owner of Wealth Enhancers
Prepare your carry-on
Have a carry-on suitcase filled with toiletries, a change of underwear, painkillers, socks and a clean t-shirt, advises Kelly. You never know when luggage will get lost in transit and you'll be stuck in a foreign country with just scratchy airplane socks and toothpaste.
Orient yourself with a run
When you land, Kelly suggests a quick run outside – it'll help you freshen up, reduce jetlag and also provides you with an opportunity to see what's around your area.
Harwood finds apps handy on the road. He recommends Trip Case, to keep all your flight details updated in real time; Wenzani for nightlife, food, culture and shopping; and Translate for those lost in translation moments.
Get an international SIM card
There's nothing worse than being hit with the roaming bills after you return from a trip. Yes, it's convenient to keep the same number, but according to Harwood, it's always worth getting a cheap International SIM.
What are your best tips for getting the most out of business travel?