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From bear dens to boardrooms – how to get the most out of business travel

Wildlife biologist Wes Larson’s life is a mix of boardrooms and bears.

“My work has taken me from Northern Alaska, working with polar bears, all the way to Slovenia for a conference,” says Wes. Though his favorite part of the job is fieldwork, he understands that it is equally vital to spread the conservation message, to the academic and business communities as well as the wider public. For Wes, that means travel is part of life. “I love being able to travel for work,” he says.

But it can be tough. Wes travels long distances, and has to be ready for contrasting demands at the end of grueling flights. It might be fieldwork, observing grizzlies in the wild. It might be a business meeting with backers, TV producers or other experts in bear conservation. On some occasions it might be all of them.

“The places I get to go with work are incredible,” he adds, “but I really do need to make sure it goes smoothly.” To achieve that goal, Wes has developed a series of clever tips and hacks to ensure that, when travelling, he’s ready for anything: bears, boardrooms and getting straight down to business.

Decompress at the airport

“Personally, I think the airport is an underrated opportunity to relax,” says Wes. Before or after an intense business or fieldwork trip, Wes heads to the lounge, puts on noise cancelling headphones and enjoys a little bit of peace and quiet. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to work or relax, the airport lounge can be the perfect oasis of calm amid the chaos of an airport terminal. Even if it’s only 15 minutes, this is enough time for some music ‘sound therapy’ or short session of mindfulness – both proven ways to reduce your stress and anxiety.

Energize with a cold shower

“If I don’t have much time between when I land and when I actually need to be out working, one thing I do is take a cold shower,” says Wes. It might sound extreme, but it works when you need to be fresh and alert for a business meeting too. Cold showers trigger a hormone response that makes you feel more awake, helping to counter the effects of jet lag. “It feels like you’re resetting that (body) clock,” Wes adds.

Use apps to stay on top of flight status

Any frequent business flyer can relate to Wes when he says: “The idea of missing a flight is extremely stressful. The more info I can get, the better.” Wes stays on top of his schedule using SkyTeam’s app, which gives him at-a-glance information on flight status, airport information and more. “If I know my flight status I can be exactly where I need to be, exactly when I need to be there,” he says.


Charge your device via TV USB

For those times when you forgot your adapter or just have too many devices to charge, Wes has discovered that almost all hotels have TVs and almost all TVs have USB sockets. “Most people probably don’t think that a hotel TV is an option for charging your phone. But wherever you are that port is probably going to be there and it’s going to work,” he says. A great hack for those who regularly forget the right plug.

The benefits of using a VPN when travelling

Business travelers will often connect to a number of different WiFi signals. Many will be public, and some will not be secure. That puts your data – passwords, banking details, documents – at risk. A VPN can stop hackers in their tracks, and free versions are simple to download and use. And if you are travelling to a country that has restriction on what content you can consume on the internet it’s a useful tool to work around this.

Consolidate your travel to one airline family

As Wes admits, “a lot of planning goes into this kind of traveling.” Business trips might involve more than one stop, or plans might change halfway through. SkyTeam’s Plan and Book function makes it simple to organize and book upcoming travel, wherever you are. It also lets you collect frequent flyer miles from any of SkyTeam’s 19 members. “The best thing is that I can fly with one airline and build up some points, but I can use those points on any of the 19 carriers,” says Wes.

From SkyTeam:

Find out about the benefits of signing up for SkyTeam member airlines’ frequent flyer programs. No need to register for several programs, their alliance-wide offer has you covered. Find out more…