17 Travel Mistakes Rookie Business Travelers Make on their Biz Trips

17 Travel Mistakes Rookie Business Travelers Make on their Biz Trips

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Recently, I made a stupid travel mistake while I was traveling for work. It was a rookie mistake, for sure, and for someone who travels as much as I do, I should know better (more on this in a moment). It got me thinking about all the different kinds of travel mistakes that rookie business travelers make on biz trips (especially those first few trips). So, I jotted a few down and voila, this article is the result.

Here are 17 Travel Mistakes Rookie Business Travelers Make on their Biz Trips! I’d love your feedback on this list as well. Please leave us a comment, below, or tweet your favorite travel mistake to us @CBoardingGroup.

My Travel Mistake

Ok…back to my little travel mistake. As I said, I made a rookie traveler mistake and it was kind of a dick move. #shame

I was tired.

And had been traveling all day. I was up early (like 3:30AM) and my connection was delayed. By the time I arrived the hotel (very late) I was done. I was hungry. Irritable. Just done.

And, instead of being (at a minimum) cordial with the desk clerk I was a dick. This is a classic rookie mistake (see #16, below). I’d stayed at this hotel like 20 times and she was asking dumb questions and telling me about amenities I already knew about. I cut her off abruptly and said just gimme the key. She was taken aback.

I quickly collected myself and deeply apologized to the clerk. I shared why I was so grumpy and told her I had no right to be rude. She was kind enough to absolve me, but it was a good reminder to be nice to the folks you interact with while on a biz trip.

Read on to learn about all of the travel mistakes that rookie travelers (and sometimes veteran travelers!) often make.

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17 Stupid Travel Mistakes Rookie Business Travelers Make on their Biz Trips

Travel Mistakes Rookie Business Travelers Make on their Business Trips

Let’s get into it. Here are the different travel mistakes novice travelers will often make when on a biz trip (especially their first few):

Travel Mistake #1: They over pack

Rookie travelers often make this travel mistake. They simply pack too much! As an inexperienced traveler you tend to think you need more than you do. Maybe you start packing all kinds of unnecessary toiletries (like full size versions of your shampoo), or extra two or three sets of clothes instead of just one.

Maybe it’s out of an abundance of caution (“I might need that, you never know”) or more likely, just naivete.

Product Review: OGIO Metro Backpack

But, over packing is a classic travel mistake rookies make. And the consequences are time and effort.

More time than you really need to do things like check your bag (because you had to go up to the big one instead of carrying it on – see #2, below) or wait for it to come off the carousel.

And effort because you are literally lugging around more weight than you need to (ever tried swinging an over packed suitcase into the back of a rental car??).

Take our advice and pack light.

Travel Mistake #2: They check a bag

The second common travel mistake novice travelers often make is a consequence of the first: they check a bag.

Savvier business travelers know that time is money and checking a bag costs you time. Time on the front of end of your trip to check the bag when you could be walking through security. And time on the back end of your trip waiting for your bag to come off the belt.

And you introduce risk. Risk that your bags might get lost or damaged.

Lastly, you are lugging around more than you really need to. Why lug around a giant suitcase when a properly packed and physically smaller one will do just fine.

Instead, learn to pack light and you won’t have the need to check a bag on your biz trip.

And of course, make sure you get decent luggage. I recommend something like the TravelPro Crew 11 21″ – but there are many great luggage products out there.

Travelpro Luggage Crew 11 21″ Carry-on – Click Here to See Price

Read my product review on the TravelPro Crew 11 here.

Travel Mistake #3: They don’t stick with a single airline, hotel and rental car company

Rookie travelers spread their travel around to many different travel companies usually in search of the best deal. This is understandable if you are on a budget, but you are sacrificing a good deal by going this route.

Instead, try to consolidate your travel on a few companies to maximize your points and miles. By earning more points and miles you will increase your status with those organizations. This will earn you perks like early check in, better seating, upgrades, snacks, etc (depending on the company).

Moreover, you will start to rack enough points/miles to use for free travel which can come in quite handy for things like vacations.

31 Amazing Hotel Hacks Travel Pros Use all the Time

I’ve taken my family on many trips paying far less (or nothing) for air fare, rental cars, hotels, and more.

Travel Mistake #4: They miss out on all of their points and miles

Newbie biz trippers either don’t know or haven’t taken the time to start collecting & building up points.

Consequently they let valuable points / miles slip through their fingertips.

Best Rental Car Loyalty Program: National Car Rental Emerald Club

Even if you are not sure you will be traveling much or maybe you won’t be using “that airline” very often…sign up for the rewards program and get your points.

Travel site Points.com provides a means to transfer points and miles between programs so even just a few points could be useful.

Moreover, even the lowest level of loyalty programs offer benefits that the huddled masses don’t get. Why not take advantage of them – for the cost of nothing more than your time (5 mins) and your contact info?

10 Great Hilton Honors Hotels Hacks You Need to Know

Delta’s lowest level, Silver Medallion, will waive baggage fees for you so why not sign up and get those points and benefits.

Travel Mistake #5: They don’t get TSA Precheck (or Global Entry)

If you like wasting time, standing in lines and generally adding unnecessary pain to your travel experience don’t get TSA Precheck. TSA Precheck pre-screens travelers by conducting background check ahead of time.

TSA Precheck - a must do for your first business trip

Once approved for the program biz travelers get their own security line which is almost always shorter. And you don’t have to take your shoes off or laptop out of the bag. Time saver!!

It’s saved my bacon more times than I care to mention when running late at the airport.

Global Entry is another trusted traveler program designed to help you clear customs a little quicker.

Travel Mistake #6: They book a rental car when an uber or taxi would do just fine

This is a simple mistake – and easily made, but entirely avoidable. Often us business travelers will grab a rental car when a simple uber or taxi would have done the trick. The result is usually extra cost (to your company) and extra time (from having to pick up and drop off the car). Don’t make this rookie biz traveler mistake.

Deal Alert: Sign up for Lyft Ridesharing and get $5.00 off your first ride

If you do need to rent a car check out my 9 Secret Rental Car Hacks

Travel Mistake #7: They Don’t Workout!

After a long day on the road it’s easy to just slip your shoes off, crawl into your hotel bed, pop the TV on and veg. After a few biz trips like that you can start to pack on the weight and your health can quickly decline.

two dumbbells

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

But, you’ve got to fight the urge and get in a workout. Something is better than nothing so if all you do is a few push ups or some yoga it’s better than nothing.

Make work a priority on your biz trips and avoid making common rookie travel mistakes like this.

If you are looking for more healthy biz trip tips you might be interested in The 7 Habits of the Healthy Business Traveler: How to Stay Healthy While Traveling for Business.

Travel Mistake #8: They don’t eat healthy

It’s hard to eat healthy on the road. And, there are often unique restaurants in the city you are visiting for work that you might never get another chance to eat at. It can be tempting to gorge or at least not eat as healthy as you might ordinarily do.

Classic rookie mistake (hell, even seasoned travelers make this mistake).

However, instead of going nuts on the unhealthy food, try to balance it out. Eat a healthier breakfast, work out for an extra 10 minutes and then try that once in a lifetime meal at at the cool dive you heard about on some food show.

And maybe get water with your meal instead of a soda. Or, as I like to call it, make small decisions over the course of the day – like salad instead of fries, or water instead of beer.

You get it.

And, if you are looking for healthier snack options, check out these healthy travel snack ideas: 9 Healthy Travel Snacks – eat smarter on the road

Travel Mistake #9: They don’t drink enough water

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really like water. It’s boring. And I am now at the age where frequent bathroom trips are simply part of my life. Throw in a 4 hour flight? I will likely dehydrate myself.


Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

However, I’ve realized this is foolish. Headaches, reduced immune system and worse come from dehydration. Now, I make a concerted effort to hydrate (although I tend to emphasize hydration the night before my trip a bit more than day of).

I’ve now started traveling with a water bottle now which can be refilled at one of the numerous water filling stations now prominent in airports.

Collapsible Travel Friendly Water Bottle – Click Here to See How Much it Costs

Travel Mistake #10: They are not HOME when they are home…

As a frequent business traveler this is a one of these travel mistakes I’ve made (and it’s a little embarrassing). It’s easy to keep your work phone near you when home from travel…and check it incessantly, and worse, respond. Sometimes you have to do that…but it should be the exception.

When you are home, BE HOME. Engage. Interact. Plug in. Be present. Etc…

This builds up house credit, if you will (for you and your fam) when you are back on the road. Be present with your family when you are not on the road!

Travel Mistake #11: They are tardy on their business travel expense reports and/or don’t follow company travel policies

I once had a boss who told me if you ever need to fire someone, just look at their expense reports. There’s likely something wrong with it! The ethics of this approach aside, it is easy to inadvertently get out of company policy while on a biz trip or worse, flagrantly violate it.

The most common violation? Food / entertainment related violations. Companies have varying approaches to dealing with food while on a biz trip. Some offer per diem, others pay per meal, others may give you a company card to use. But, given the wide variety of food costs across the world it can be easy to inadvertently get out policy which could earn the unnecessary chagrin of your leadership.

Or worse, you intentionally violate the law.

Travel Mistake #12: They don’t take photos of their receipts

Another common mistake travelers make is failing to keep track of their receipts while traveling. This makes it challenging to file your expense report upon returning from your biz trip.

grey laptop computer

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

Many corporate travel programs (like Concur) provide mobile apps that make it much easier to snap a photo of a receipt right at the moment of payment (or shortly thereafter). Once in digital form, biz travelers are less likely to lose track of them.

If nothing else, take a photo of the receipt with your mobile phone’s camera and save it for later.

Travel Mistake #13: They don’t keep up on travel news, trends, benefits, etc

The travel industry changes all the time. Your benefits get better…and they get worse (Bonvoy, anyone!?). Mergers happen, airlines open, close and more.

The savvy business traveler keeps tab on these things. They have their fingers on the pulse of what’s going on. The latest deal from Hilton, or that new piece of luggage that Tumi had.

Rookie travelers are oblivious (and that’s their big mistake). To be fair, though, it’s really a case of not knowing what you don’t know.

We recommend you follow this blog, obviously, for great travel news, tips, etc. But you might also enjoy BoardingArea.com which is chock full of great travel info, deals and more.

Travel Mistake #14: They don’t take time enjoy their destinations

This is an easy mistake for biz travelers to make. It stems from simply moving to fast. As a business traveler you are typically “on the go.” How fast can you get your rental car, how fast can you check into the hotel, or how tight can you schedule your flights in and out of the customer meeting.

Or we simply head back to the hotel, pop on the TV and binge watch 3 movies instead of getting out an seeing even just a tiny portion of the destination you are visiting.

And, listen, I get that. Guilty. As. Charged.

It’s easy (and important, in many cases) to travel fast. Moreover, biz travelers are often pretty worn out by the end of the day and the thought of going exploring instead of taking our shoes off and catching up on Game of Thrones is hard to fathom.

However, a secret I learned a few years ago is that if you are intentional about it you can start to take in just a little bit more of your destination. It starts with small steps usually. Things like eating out somewhere instead of room service in your hotel room. It starts with maybe not booking your schedule so tight you have no time.

And if doesn’t matter if you are visiting Paris, France or Minot North Dakota (I’ve been to the latter by the way…)


Obviously, if you visit Paris on work, you want to see something. But guess what North Dakota has some interesting stuff too. It could be as simple as merely checking out the “It happened here” history placard on the side of the road, or taking an actual tour of something or even just physically seeing it.

But something, right. Get out. Explore even just a bit of your destination. You will be enriched by this and have some neat photos and stories to tell.

Travel Mistake #15: They miss out on networking opportunities

Often, business travelers are so tired they forget to network. But, travelers are passing 1000’s of potential customers, colleagues and more every time you travel. You can’t meet them all, but you can meet some of them.

Next time you are on a plane, strike up a conversation with your seatmate. Perhaps they could be your next boss, employee or customer.

Always Be Networking!

Travel Mistake #16: They forget to be nice to travel industry people they encounter

don't be a dick - classic travel mistakes

Truth be told, it’s often the more senior, seasoned travelers who are guilty of this offense. But, I’ve also seen the newbies do it to. Maybe it’s just they’ve never really got out before (you know, on a biz trip) or maybe they are just flustered. Or maybe Mommy gave ’em one too many trophies.

Either way, don’t be a dick.

This goes for the jaded veteran business travelers too. The folks we are run into as we travel are not making a fortune. The guy shuttling you to the airport from your hotel? He’s probably making $15.00/hr. The desk clerk renting your car to you? Also hourly.

Be nice. It cost’s nothing.

Travel Mistake #17: They lose their cool too easily

Boy, travel can really suck sometimes. Whether you are sitting next to someone obese or a screaming baby, or never got on the plane because it was delayed for mechanical problems…the travel life can be rough.

The Middle Seat Travel meme

The Middle Seat is brutal!See All of our Travel Memes

Your hotel room will be janky. Your rental car break down. You will get a cold. You name it.

But…there’s usually not much you can do about it. Things are often beyond your control.

So, instead of losing your $H!t, just roll with it. All things eventually end. Even the 6 hour flight in the middle seat when you have a head cold.

It sucks, for sure.

But it doesn’t last forever.

You will do that same flight in first class. You win some you lose some. No need to lose your ever-loving mind because you had to store your backpack under your seat for the flight back from SAN to DEN. #Chillax

Final thoughts on rookie business traveler mistakes

There you have it. 17 travels mistakes that novice travelers often make on their biz trips. We hope this article was useful to you and will help you avoid making the same mistakes.

What did we miss? Have you made any of these mistakes? If so, share your story by leaving us a comment, below. Or tweet us!

If you liked this content, please share it on social media and click the “like” button below and don’t forget to follow us on social media including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

By the way, if you are interested in more travel tips and travel advice, you might like these great articles:

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Travel Mistakes Rookie Business Travelers Make on their Biz Trips

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Author Biography

We. Do. Business Travel. The CBoardingGroup.com is a leading business travel focused travel blog. The principal author has over 18 years of consistent & frequent business travel. Over the years, he has developed various travel habits, travel tips, advice and more that he shares with fellow travelers of all skill levels. From hotel life, to airplane tips, to the weekly grind of frequent travel, plus a little travel humor, this blog is a haven for business travelers. Read his full bio here.

Advertiser Disclosure: CBoardingGroup has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. CBoardingGroup and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. “Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.”

4 comments on “17 Travel Mistakes Rookie Business Travelers Make on their Biz Trips

  1. Stefan Krasowski @ Rapid Travel Chai

    Great tips. On the rental car vs Uber thing I’ve anecdotally thought the opposite, people racking up Uber/Lyft charges when a rental car costs less for a day than the one-way car share from the airport, even before all the other trips and the return are factored in.

    1. The C Boarding Group Post author

      Yeah, it can go both ways for sure. You have to sort of be tuned into the logistics of your actual trip and have enough experience to understand what your costs might be either mode (and/or hassle factor…like parking a car in NYC…lol). Thanks for the comment!

  2. Arthur

    Don’t schedule things too tightly. Leave plenty of time to get where you are going and make connections. Don’t be that guy having a heart attack running through the airport.

    One thing I don’t fully agree with is never checking a bag. Take what you need, and not a thing more. Have the lightest version of everything. But for longer business trips, you sometimes have to check a bag, unless you want to be known as the guy who only has one outfit with food stains on it. that you wear whether it is appropriate or not. When you do, make sure you still have enough in your carry-on bag to get you through 24 hours without your suitcase. And use your airline app to track your suitcase. (I’ve had bags go astray – but never for more than 24 hours and never completely lost.)


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