Traveling for work may seem like a dream come true, but the reality is it can be both tremendously tiring and seriously impact your productivity. To make sure that you still get work done and don’t lose a day while you’re traveling, you need to come up with a plan.
Your company may sort out your tickets and accommodation for you but that doesn’t mean that you get let off from having to make some plans of your own. The key to any smooth business trip is preparation, so make sure you keep an itinerary of where you need to be, at what time and what for. There are now a number of online itinerary apps that can help you plan ahead for your travels such as TripIt, which offers you a complete, no stress way to combine all of your travel confirmations, itineraries, tickets, hotel bookings, rental car reservations, etc… in one simple dashboard, and you can access it from your phone.
This dashboard can act as your central hub for the duration of your trip, meaning no more searching through your inbox for a confirmation email or forgetting your reservation number. Another travel itinerary app which is great for business travelers is WorldMate. WorldMate is aimed less at tourists and casual travelers and more at those traveling for business or who are particularly frequent flyers. It works in a similar way to TripIt by organising your itineraries and reservations in one place, but it also lets you add other destinations, appointments, meetings, and events.
Be smart with your outfit
Unlike going on holiday, travelling for business means you need to be presentable at all times and it helps to keep you in the business mindset too. They say dress for the job you want, not the job you have, so this applies to business travellers no matter their status in the business. Dress smartly for your journey but also wear something you are going to be comfortable wearing for a long period of time. If you have a particularly long flight or journey ahead of you, then you may wish to bring a spare set of clothes to change into before you arrive at your destination, so that you can step straight off the plane and into your meeting in style.
Rethink your luggage choices
Travelling with luggage can be a pain at the best of times, especially if you have an old, cumbersome suitcase slowing you down. But travelling with work can be even more stressful as you will often have company belongings with you and the prospect of lost luggage becomes a whole lot more terrifying. Keep important items with you in your hand luggage and upgrade your suitcase to ensure that it has a lock and is sturdy enough to take a few knocks at baggage handling.
If you really want to take your luggage up a level then you can even invest in a suitcase with charger. That’s right, you can now get suitcases with inbuilt chargers enabling you to charge up your devices on the go. In terms of what you pack you will need to make sure that everything is professional, clean and folded so as not to arrive at your destination a crumpled mess. Packing cubes work wonders for keeping items organised inside your luggage cases and be sure to wrap any toiletries such as shampoo or toothpaste in a watertight bag just in case they burst in transit. Bring more clothes than you think you need to account for changes between day and night, but try to pack lightly by packing smartly with outfits that can be worn together in various combinations.
Make use of airport lounges
Airport lounges are a business travelers best friend for many reasons.
They provide a place to relax
If you have a stressful trip ahead of you this may be the only part of your journey where you get to relax. So sit back and relax in a secluded part of the airport away from the noise and chaos of the airport. With a guaranteed comfortable seat, access to magazines, newspapers and other entertainment you’ll feel like you’re in first class.
They provide free food and drinks
Traveling for business may come with limited expenses and so you won’t want to be spending lots of your own money on food and drink while waiting for your plane. Airport lounges offer complimentary refreshments and you’ll save both yourself and your company money by eating those instead of at one of the many overpriced restaurants.
You can get productive
If you’re traveling for business then the chances are you will be traveling on a workday, and you’re probably still expected to keep up to date with your emails and schedule. An airport lounge has access to better wifi and provides an environment that is more conducive to concentration. Some airport lounges also come with facilities such as conference rooms and phone booths for private conversations.
They sometimes come with other added extras Some lounges even come with extras such as spa facilities and showers. Although a trip to the spa may be nice the shower facilities are what really come in handy, especially if you need to be fresh on and off the plane.
Consider flying business class
If your company can afford it, business class can help to make your trip a lot more comfortable and productive. By flying business class you will often get priority check-in and your own security lane, meaning you can spend more time in the lounge getting back to work. Speaking of lounges, as a business class passenger a lounge may be included in your ticket cost. Business-class also often comes with an additional baggage allowance which is perfect for those essential business items which take up a lot of space when you are packing such as folders, laptops, etc…
Business-class flyers also get to board the plane first and have access to better quality seats to ensure that you are comfortable and well-rested post-flight. With more space than economy travelers, you will have plenty of room to stretch and spread out any work equipment such as your laptop and you won’t need to argue over who gets the armrest. When you reach your destination business class also ensures that you are the first to get up and go and your bags will be the first to be placed on the luggage collection conveyer belt. It may seem like a big jump in the ticket price but for all these benefits, it’s one that is definitely worth it.
Ensure you get a good place to stay
Where you stay on your business trip can hugely impact how the trip goes. Hostels may seem like a cheap alternative but you need your rest so don’t sacrifice that for a few extra dollars. If your trip is for a few days to a week then a hotel will usually be fine. This ensures that you have the facilities you need on-site, such as a laundry service, and will give you the peace and quiet you need without breaking the bank. If you are staying longer than a week then you may wish to consider a serviced apartment. A serviced apartment can provide a more spacious and homely feel for long trips away from home whilst also coming with a fully equipped kitchen so that you can begin to cook for yourself and not rely on the hotel buffet.
Traveling for business can have a detrimental impact on your diet and overall health, especially if you do it regularly. In airports and hotels, you are often provided convenience foods which can be very hard to resist. At work itself in meetings and at networking events, you may end also end up with less than ideal food options and could also end up eating out at restaurants. Overall, this combined with a reduced amount of sleep and perhaps a higher than usual alcohol consumption, can leave you feeling tired and sluggish, which is not conducive to productivity. Try to maintain some normality when you are away. Eat a healthy breakfast, have lunch, and try to limit your consumption of unhealthy convenience foods and alcoholic drinks. Also, make use of the hotel gym and as mentioned earlier if you are away for a long period of time then consider staying in a serviced apartment where you can begin to cater for yourself and take back control of your diet.
Finally, have fun and enjoy this experience, traveling for business is a fantastic opportunity that not many people get to enjoy. It is a chance to see the world and experience new customs and cultures. Make sure to take some time off when you are away or extend your trip where possible to add on a few tourist days at the end of your trip in order to make the most of the opportunity you have been given. At the very least, make an effort to try the local cuisine and read up about the area you are staying through local guides.
This post may contain affiliate links.