Maximize Productivity During Your Next Business Trip With These Five Travel Tips
By Cara Sloman, executive vice president, Nadel Phelan, Inc.
As business professionals, we pride ourselves on achieving goals, being on time and controlling our environment. We also know that all of this can go out the window during business travel. Jet lag, a missed connection, a sudden illness – delays and unforeseen circumstances are unpreventable, but with a little advance planning, you can reduce the travel stress and instead focus instead on the purpose of your business trip.
Here are my top five tips for maintaining energy and easing stress throughout business trips.
1 – Plan your time wisely and realistically
Time management is key during travel. Factor in travel time from one place to the next while also adding buffer time, in case of unforeseen circumstances. The best worst-case scenario is that you will arrive early – giving you extra time to prepare for a meeting or catch up on work you missed while you were disconnected.
While it may seem like a good idea to pack in as many meetings as possible, you may end up biting off more than you can chew. Though overload is sometimes unavoidable at an action-packed conference or press tour, I try to limit in-person meetings to three or four per day to prevent mental burn-out and make sure to schedule time for breaks and reflection. This way, you’ll reduce stress and bring your best, most focused self, to meetings.
2 – Prepare to be disconnected
Access to Wi-Fi and mobile technologies are improving, but smart business travelers should always prepare to be disconnected. Keep both printed copies and downloaded versions of presentations or important documents with you at all times. I also like to download emails before my flight in the event that Wi-Fi services are down or unavailable.
3 – Use support on the ground
When it comes to urgent matters, communication with your support network is crucial. Not only should you set an “out of office” response for calls and emails, but also communicate with your coworkers, clients and important contacts to identify which situations merit an immediate response and the best way to reach you. Further, pre-brief your team on the ground on when you’ll be available for contact so your team is prepared to elevate critical situations.
4 – Pack the essentials and then some
As a frequent business traveler, I keep a carry-on roller bag with all my essential travel tools in it ready to go at all times. This includes essentials like travel-sized toiletries and all types of chargers and adapters. I also pack items to make travel more comfortable, such as slippers and noise-cancelling headphones. By reducing time spent packing the night before, you can avoid the stressful last-minute packing scramble and get that crucial good night of rest.
5 – Catch flights, not colds
Bringing the necessities to maintain health can be a make-or-break for a business trip. Pack cold medicines, immune-boosting supplements and a sleep aid so you are prepared if you start to feel unwell.
Air travel is notoriously dehydrating. Bring a refillable water bottle that you can take through airport security. I also pack herbal and caffeinated teas, which are great for immune support and an energy boost. And since you never know when or where food will be available, bring a selection of snacks to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and avoid that “hangry” feeling.
Plan for Success
Changing time zones, navigating airport security and unexpected delays are just a few of the common pain points of business travel. Nothing in life is certain, so preparing for possible contingencies can set your mind at ease and free you to focus on the purpose of your trip.
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