Business travel is more common than ever before in our world economy, and traveling has become dramatically more efficient. Some people have mastered travel and enjoy a certain level of productivity while they’re away from the office, while others find that travel eats up their time. How can you have face-to-face connections and maintain a productive work week when traveling? Here are some tips from executives who travel frequently.
1. Have a Travel Checklist, Great Bag and Containers for Routine Items
Thinking takes energy. If you have a list, you can execute routine tasks, such as packing, more quickly.
Buy a great bag. Modern travel luggage is light and can be carried in multiple positions (e.g., from a roller bag to a backpack). Check out the popular mini-bags and containers, which help to ease packing, ensure you don’t forget important items and simplify traveling. If you travel often, consider using these containers to keep some items packed and ready to go.
2. Have Backups
Consider having a backup bag with an extra power source, headphones and other productivity tools you use. Some carry-on suitcases even have built-in battery chargers. One executive commented, “I love this [type of bag] and use it frequently while waiting to board flights. [It] also eliminates [the] need for additional battery backup.”
3. When Possible, Travel With a Carry-on Instead of Checking Baggage
Always keep critical items with you, and never check a bag, if you can help it. If needed, ship items to your destination in advance.
Learn how to pack light. One executive discovered a trick to packing clothes: “One word for packing light: wool! Merino wool clothing is naturally antimicrobial, wrinkle-resistant and resists odors/stains. It also packs incredibly small. This means you can pack less without carrying extra clothes. If you have a cancelled flight or get stuck staying an extra day, your clothes can pull extra duty. (While I don’t follow this rule, it’s common for merino wool clothing to be worn 30 to 40 times between washes.)”
4. Find Brands, Companies and Chains That You Love, and Book With Them
Developing a relationship with companies helps ensure that you enjoy the best customer service from them. Since most brands operate consistently no matter the location, you will always know what to expect and which services they provide. In addition, with regular use, you will raise your status in customer care lines and perks. Know the reward and status levels, and work to reach them.
Begin by using a credit card that will accrue points for travel. With many driving services, you can send your travel itinerary ahead of time to secure transportation for duration of trip. With airlines, priority members save time at check-in. If you’re a member of a hotel chain, you can often check in ahead of time using an app or bypass check-in and checkout entirely with a digital key option.
5. Develop Routines to Maximize Your Time
If you do better flying at a certain time, schedule your flights for those times. Develop a routine for working in the hotel’s business center and working out at its fitness room. Some travelers reduce the items they have to pack by knowing what the hotel provides (e.g., toothpaste and mouthwash) and asking for it when they arrive.
6. Return by Friday
Making Friday a recovery and catch-up day will allow you to wrap up your week and physically recover from travel. It will also help ensure a restful weekend. When travelers return on Friday, they often find themselves tired and working during the weekend.
7. Plan for the Unexpected Delays, and Upgrade Seating
It is said that one hour on a plane is equal to three hours in the office due to distractions. Maximize work time while on board to reduce the frustration of long travel times and costs. Upgrade to premium economy or first class for easy boarding and disembarking and for maximum space to use your laptop. (A good upgrade price is about $40 to $50 per hour). Pack a good pair of headphones or earbuds to increase your focus and productivity on flights.
8. Be Strategic With Your Technology
Ditch the heavy laptop, and consider an all-in-one device that can function as your tablet and laptop. Use cloud storage to make sure all files are accessible (and backed up) while you travel. Be wary of connecting to open wireless networks, and use your phone as a hot spot instead.
Travel has changed over the years. On one hand, it can be more complex — but on the other, savvy travelers make it turn-key and simple! Happy trails!