Traveling with business in mind requires you to be on the game, not footloose and fancy-free. It is even more stressful than vacation adventures, since the stakes are definitely higher. Arriving at the conference only to find out you forgot a laptop charger or appropriate clothing is something you want to avoid at all cost. On the brighter note, there are many ways to take some sting out of the whole hassle.
A game plan
Planning is what makes or breaks a business trip. This may sound like a no-brainer, but once you start dealing with it in practice, you will regret not spending more time doing the legwork. Setting up the budget is one of the first things to consider and it helps if you know the exact price in advance. Opt for agencies that feature fixed exchange rate and no hidden or extra costs. Applications like Expensify aid businessmen in keeping track of all the traveling costs, so there is no need for pen and paper, or a memory strain.
Time is of the essence and it is never too early to start with the preparations. In this stage, packing is your prime concern: make every inch count in your suitcase and get into the art of packing light and smart. Last-minute shopping, overpacking, rushing to the airport, these are all practices that slow you down, stress you out and undermine the success of the trip. What matters is not only what you pack, but also how you transfer the load.
Fighting on two fronts
Business attire is one of the most important items on your checklist. It includes dress pants or skirts, coordinating jackets, shirts, blouses, tops, and dress shoes. Casual clothing for evenings is also a good addition to the wardrobe, while pajama ensures you get plenty of comfortable sleep. Bringing all the toiletries, business material and tech equipment is also an absolute must. Some entrepreneurs even turn to apps like Packing Pro that do the heavy lifting and pull together customized packing lists.
Now, closing down the operations when away from the home base is not the option for a bulk of business owners. Activities such as emailing are not postponed just because you have decided to hit the road. Vice versa, you are not excused from all the duties you “leave behind”. Catching up on email and message communication upon return can push you into a vicious cycle for days. Therefore, it is a good idea to stay connected and do some of the work whenever possible.
Just do away with distractions in the form of push notifications or social media alerts and set up a schedule with precise times for commutation. It is highly advisable to leverage the time away by being truly present at the new destination. Make yourself ready for a no-outlet scenario and ponder on investing in a backup power source. My personal favorite is a USB battery pack, a little lifesaver. A travel power strip should do the trick as well.
Traveling drains batteries of your gadgets, but do not forget to recharge your own ones. Many people experience difficulties while trying to get a good night’s sleep abroad, and if you fall in that category, purchase noise-canceling earphones or earplugs. A quiet space in the hotel is also preferable, so do not settle for just any room. Furthermore, bear in mind that convenience food around airports and city hubs is not the best kind of fuel for serious business travelers. Apps in the league of Yelp are of great help when it comes to healthy food options that enable you to stay at your best.
Finally, you might have not even boarded the plane, but it would be wise to muse on getting home as well. There could be delays and complications, so always have a plan B in case you cannot return to the workplace on time. Also, do not assume everything will play out as intended, so call the airline before going to the airport. A lounge might be costly, but note that it most often offers free food, drinks, Wi-Fi, power outlets, etc. In any case, do not schedule any meetings for the day you get back in the office or dive into daily tasks right away.
Your way or the highway
For many entrepreneurs, business trips are not really the reason to rejoice. The crux of the matter is in planning activities you carry out, not gut instinct or resourcefulness on the road. You need to arrive home in one piece, without stress and pressure getting the better of you. So pack all the necessities and stay on top of daily communication. Know when to put down your tablet and how to blow away the cobwebs. Keep calm, productive, powered-up and comfortable — that way, you should be able to travel the highways and byways of the world with the bells on.