Travel's a curse, especially for business, so here are some top tips to help you lighten the load.
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Even the people who love to travel for business kind of hate it. Commuting to the local office is arduous enough for most workers, so when work forces you to do battle at airports, squish and squeeze into bus and train seats, and live out of a suitcase, you likely feel unproductive, spendthrift, and (if nothing else) a little insane.
Fortunately, business trips don’t have to be so bad. With a few tweaks to your typical travel habits, you can optimize your trip and ensure your time is as efficient as your time spent at home.
You only have a handful of days to accomplish your goals for your business trip, which means you need to make the most of every second. From your first takeoff to your final landing, you should strive to be as productive as possible, which means you must make the following preparations while you plan your trip:
· Book Wi-Fi–enabled flights.
It’s hard to believe that in 2017, some flights don’t offer internet access. Before you book your trip, you should know which airlines offer GogoInflight, a Wi-Fi service that lets you connect with the home office even when you are miles in the air.
· Map your locations.
Even if you have been to your destination city before — even if you have endured several business trips there before — you should take some time beforehand to understand where you need to be and when. This will allow you to be more efficient with your time, preventing both mad dashes to meetings and hours-worth of early arrivals.
· Prepare for downtime.
No matter how well you planned your itinerary, travel is almost synonymous with unpredictability. During your trip, you are likely to experience at least some spontaneous downtime, which means you should have tools on hand to get work done. For example, you might consider carrying a briefcase with a small tablet computer.
Even if you aren’t a leader for your organisation — and therefore invested in keeping costs low — you should still strive to be stingy with money allotted for business travel. For one, if too many of your employer’s business travelers live lavishly, there won’t be enough cash leftover for bonuses later in the year. Whether or not you control how travel budgets are decided, you can use the following money-saving tips on your trip:
· Use rewards.
Personal and business credit cards often produce travel-related rewards, including discounts on flights and accommodations. You can save up these points throughout the year to make your business trips nearly free.
· Fly to regional airports.
Large airports might be more centrally located, offer a greater number of flights, and have a few more amenities, but smaller, regional airports tend to be less expensive — and they might get you closer to where you need to be.
· Consider travel agents.
Thanks to the internet, travel agencies are few and far between. However, those that persist are exceedingly good at their jobs. If you travel often, it is likely worth the fees to use a travel agent to find the best deals and ensure you have all the amenities you need to travel pragmatically and comfortably.
Business travel is stressful for a plethora of reasons, which makes taking time for yourself even more important. Before and during your trip, you should do the following to mitigate your stress levels and make you even more effective while you travel.
· Bring entertainment.
It might be a pack of cards, or it might be your favorite action movie; something in the world allows you to zone out and enjoy yourself while you are traveling. You should bring something fun and calming on your trip, so you always have a way to relax.
· Have a sleeping and eating routine.
Plenty of travelers look forward to opportunities to eat out and party all night, but the truth is deviating from your typical eating and sleeping routine will leave you feeling lousy. Instead, you should bring along prepped meals or find healthy eating spots, schedule exercise, and get to sleep at a reasonable time.
· Call home.
Traveling for work is lonely. You can keep your spirits up by communicating regularly with those you love back home via voice and video calls. Even if you are only gone for a weekend, it helps to see a friendly face.