If you're a business professional, your job description in these modern times may require some business travel. Whether you travel by car or by plane, each work trip presents new challenges, from lost luggage to ultra-long layovers. Fortunately, a few tips and tricks can help you stay as productive as possible when traveling for business — on the road, in the air, at your hotel, and even between meetings.
On your next business trip, remember this simple “Five P” sentence for optimal success: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. As soon as you receive word for upcoming business travel and book your airline and hotel reservations, the next step is to make a list of everything you need to take along. This includes electronics and corresponding accessories, general office supplies, appropriate business attire, and travel-sized toiletries. Keep your stress level low and your productivity high by preparing for meetings in advance and practicing presentations.
Keep a Virtual Itinerary
Some smartphone apps, like TripIt, allow you to organize all your travel information in one place, from airline tickets, car rental information, and hotel and restaurant reservations. More handy features include real-time flight alerts, rewards program tracking, alternative flight notification, and VIP travel benefits. When you're on the go for business, making the most efficient use of time not only eases your travel experience, but provides a greater window of opportunity to get work done.
When packing for your next business venture, take a tip from Laura Gassner Otting, an author and founder of Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group, who advises to always travel light. In defense of not checking luggage for business trips, she says, "If you control your bag, you control your time." To help limit your travel essentials to one carry-on bag, pack mix-and-match business clothing, and ship presentation supplies and product samples to your destination ahead of your arrival.
Nix Unwanted Noise
When traveling for business, chatty seatmates and crying infants can really put a damper on productivity levels. That's why Jason Miller, Head of Content and Social Media Marketing for LinkedIn, relies on noise-cancelling headphones to "block out the world" when needed. Whether you need to take a power nap in flight or work during a layover, headphones can keep unwanted distractions at bay.
Know Your Destination
Save a lot of time on your next business trip by getting to know your destination before you arrive. Go online and pinpoint your business location, hotel, and any grocery stores, restaurants, fitness centers, and sources of post-work entertainment in the area. To handle last-minute dinner reservations or car service while traveling, load your smartphone with useful apps like OpenTable, Lyft, and Uber.
Manage Jet Lag
Nothing zaps work productivity like jet lag, and author and business etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore offers a few suggestions for managing it. To get as much rest as possible when traveling internationally, she recommends packing a neck pillow, earplugs, and a sleep mask. To help your body adjust to a new time zone, Whitmore advises arriving at your location one to two days early, if possible. Because dehydration contributes to jet lag, she also suggests drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your trip.
Don't Forget to Network
Besides seminars and meetings, work trips often provide plenty of possibilities for networking. According to Business Insider, informal chats with like-minded business people can result in great advice, future business opportunities, and longstanding friendships. On your next business trip, arrange to meet with fellow participants over a good meal in a nice restaurant or snacks in your hotel lounge.
If you take to the open road for business, it's important to stay productive every step of your journey. To save time and stay focused throughout your trip, take advantage of these strategies and share your personal tips with us on Facebook.