Traveling For Business: 10 Things I Wish I’d Known Earlier
For many this little sentence tucked into the job spec can be a dream come true, for others not so much. Because you will never really know how much travel is required until it happens.
So it’s a leap of faith in most cases. New clients, pitches, summits, conventions not too many any office parties or company get-togethers.
But the thing is, some people make business travel look as natural as breathing, and others of us rush up to the desk with minutes to spare, hungry, tired and not 100% that you are ready to give any type of presentation.
So what are the things that I wish I had known before I began traveling for business on regular occasions?
This might sound like a no brainer because you’re traveling – it’s a dream, right? Well, sometimes yes. Mostly… no. Not everyone is a keen traveler, and because of that, it can be very easy to begin to hate work trips.
No work trip has ever been designed to make staff feel uncomfortable, sad, or take them away from their family on purpose. They’re all designed to get a job done. You are there will purpose.
Each of the minutes that you clock up traveling is actually very cool because many people don’t manage to leave to town they were born in. View each trip as a positive character building thing.
Have you ever heard of a go bag? It’s a bag that is always set up, needs to maintaining and is ready when you are. As soon as there is even a slight indicator you will be traveling so – pack your bag.
You will always forget keys, cards, toothbrushes, charges, nail files, change and sometimes even socks. Once a month book in an update session to make sure everything is in there. Ensure the bag fits into the overhead locker and isn’t too heavy.
Wheels will be ideal if you have to carry a lot, if not the good old duffle bag is a solid choice.
A Room With A View
Trust me when I say – not all hotels and apartments are created equally. Once you get a feel for what you like you’re going to want to stick to it as much as possible. Blueground apartments have that quality.
There is a joy that comes with staying in the same type of place. The rooms are well designed, you know how the checking is going to go down, and you know the service you’re going to get. So it doesn’t matter if you are in Dubai or Boston – seek out the familiar.
After all, when you travel things change so much, it’s nice to have one thing you can rely on.
Strangely, even though you will be passing many different restaurants and cafes, you are usually on your way somewhere else. Unless you know for sure your meeting is booked at a location that you can order food and water, pack snacks.
But, don’t be the cheese and onion crisp guy – or the tuna fish sandwich girl. No one likes those people.
Energy bars are usually light enough to stash in your go bag or pocket, they won’t smell the cabin out and are enough to tide you over till you get an hour to eat. Oh, and they last a long time too.
A refillable water bottle is an essential. Not only is it better for the environment, but traveling slowly dehydrates you, and you don’t want to arrive anywhere with a headache.
Where ever you go, it is going to be in your benefit to bring with you a selection of local currency. In most places, it’s not too difficult to manage, and in most cases, you can pick this up at the airport.
When you get the opportunity to pay a fee on top of your ticket to upgrade to Business Class, First Class, the Business Lounge – do it. The experience is more comfortable, the coffee tastes better, and you’re more likely to have a calmer journey.
Keep Expectations Low
Unless you are sure you have at least a day or two on top of what you need, don’t expect to see too many local sights. If you are in charge of your own travel, then try and makes space to at least see some of the surrounding areas. Usually it will be travel, apartment or hotel, client meeting, apartment, travel, home – with little breathing room
Travelling takes its toll on the body. Standing in queues, walking around the airports, train stations and running to unfamiliar meeting spaces all take effort. You’d do well to maintain a light fitness regime for those moments you need to run to make your train (and they happen to everyone so don’t worry).
A travel pillow and a sleep mask will make a world of difference. If you are heading into different time zones then getting a decent night’s sleep is essential.
Mints will save you from that travel breath if you have a meeting before you get a chance to freshen up.
A light rain mac that rolls up into a tiny pouch is a must in your go-bag.
Bring books on your ‘to read’ list, you’ll be surprised how much waiting around time this will kill.
Perhaps most importantly, the way you become good at traveling is by doing it often and creating a better routine for yourself.