It can seem exciting at first, the thought of traveling around the country – or even the world – on business, but after a few trips and hours of waiting at airports or killing time in hotel lobbies, the fun can go out of it very quickly. However, there are ways you can make the most of your business trips and increase both your enjoyment of the trip and your productivity.
The key to getting the most out of any trip – business or pleasure – is to plan, and this starts with your packing. If you are a frequent business traveler, it is a good idea to create a travel checklist; as you pack, you can check off items on the list so that you are in no danger of forgetting something. For toiletries, it is a good idea to keep a toiletries bag full of travel-sized products that you can just grab and throw in your suitcase.
Time spent at the airport is not only tedious, but is often wasted. One way to cut down the time spent at the airport is to consider enrolling in the US Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program to speed up your security processing time. This program means that at the airport you will be entitled to use special security lanes where you do not have to take off your shoes or take your laptop out of its bag.
Comfort is key
If possible, make sure that your flights are as comfortable as possible, which may mean upgrading to business class. Using comparison websites like Flights.com will usually result in a flight search made easy and help you find the best deals available. If your seat on the plane is more spacious, you may find it easier to get paperwork or other equally tiresome tasks taken care of, so the upgrade to business class may actually pay for itself in increased productivity.
It may also be worthwhile for your company to sign up to a business travel program if you and other employees are taking regular business trips. Such programs offer reward credit cards and frequent-flyer memberships with bonuses and these can help to keep costs down, as well as ringing up valuable air miles. It may feel a little bit like flying by the seat of your pants, but you might also be able to upgrade your hotel room by leaving your room booking to the last minute and being especially pleasant to the check-in agent.
Get the most out of the trip
If you travel to the same places regularly, make some calls and arrange some lunches with members of your business network. This not only combines business with a little bit of pleasure, but it will also give you the chance to have a face-to-face with clients and a little much-needed human contact. It can be lonely out on the road – or in the air – and you should always make certain to take a little time out. This means that when you do have a bit of downtime, you should not spend it pouring over your smartphone messages, checking your emails on your laptop, or making business calls that can wait a few hours. Get out of the airport and have a look around the city.
Even if you are stuck at the airport due to a delayed flight, ensure that you take a little time for yourself. Put your head back and close your eyes, or read that book you brought with you. You may be on a business trip, but it does not have to be 24/7 work; you may actually find that your productivity increases when you make time to relax.
*Image of businessman via Shutterstock