If this is your first business trip since Covid, we got you covered!
Unlike a vacation, business travel can be a grind. Long days of meetings followed by nights in unfamiliar hotel rooms can leave even the most intrepid traveler feeling exhausted. Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. With a bit of planning, you can make your business trips work wonders for you.
Here are six tips to make your next business travel more productive and efficient:
1. Make a list of the trip’s goals
Business travel can be a great opportunity to get out of the office and see the world, but it can also be a huge time waster if you’re not careful. Before you book your ticket, ask yourself what exactly you want to get out of the trip. Do you need to meet with potential clients? Visit suppliers? Attend a conference?
Once you know your objectives, you can start to plan how to make the most of your time. If you’re meeting different clients in person, try to schedule meetings back-to-back, so you’re not wasting time travelling between appointments. If you’re attending a conference, make sure to network with other attendees and collect business cards so that you can follow up with them after the event. By being clear about your objectives before you even step on the plane, you can set yourself up for a productive and successful business trip.
2. Plan everything ahead of time
Another way to make your business trip less stressful is to plan everything in advance. Start with listing what you need to bring (e.g. flight schedule, hygiene products, business attire, name cards, phone/laptop chargers and office supplies) and what you should book ahead (e.g. insurance, flights, accommodation, transportation and any other events that you have to attend).
Don’t forget to prepare for emergencies, such as packing medication for common cold and motion sickness and bringing enough cash (in home and travel destination’s currency) in case you need to get a cab. That said, try your best to bring as few items as possible to keep the trip easy and light.
Also, as some countries or cities are still enforcing travel restrictions due to Covid, check ahead the requirements (e.g. mask mandates) and whether you need a PCR test, quarantine or vaccination record, to enter your destination.
Having most of the trip planned out, you will not have to worry about constantly changing your schedule or finding last-minute accommodations, saving money and freeing up time for yourself to tour around. More importantly, you can focus on your work and get the most out of your trip.
3. Organize your trip with technology
Using the right tech tools can make your hectic business trip a lot easier for you to stay on top of things. Use meeting management solutions, like ClickUp, Beetnote and Calendly, to keep track of your meetings and have all the documentation (e.g. flight tickets, visa and passport) you need at your fingertips online and offline. You can work while you’re on the go or even during transit time in a truly agile way.
Also, as you will be working during the trip, make sure you can access the internet to keep yourself updated in case an event is being pushed back, or your flight has been delayed. If your phone’s network provider does not support international roaming, you can buy a prepaid SIM card so that you can stay connected even there’s no café with free Wi-Fi nearby.
4. Make the most of downtime
Business travel can be both productive and enjoyable if you know how to balance your time. If you have your trip planned out, you will probably be able to squeeze out some me-time to explore the city. Depending on how much me-time you have, you can visit some museums or tourist attractions or even take a short excursion to a nearby city!
By taking some time to relax and recharge, you will return from your trip feeling refreshed and more productive. Who knows—maybe you’ll even discover your new favorite travel destination!
5. Stay connected with co-workers from home
Business travel can be hectic, but don’t forget to stay in touch with your colleagues from home via email or video chat. This can help you stay updated on what’s happening back home, and you can also let your team know how your trip is going. Here are a few tips to help you communicate with your office while on the road:
- Schedule regular check-ins with your colleagues. Whether it’s a daily stand-up meeting or a weekly conference call, make sure you’re staying in the loop.
- Use cloud-based applications and services. This way, you can access files and documents from anywhere, and collaborate with colleagues in real-time.
- Invest in a good portable Wi-Fi hotspot. This will ensure that you always have a reliable connection, even if you’re in a remote location.
As you might be in a different timezone than your colleagues from home, make sure to count in the time difference when scheduling meetings with them. If more work comes up during the trip, communicate with your team to see if you can delegate some tasks to someone else. While work is important, don’t forget to set boundaries and work hours so that you won’t drain yourself completely!
6. Keep a Positive Attitude
Remember that each trip is an opportunity to advance your career and grow professionally. If you are meeting people face-to-face during the trip, it might be a good opportunity to expand your professional network. For instance, research ahead who will be attending a conference or exhibition that you would like to meet, and you can introduce yourself in person when you see them. Approach every situation with a positive attitude and an open mind, and you’re sure to come back from your trip feeling successful.
With Covid travel bans being lifted in more and more cities and countries, business trips will surely be making a great comeback. If you are a bit overwhelmed and lost taking your very first business trip since the outbreak of the pandemic, follow our tips to turn even the most tedious trip into an opportunity to learn, network and grow!
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Header image courtesy of Freepik