For millions of professionals, business owners, salespeople and entrepreneurs, travel is a way of life. Some traverse the globe multiple times per month while others take the occasional, yet important, trip to meet with a client or close a deal.
Unfortunately, travel is also marked by distinctive and frustrating points of friction. These cumbersome aspects have the potential to negatively impact productivity and undermine the underlying purpose of the trip.
Here are some ways to implement practical improvements.
Opt for greater efficiency
There are so many different modes of travel, and you definitely don’t need to box yourself into one of them. In fact, you should be open to whatever is most efficient for your time and resources.
Always opt for a direct flight when you can. Sure, you might be able to save a few bucks by catching a connecting flight, but it’s not worth the stress that comes from delays, missed connections, rushing through the airport and lost luggage. What’s another $100 for a direct flight when it means showing up on time and refreshed?
Don’t drive when you have the option of taking a train. When you take a train, you’re able to do some work (or take a nap).
Never assume that what you’ve always done is the best way of doing something. Sometimes, all we need to do is look at problems from a fresh angle to discover a much easier and more efficient solution sitting right under our noses.
Packing for a business trip might seem like a minor part of the process, but it has a significant impact on your stress level, productivity and efficiency.
For starters, make sure you only take carry-on luggage. Checking a bag is one of the biggest mistakes you can make and should be avoided at all costs. Any time you check a bag, you’re essentially saying, “I hope my bags meet up with me at the destination!” Not only is there a risk that your bag could get lost, but you also have to spend another 15 or 20 minutes waiting at baggage claim. It’s an unnecessary risk and huge waste of time.
You get one small suitcase and a backpack or briefcase at no extra charge. That should be more than enough space to pack what you need for a business trip.
Exercise and eat well
Safety and health are two of the most important things. If you aren’t healthy, you won’t be productive, engaging or impactful.
Most people use travel as a free pass to eat whatever they want and skip out on exercise; however, don’t be so shortsighted. What you put into your body and your overall level of physical activity matters.
When you take care of your body, you gain confidence and mental clarity. This positively impacts your business endeavors and increases your ability to influence customers and business partners.
Ask the hotel for what you need
Hotels are in the business of keeping guests happy. Satisfied guests are the heart of their entire operation. They leave good reviews, tell friends and family, and come back for additional stays. Thus, a good hotel will do whatever they can to make you happy. Use this to your advantage.
As long as you make a reasonable request, a good hotel will try to accommodate you. Go ahead and try it yourself: Ask for a quieter room with view, request a late checkout or see if they’ll provide workout clothing.
If it’s not an outrageous, insensitive or extremely expensive ask, there’s a good chance that the hotel will help you out. And always remember — the worst thing that can happen is that they tell you no.
Carve out time to decompress
Hopping from one appointment to the next is stressful. Not only does it increase your anxiety levels, but it also prevents you from being fully present. Wherever you are, you’re constantly thinking about where you need to go next. As such, nothing meaningful ever happens.
While it’s not always possible, you can usually space out your schedule. If you have the freedom to do so, it’s highly recommended that you carve out time to decompress. This could look like taking a nap in the hotel room, grabbing a beer at a nearby bar or simply reading a book in the park.
When you’re a young, bright-eyed professional with dreams of doing something big, business travel is thrilling and a great opportunity. But as you grow older and spent thousands of hours traveling, it loses a bit of its luster. The key isn’t necessarily to make travel exciting again — it’s to make it less stressful and cumbersome.