Whether it’s a business conference you need to attend, a summit for aspiring entrepreneurs where you’ll be keynote speaker, a meeting with your company’s top clients, or a publicity tour to promote a book you co-authored, business trips can be arduous beyond words. Jetlag and a little migraine are inevitable because of the sudden shift in time zones, but regardless whether you’re exhausted from the long flight or not, you need to be at your best game. Fortunately, the success of your trip is mostly in your hands. Here are a couple of life-saving tips that will make your business trips sometimes good, and sometimes great.
Prepare a Travel Checklist. A plan always optimizes your performance. Knowing your itinerary beforehand allows you to know the things that you need and allows you to prepare for possible contingencies. A checklist will always come in handy. Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the bestsellers Eat, Pray, Love and Signature of All Things, use an iPhone app called CheckList. It helps her take note of all the things she needs for a trip – from make up to speeches – and all the things she needs to do.
Research the Area. A good business man looks at something from all the perspectives. If you haven’t been to the place you’re travelling to before, it will do you good to Google the place and search for hotels and restaurants with affordable rates and good reviews. This is exactly what the CEO of Mattress firm, Stephen Stagner, does. Also, try learning the local language before your flight. Knowing the local “thank you”, “please” “sorry” and “hello” might score huge points with your clients
Drink Vitamins and Pack Meds. Vitamins help you be the dynamic titan you are during the day, and help you have an awesome sleep at night. You might also get migraines and back aches from the long flight and from your heavy luggage, so pack pain relievers with you. Include emergency medications for diarrhea, allergy and sore throat.
Earplugs can become your best buddy in a 17-hour flight. Wireless ear buds with noise cancellation and sound isolation functions will be handy during flights. Like Big Love composer Anton Sanko, who uses earplugs for his music research, you can be more productive throughout the flight. Listening to audio books or classical soundtracks will also relax your brain. Or, you can sleep through your flight peacefully unperturbed by the crying toddler or noisy couple a few seats away.
Bring physical and digital copies of important files. Gather your important documents in your carry-on. When you’re on the road for hours, and you’ve moved from one hotel to another, there’s a huge possibility that you get room umbers confused. That’s fine. Minimize that small window of confusion by listing down flight schedules, room numbers and hotel addresses so you won’t forget anything. If you’re not the writing type, don’t worry. Smartphone are teeming with apps that would get you covered.
Do Back-to-Back meetings. Money can be earned, but wasted time is wasted forever. To minimize the expenses of flying around, and to save precious time from packing and unpacking, schedule as much meetings as you can in 48 hours. Rachel Zoe does this ever since she became a mom. The goal is to be super productive in the little time you will spend in your business trip so you can spend as much time as you can with the people you love. After all, they’re the reason for the entire grind, right?
Get a good meal. It is of absolute importance that you are well-fed throughout your trip. By well-fed, I mean, having the right amounts of protein and carbohydrates during the right time of the day. Have a protein-filled breakfast to have optimum energy throughout the day. Carbing up your dinner will help you sleep more soundly. As much as possible, do not skip meals. But when the worse happens, a pack of energy bars will come in handy. Before your flight, drop by a convenience store and buy a box.
Pack less. I cannot emphasize this more. Every year, the industry spends $1.3 Billion because of baggage mishandling, so as much as possible, bring everything you need in your hand-carry. Pack the right clothes – one pair of pants, one skirt, one jacket, a couple of blouses and a handful of underwear would be enough for a one-week business trip. Tricks like stuffing your socks in your shoes will help save space and maintain your shoe’s shape. Bill Walshe, CEO of Viceroy Hotel says in a hotel from the country he frequents to, he would leave to the concierge a suitcase full of toiletries, extra change of clothes and workout gear.
Bring an Internet-Ready device. Internet-access can be pretty awesome and pretty pathetic in some places. To cancel out connectivity-related stresses, bring your own device. That way, you can easily access your files from your cloud storage, update your blog or just check your Facebook newsfeed during your idle time. It would also be wise to recharge your devices before your trip, bring a Powerbank or an extra battery and an all-purpose travel adapter.
Bring the family. Surrounding yourself with loving and supportive people will ease usual the pressure of a business trip. Dr. Peter Tan-chi, Senior Pastor of Christ Commission Fellowship, who travels all over the world to speak with Christian communities and business conventions, says travelling with his wife helps him resist temptation and revamps their relationship because they have more time bonding. Edwin Mendoza, host of ANC’s On the Money, also speaks in various conferences and brings his wife and five kids as much as possible. It helps him introduce his work to his kids and train them to be more comfortable speaking in front of crowds.
Finally, smile and be patient. As in everything in life, no matter how well-planned, business trips can be messy. Storms might affect flight schedules, the traffic in one area might be unbearable, you might get stuck with inconsiderately noisy flight seatmates, and meetings might get postponed. Crap happens, but that doesn’t mean you’ll feel crappy every time they happen. If you can’t control it, don’t be upset about it. If there’s something that stresses you out, instead of yelling at somebody, breathe and smile. It will make all the difference in the world.