Traveling for work can be fun and entertaining, but after a while, it can quickly turn into a dreadful chore. Being stuck in airports, dealing with constant jet lags, and having to live out of your suitcase is certainly not the most luxurious way of carrying yourself.
But business travel does not have to be frustration after frustration. If you learn how to take advantage of all the opportunities in front of you, traveling for work will be a much pleasant experience. After all, the savviest of business people are avid travelers, and they sure know how to have a good time in each and every city they visit.
Now, most of these people have learned their lessons the hard way, but you don’t have to. This is why we have put together this guide to help you make the most out of each and every business trip you need to take.
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Pack Your Bags Right
The first thing you need to do, in order to travel smart, is to master the art of packing. While for some longer business trips you will need to take a large suitcase, in general, you should always try to travel light. This way, you avoid having to wait in line for luggage claims and waste precious time. Try to fit all your belongings into your carry-on bags. Some airline companies allow for two carry-ons, which should be more than enough for a few days of traveling.
Pack your toiletries in a separate plastic bag, to avoid spillage. Also, I recommend packing dress shirts separately, in laundry bags, to prevent them from wrinkling. Don’t forget to pack some casual clothes as well, in case you get some time to visit around.
Try Sticking to a Routine
When you are traveling so much, forgetting about your daily routine can be very easy. You will be eating on the go, running from one meeting to another, and staying up late to prepare presentations. This is why, after a 2-day business trip, you end up feeling more tired than after a full week of work.
Try to stick to your normal routine for as much as possible, in order to avoid jet lag and feeling exhausted. Wake up at the same hour as you normally would, have a gold breakfast, go for a run, or hit the hotel gym, then carry on with your day. I know it may be hard at first, but if you keep doing it one step at a time, you will end up developing a healthy travel routine in just a few tries.
Don’t Just Stay Inside the Hotel
When you are jumping from one business meeting to another, it is easy to forget that, even though you are there for business purposes, you can still have some fun. Ever heard of bleisure? Well, bleisure means combining business and leisure activities, to make the most out of your trip.
Since you will be visiting a new city or even an entirely new country, it would be a shame not to allow yourself some time to visit the surroundings. Adding half a day, or even an entire day to your business trip, just to walk around and visit local sites will make your experience that much better. If time does not allow it, then just try to get out of your hotel room and walk around the block for some time. Anything is better than just going from the hotel room to work and back every day.
We live in the digital era, meaning technology can now aid you in almost every single task. Use apps, websites, and platforms that can help make your business trip as easy as possible. Booking flights, accommodation, taxis, or even renting cars can now be done from your phone, while you sit and wait at the airport. These are often updated in real-time, allowing you to book last-minute, or take advantage of deals. For example, you could take advantage of empty leg flights from providers like Jettly the moment they become available via alerts. This way, you save plenty of time, cut costs, and make your life that much easier.
If you are staying for a long time, you can even find monthly parking by just using an online service. This is extremely important, especially in places such as Philadelphia, where almost all parking spots are rented. Just look for monthly parking in Philadelphia online, rent a spot close to work, or close to your accommodation, and forget about having to hunt for a parking spot ever again. Residents of other major cities have access to this service as well.
Study the Country’s Culture
Especially if you are visiting a new country, make a point to read at least a few general things about their culture and customs. This will make you feel less like a foreigner, plus you will make a much better impression.
Apart from culture and customs, read a bit about what experiences the city you are going to stay in has to offer. This way, you can take advantage of your spare time and visit someplace. Not all cities have a Louvre or Big Ben, but they certainly do have something interesting that you can discover.
Socialize for as Much as You Can
Going to dinner at the hotel restaurant every time is not exactly the best way to spend your time. Try to befriend your colleagues or business partners that have their own jet to travel or have a network that rents our jet for traveling purposes, if not for making dinner plans, at least to get some recommendations on what you can do in your spare time.
Of course, you will want to do this in the right way, so try to read the room and respect people’s boundaries. You don’t have to ask them directly if they want to have dinner with you, but something on the lines of “Do you know of anything fun happening this evening?” will be more than enough.
Don’t Neglect Your Life Back Home
Last, but not least, try not to neglect your friends and family back home while you are away. Make time to call your spouse, children, or loved ones at least once every few days, especially if you are going to be gone for a long period of time. This way, you will let them know just how much they matter to you, no matter how hectic life can get.