I’m a big fan of unplugging when on vacation, but when it’s business travel, it’s important to stay switched on and be productive.
Business travel may be different from your usual routine, especially when not sleeping in the same bed and working at the same desk or location.
It can be a challenging one to get into the same hard-working mindset, but with these tips, you’ll find yourself more productive and producing great work. After all, travelling for business is enjoyable and fulfilling.
1. Plan Everything, Yes Everything…
There’s nothing worse than forgetting something behind when jetting off, let alone on a business trip! Before you leave, put a list together of everything you need to bring. Whether you do this using the notes section on your phone, a piece of paper, or go full out with a plan on Trello.
Whenever I go travelling, I like to keep my mind at rest and be stress-free. I’ve found that utilizing Trello to plan a list of what I need to take, planning an itinerary and jotting down booking IDs very efficient. Everything is then all in one place and can be accessed via desktop and mobile.
Since travelling doesn’t always go to plan, you should consider splitting your belongings between carry on and stowed luggage just in case of lost or mis-directed stowed baggage.
2. Communication is Key
Before you even leave the office for the trip, you should inform your co-workers when you’ll be available on email and phone. It’s worth noting to them how you will want to be contacted if there’s an emergency. Whether that’s via a text, email marked ‘Urgent’ or via a phone call.
Once you’ve got things in place, it’s vital to remember to set an out-of-office message to let internal and external communication know you are unavailable. You should set a message letting them know to contact a fellow co-worker.
The above will help you keep up with your workload and staying focused, especially when your daily routine has changed.
3. Do Your Research
Before arriving at your destination, it’s important to check where you will be staying and what’s about. You should find out where the nearest shops are, transport links, where the conference or premises you’re visiting is within walking distance or if you will require a taxi.
It’s very important to check about any visa requirements, arrival airport taxes that are payable and which currencies are accepted.
All this information will come in handy and save you time allowing you to be more productive and reduce stress. But don’t just rely on that. It’s worth downloading travel apps such as Uber, Foursquare and TripAdvisor will help you book transportation and find local places to shop, eat, drink and visit close by.For currency exchange, I’d recommend the Currency Converter Plus app.
4. Going Digital
Before departing, you should load up your smart tech with the appropriate apps to help you focus and complete work whether you are waiting to board or during the travel. There’s plenty of apps available to help you with jotting down notes, brainstorming and keeping organized with work.
The apps I tend to use are Google Docs, Evernote, Fast Scanner and Mindly. You should also download the airline’s travel app so you have both a digital and hard copy of boarding passes.
Not all airlines will have WiFi access, and some offer it a premium cost and even then, it might not be the greatest connection, so bare that in mind when using the apps. Ensure they can be used offline. Downloading music, films and other entertainment should also be done prior to departing for use offline when overseas.
To keep your focus levels high, you should take short breaks once and a while. Load up Audible or stick on a podcast, you’ll find it sometimes helps with inspiration too.
5. To-Do Lists
I’m a fan of writing to-do lists, I find them very helpful and ticking them off is such a great feeling. When you set off for a business trip, don’t let that stop you from writing your to-do lists. Write up a list of tasks you will complete whilst in transit, you’ll find yourself working on them rather than putting it off saying you’ll do them when at the hotel – which might not actually happen.
Time to Unwind
Whilst it’s important to be productive, you need to remember to take time to unwind at the end of the day. It’s important to recharge and the best ways to do that could be going for dinner, reading a book, a phone call with someone close, meditation or if you have time, exploring the local attractions. Finding time to unwind and focus on other things after a busy day will help you be more alert and productive the next day.
Gareth O’Sullivan is the founder of Orbis Explorer, a cheap flight and hotel search engine that queries hundreds of airlines and travel sites to find the cheapest prices. When he’s not working, he’s usually found jetting around the world sharing and writing about his travel experiences.