If you have ever traveled for business, you know that there is a lot of work. Fun? Not so much. You are often ‘on’ for many hours in the day in meetings and meals with customers and colleagues. The travel itself, especially by air, can be exhausting. Plus, you do not have the comforting presence of homes and loved ones when you finally stopped at the end of the day.
Still, it’s a great way to expand your business and take advantage of opportunities that you otherwise would not have if you just stayed home.
So how can you make traveling for business work for you as much as you do for it? Here are some techniques that I have used over the years, which make the process easier:
1. Pack smart. It really does pay to keep it light. Leave bunny slippers and sequins etc “I Love Paris’ sweatshirt at home. Pack as little as possible, plan ahead what you will wear and just take it. Minimize bulky items, including extra shoes. Pack it all in bag small enough to be carry-on. It is not only save you time, money and blood pressure-raising conversations with airline staff if it is lost, because you are not checking bags. There is also less for you to keep track of. To free up mental space comes in handy especially when you’re tired or busy with the upcoming meeting. One last note on the packaging: roll your clothes instead of folding them. It cuts really down on wrinkles, which means less work destination. If you can not find ironing relaxing, but then wrung clothes into tight balls works very well.
2. You can take it with you. Have something familiar and meaningful with you can be very grounding. It provides instant visual that takes you to your happy place. Besides the usual images of the embarrassing moment last reunions or dog looking cute and guilty with gnawed chair foot in your mouth, you can also carry a (small) piece of uniqueness with you to help ground you. I have worked a little art with me, I put them in a hotel my desk or night table. For a moment, I carried the red metal moose with me (he is the guy in the picture) when I was away a lot. He reminded me of home.
3. Shhhhhhhh. Carry a noise-canceling headphones on the flight. While it is soothing to know that the engines of the aircraft are still working, listening to the constant roar of the times can be surprisingly tiring. Reducing the noise, as well as giving you the control to choose what you listen to through your smartphone or tablet, cuts down on ongoing stress.
4. Track your numbers. Email you pictures of all important data that might be stolen or left behind. You can access them from anywhere in the world that allows you to open your email and speeds up the switching process.
5. Feed your body and soul. Eat well. Move. Listen to uplifting material. That pretty much sums up my nutrition programs on the road. Eating healthy food and not excessively can be a challenge, especially when meals are pre-selected for you, such as a meeting or product your client is Chili cheese dogs with all the trimmings (eating everything!). Plan ahead for this by asking about healthy lifestyles. (Organic Chili anyone?) Next, move! Get a flight and walk up and down the aisle several times. You get a few concerned looks if you do this quickly or linger near the cockpit door, but it is refreshing and keeps your energy level up. Get up early to walk or swim or exercise is also very worthwhile. Finally, listen to music or a sermon or a book that feeds you will support Entrepreneur energy.
6. Be your own VIP! All little ways you can treat yourself very well on a business trip will help you not only feel better, but will build the confidence you need to perform well. How would you handle visiting VIP? Apply this to yourself. It need not be just a more prominent business class seats (loyalty points will get you those, too) or airport lounge (available through some credit if not through frequent flyer miles devices). VIP treatment also means making thoughtful choices, tailored to you. It may mean that you choose no matter what and where you eat. You take a little down time to watch Road Runner cartoons. You indulge in large magazine or book that you do not usually make time for. Look for small ways to rejoice with thoughtful attention.
Business travel does not have to be so hard to win. By supporting you in these ways when you travel for business, you make the best use of your opportunities, money and energy.
And hey, you might even have a great time