The life of the modern day entrepreneur is hectic, action-packed and full of opportunity. This is the time for new and old businesses to flourish and thrive. And today’s average entrepreneur spends a good part of his/her life on the go. Airports are packed with jet-setting businessmen and women off to their next big meeting or returning home from an important business trip. Travel has become a key part of the job description. However, achieving a work-life balance, tackling work-related stress, attaining success while living out of a suitcase and navigating crowded airports can prove quite challenging for even the most seasoned multi-taskers. Here is some expert advice for a successful business trip:
1. Planning Your Trip
While any sharp entrepreneurial mind knows there is no such thing as a perfect plan and one needs to always have a contingency, the very same mind puts immense value in meticulous planning. Even workaholics need to eat and sleep in order to function and how you utilize your time is important. Always plan your trip keeping in mind your business needs as well as personal needs.
2. Booking Your Flight
Always book flights leaving enough time for unforeseen delays. It also helps if you keep a margin of time between when you land and when its time to get to your work meeting. This allows you to check-in to your hotel or prepare for the meeting or even just take a few personal moments to be rested and refreshed. Another handy tip is to know alternate flight schedules for your destination in case of cancellation or change in your plans.
3. Booking Your Hotel
When booking a hotel, comfort is important but the location is crucial. If your business trip requires overnight stay, make sure the hotel is near the destination of your meetings. If you plan on receiving clients etc. at your hotel, ensure that their conference rooms and business facilities meet your needs. Also worth exploring is the quality of other services offered by the hotel like concierge services, car rentals, in-room Wi-Fi etc.
4. Booking Local Transport
Always book your local transport prior to your trip from a reliable car rental company that caters to businesses instead of tourists. Or if you prefer to use a cab service try and book the cab for the number of hours you require rather than a one-time pick up or drop. App-based cab operators also allow you to schedule your pick-up and drop-off in advance which will avoid availability issues at the last minute.
5. Making Your Itinerary
Your itinerary is key to a successful trip as it eliminates the stress of last minute planning. Prioritise important meetings for the fast half of your trip if possible as this lets you come to the table fresh and sharp. Try and maintain some flexibility in your itinerary in-case of unforeseen changes. If you plan to entertain your clients/colleagues in the evenings, make reservations in advance and make sure it is part of your detailed itinerary. If you have a local liaison, send them a copy of your itinerary along with important contact details in case of an emergency.
6. Researching Your Destination
Most people only research a destination when they go on holiday. But it is just as important for a business trip. While sight-seeing may not be a priority, you do require other information regarding the place you’re visiting. A few things to research are the general layout of the city/town, the weather during your trip, the local business culture and the lifestyle and traditional customs of the people. Read the local news and be informed regarding any events or protests that could cause delays or problems during your trip.
7. Packing Your Bags
A carry-on bag is ideal for a business traveller as it avoids having to queue in long lines for checked-in bags. Pack light but pack the essentials. Business attire, casual attire, and formal attire are a must. If you have clothing that can transition easily that would be ideal. Also the weather is a major consideration when packing for any trip. One could also opt for smart luggage available these days with USB charging ports, tray tables for laptops, remote locks, specific compartments for stowing all your gadgets and have a lot of other exciting features.
8. Making the Most of Your Time
As a business traveller you tend to spend a lot of time at the airport or on the flight. You can use that time optimally to finish pending work, take a quick nap or for recreation. You could rest your mind for a while and read a book, watch a movie, play games or catch up on social media. It is also a great opportunity to network and meet other like-minded entrepreneurs who are travelling and exchange ideas or promote your business.
9. Using Technology Optimally
Today’s entrepreneur is a tech-savvy creature and has mastered the art of juggling multiple gadgets. And several apps exist for the specific needs of a business traveller. Make use of these apps and make your life easier. You can get everything from flight alerts to live traffic updates, making travel a stress-free experience. And of course, make sure you have all your necessary chargers and adapters for your many devices.
10. Mixing Business With Pleasure
If possible try and do one thing on your trip purely for fun. You could visit a museum, try local cuisine, go shopping for local merchandise, catch up with old friends or almost anything that interests you. A little downtime is a key to productivity and you will have something to look forward to at the end of a stressful trip.
These clever tips and smart tricks are what every entrepreneur needs to travel like a pro!
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors