Travel magazine

6 tips to make business travel productive

If this is your first business trip since Covid, we’ve got you covered!

Unlike vacations, business trips can be harrowing. Long days of meetings followed by nights in unfamiliar hotel rooms can wear down even the most intrepid traveler. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little planning, you can do wonders for your business trips.

Here are six tips to make your next business trip more productive and efficient:

1. Make a list of trip goals

Business trips can be a great opportunity to get out of the office and see the world, but it can also be a huge waste of time if you’re not careful. Before you book your ticket, ask yourself exactly what you want to get out of the trip. Do you need to meet potential clients? Visit suppliers? Attend a conference ?

Once you know your goals, you can start planning how to make the most of your time. If you’re meeting different clients in person, try to schedule back-to-back meetings so you don’t waste time moving between appointments. If you’re attending a conference, be sure to network with other attendees and collect business cards so you can follow them after the event. By being clear about your goals before you even board the plane, you can set yourself up for a productive and successful business trip.

2. Plan ahead

Another way to make your business trip less stressful is to plan everything in advance. Start by listing what you need to bring (e.g. flight schedules, hygiene products, work clothes, business cards, phone/laptop chargers and office supplies) and what you need to book at advance (for example, insurance, flights, accommodation, transportation and any other event which you need to attend).

Don’t forget to prepare for emergencies, such as bringing medicine for colds and motion sickness and bringing enough cash (in the currency of your country and travel destination) in case you need take a cab. That said, do your best to bring as few items as possible to keep the trip easy and light.

Also, as some countries or cities still have travel restrictions due to Covid, check ahead for requirements (e.g. mask mandates) and if you need a PCR test, quarantine or a vaccination record, to enter your destination.

Having planned most of the trip, you won’t have to worry about constantly changing your schedule or finding last-minute accommodation, saving money and freeing up time to shop around. More importantly, you can focus on your work and get the most out of your trip.

3. Organize your trip with technology

Using the right tech tools can make your hectic business trip a whole lot easier for you to stay on top of things. Use meeting management solutions, like ClickUp, Beetnote, and Calendly, to track your meetings and have all the documents (e.g. plane tickets, visa, and passport) you need at your fingertips online and offline . You can work while you’re on the go or even during transit time in a truly agile way.

Also, as you will be working during the trip, make sure you can access the internet to keep up to date in case an event is pushed back or your flight has been delayed. If your phone’s network provider does not support international roaming, you can buy a prepaid SIM card to stay connected even if there is no cafe with free Wi-Fi nearby.

4. Make the most of downtime

Business travel can be both productive and enjoyable if you know how to balance your time. If you have planned your trip, you can probably take time to explore the city. Depending on how much time you have, you can visit museums or tourist attractions or even take a short trip to a nearby town!

By taking some time to relax and recharge, you’ll come back from your trip rested and more productive. Who knows, maybe you’ll even discover your new favorite travel destination!

5. Stay connected with your colleagues from home

Business trips can be hectic, but remember to keep in touch with your colleagues from home via email or video chat. This can help you stay informed about what’s going on back home, and you can also update your team on how your trip is going. Here are some tips to help you communicate with your office when you’re on the road:

  • Schedule regular check-ins with your colleagues. Whether it’s a daily stand-up meeting or a weekly conference call, make sure you stay in the know.
  • Use cloud-based apps and services. This way you can access files and documents from anywhere and collaborate with colleagues in real time.
  • Invest in a good portable Wi-Fi hotspot. This will ensure that you always have a reliable connection, even if you are in a remote location.

As you may be in a different time zone than your co-workers from home, be sure to take the time difference into account when scheduling meetings with them. If more work arises during the trip, contact your team to see if you can delegate some tasks to someone else. While work is important, remember to set limits and hours of work so you don’t burn yourself out completely!

6. Keep a positive attitude

Remember that every trip is an opportunity to advance your career and grow professionally. If you meet people in person during the trip, it could be a good opportunity to expand your professional network. For example, research in advance people who will be attending a conference or exhibition that you would like to meet, and you can show up in person when you see them. Approach every situation with a positive attitude and an open mind, and you’re sure to come back from your trip feeling a sense of accomplishment.

With the lifting of Covid travel bans in more and more cities and countries, business travel is sure to make a big comeback. If you’re a little overwhelmed and lost on your very first business trip since the pandemic began, follow our tips to turn even the most tedious trip into an opportunity to learn, network, and grow!

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Header image courtesy of Freepik

Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes