As a travelling businessperson, you have to be extremely efficient. With all the demands on your time, it’s crucial that you accomplish everything on your to-do list. Additionally, as your business grows, you are faced with more and more challenges. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to keep yourself productive while travelling.
Chapter 1: Set Goals & Make a To-Do List
Set Yourself Up For Success - How to Reach Your Business Trip Goals
A big mistake business travellers make is not preparing their mobile devices and applications before they leave. Before you step onto the plane, you should have all of your apps installed and tested on your mobile devices.
Set a clear and realistic goal
This one seems simple, but it’s often something that can get overlooked or forgotten.
Every business trip you take, you should be thinking, “what is my objective for this trip.” Let’s use an obvious example. You may be taking a business trip to meet a prospective client; therefore, your goal would be to sign that client up.
Again, this goal is fundamental and seems obvious. But analyse it, and reverse engineer it. Think, “what steps do I need to take to sign this client up?” and “how do I break this goal up to achieve it?”.
For example, you may know that your prospective client likes Italian food; your goal is to find the best local Italian restaurant and take them there. You may know that they value teamwork and loyalty; your goal is to schedule to meet their team.
Have a list of tasks and goals that you would like to accomplish to streamline your trip.
Get your meetings organised
Make sure you plan important meetings before going on your trip. If possible, schedule these at least two weeks in advance to limit the possibility of cancellations.
Having your meetings organised gives you the mental freedom to concentrate on maximising the efficiency of your trip. The last thing you want to be doing is stressing about organising last-minute meetings.
Don’t overbook yourself
This one is crucial, don’t book too many meetings. There’s nothing worse than cancelling a meeting, potentially eroding or destroying a business relationship.
If you overbook, you limit your opportunities to schedule impromptu meetings. Some of these can be the best meetings you have on your trip.
So, schedule your important meetings in advance, don’t overbook and ensure you leave some time to have impromptu meetings.
Chapter 2: Setup Your Work Apps
Setting up your apps before your next business trip
The big mistake business travellers make is not preparing their mobile devices and applications before they leave. Before you step onto the plane, you should have all of your apps installed and tested on your mobile devices.
Backup your information
Before leaving for your business trip, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve backed up all of the critical information on your devices. This means your mobile phone, tablet, laptop and anything in between.
If you’re company issues cloud storage such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, this is an easy way to back up your data. The last thing you want is to be in a different city without crucial information left on your devices at home!
We’ve found an easy way to keep all your critical documents in one place. That is to set up a folder on your cloud storage of choice and keep all of your important documents in that folder.
Install your favourite apps
You don’t want to be installing apps here, there and everywhere when you’re travelling. Especially if you’re overseas, you want to cut down on as much downloading as possible to avoid hefty phone bills!
An easy way to combat this is to sit down before you travel and think about the apps you’ll use on your trip. If you’re travelling and need to work on the go, maybe you’ll need an app that shows you the best coffee shops in the area. If you’re travelling overseas, you’ll want to have a translation app handy to avoid uncomfortable situations.
And don’t forget to download all your favourite shows if you plan on taking it easy on the flight to your destination!
Disable automatic updates
One of the easiest ways to explode your phone bill is to have automatic updates turned on your phone. Make sure only to have automatic updates turned on when you’re connected to Wi-Fi.
You can disable automatic updates on your android phone through the Google Play Store app and your iPhone through the App Store. You’ll also want to ensure that automatic software updates are turned off, which can be found under the settings menu on both phones.
One major device that gets overlooked is your laptop or MacBook. If you’re using a mobile hotspot off your phone, you’ll want to be conscious of how much data you’re using. Furthermore, you’ll again want to turn automatic updates off on your laptop or MacBook.
Make sure you have a good SIM card and data plan
If you’re travelling overseas, it’s essential that you have an excellent travel SIM card for your journey.
When travelling, you’ll want to touch base with your colleagues back home, jump on the internet when you don’t have Wi-Fi and use Google Maps to navigate your way around. All of these require data.
To avoid paying those expensive roaming charges your local carrier will charge you, you’ll want to get a SIM card from a local mobile carrier in the foreign country you’re visiting.
We highly recommend purchasing a prepaid SIM card in the country you’re visiting as it is the least expensive option. Organise this with your business before leaving for your trip to expense it accordingly.
Set your content to be accessible offline
Like installing all of your favourite shows before leaving for your trip (I mean work apps *cough* *cough*), you’ll want to download your critical documents and files to your devices.
To avoid the embarrassing situation of fumbling around looking for your files only to find that you don’t have any Wi-Fi or mobile connection. Go to your cloud storage and make the files accessible offline.
By doing this, you’ll keep your files ready to go when you need them.
Chapter 3: Have An Efficient Workspace
An Efficient Workspace Setup For Executive Travellers
If you're a traveller, you know that the amount of work you can get done each day is directly proportional to the amount of comfort your space offers. You may not have a desk space — and that means there’s a good chance you’ll be working on the road, in coffee shops and in hotel rooms. That doesn’t mean that you can’t make your hotel room work-friendly.
Find the right hotel room
The easiest way to avoid working on the road and in coffee shops is to find a hotel room with enough desk space to work from. Look for recent hotel reviews by business travellers like yourself; this will give you a good idea of how easy it is to work from the room.
Another thing to consider is finding a hotel in a good location. This one is important, the last thing you want to do after travelling is having to do more travel because your hotel is in an inconvenient spot. You’ll also pay more for transport costs such as taxis and bus fares, so it’s a lose-lose situation if you’re in a bad location.
Make sure the hotel has good Wi-Fi
Once you’ve picked a hotel room with a good desk setup and a good location, make sure it has good Wi-Fi. Again, read the reviews to see what other business professionals say about the Wi-Fi in the room to make the best decision.
While a mobile hotspot will get you through the inconvenient times, you’ll want to make sure that you have a good home base in your hotel room to get your most important work done.
Bring a power strip and extension cord
If you’re like me, you’ll bring all of your devices on your trip; laptops, tablets, phones, wireless earphones etc. Bringing all of your devices sounds great in theory, but when you go to charge them, you’ll realise that there are a limited amount of powerpoints in your hotel room.
There’s nothing worse than needing your tablet or other devices to find out it’s run out of battery. That’s why it’s essential to bring along a trusty power strip to plug all of your devices into. Packing in a power strip will save you the stress of having dead electronic equipment on your trip.
Another important tip is to bring an extension cord. I can’t tell you how many times an extension cord has come in hand. Some hotel desks will have power points located some distance away. Always pack in an extension cord.
You’ll want your tech travel gadgets
With your power strip and extension cord packed and ready to go, you’ll want to bring along the gadgets they’ll charge.
These two devices are obvious; a must for your travels is your laptop and phone. These will be your daily workhorses that will power your work while travelling, so don’t forget these.
Next up is your tablet; you’ll want to be using this when out and about to bring up information quickly for yourself, colleagues and clients. Tablets are underrated pieces of tech and are an absolute necessity when travelling.
Finally, you’ll want to bring along your wireless earphones to take calls and to tune out when on your flight or travelling around the city.
Keep yourself organised with a charging station
An excellent alternative to carrying a power strip is to invest in a charging station. These devices will be able to charge multiple of your gadgets simultaneously. For example, your phone, smartwatch and wireless earphones can be charged simultaneously with a charging station.
Depending on the number of gadgets you bring, you may still need to take a power strip, as most charging stations will be unable to charge your tablet and laptop.
Chapter 4: Get A Good Night’s Rest
How much sleep do travelling businesses actually get?
We’re all busy, but for business travellers, sleep is an essential part of their jobs. If you’re a business traveller and you find it hard to get good sleep when you’re on the go, then this article has tips for you.
Sleep strategically on planes and trains
Planes are the perfect place to get some sleep. However, the amount of sleep you get should depend on the length of your flight. If you’re taking a long flight, consider getting a full night's sleep and if you’re taking a shorter flight, consider only taking a nap for no longer than 30 minutes. If you sleep longer than 30 minutes, you may fall into a deeper sleep, resulting in you feeling more tired when you wake up.
Bring a C-shaped pillow for your neck, so your head doesn’t bob from side to side or get too stiff. Also, make sure that you keep hydrated; the dry recycled air inside a plane will make you more prone to dehydration.
Trains are generally shorter journeys, so include a quick nap if you’re feeling tired for an extra performance boost.
Add sleep into your schedule
Planning sleep is a must for your trip. Travelling can be highly stressful and tiring, so it’s essential to maximise the amount of sleep you get.
The most obvious way to sleep is overnight. Make sure that you plan to get to bed at a particular time and wake up at a specific time. This schedule will help prevent you from staying out too late and affecting the next day’s performance. You’ll also be able to plan the exact amount of sleep you need (most of us need at least 7 - 8 hours of sleep).
Now travelling is busy and staying up late might be unavoidable. It’s vital to pick out times when you’re travelling and times when you’ve got gaps in your schedule. Utilise these times to get a quick nap to boost your alertness and relieve stress.
Time your food and drink
Food and drink will affect the quality of your sleep. To optimise your sleep, you’ll want to steer clear from eating at least three hours before going to bed. This will allow your body to digest the food you ate so that it won’t disrupt your sleep.
As tempting as caffeine is on a business trip, you should avoid it before going to bed as it will make it much harder to fall asleep. Also, try and stay away from alcoholic beverages; they will make it easier to fall asleep but will affect your sleep cycle later in the night.
Stick to drinking water before bed to best optimise your sleep. Pro-tip, try drinking warm water before bed as it increases blood circulation.
Use tech to improve sleep
Sleeping in unknown environments can be extremely difficult. Your body is on high alert, constantly scanning for new noises to alert you to wake up.
Luckily you can utilise the power of technology to help you sleep better and longer. You can use apps such as Headspace to play white noise or environmental sounds such as a rainforest.
You can also invest in an eye mask to block out any light in your environment.
For more information about optimising your business travels, you can book a free demo of our corporate travel management software.