Business trips don't have to be work, work, work! Find how to make the most of those boring business trips with these top tips.
1. Stay the weekend
If your work takes you on an overseas business trip, then make the most of it and actually spend some time exploring your destination. Too many business travelers just fly in-and-out of the places they’re visiting, without ever seeing any of the local sights. Executives that actually spend time getting a feel of the place they’re visiting have far more productive meetings: they can show some local knowledge and demonstrate a better understanding of the people they’re meeting with. Not only that, but you might even save company money by staying over the weekend. It’s a little known fact, but many airlines deliberately price flights cheaper for passengers who stay on a Saturday night (airlines’ pricing logic assumes that tourists prefer to stay for weekends but are spending their own money, whereas business travelers care less about price, but want to go back home for the weekend). If this is the case for your next trip, then staying on a little longer is a no brainer.
2. Complete key tasks before your trip
There’s nothing worse than being away from the office with essential tasks still hanging over you. So always try and blitz your to-do-list before embarking on your next business trip. Not only will you feel less guilty whilst away from the office, but you’ll also have less to catch-up with upon your return.
3. Pack your swimming goggles and sneakers
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Bring your exercise kit with you on your next business trip: Whether it’s an early morning run through an unknown city, or going for an after work swim in the hotel pool, exercise is the perfect way to unwind. It’s also much easier to find the time to exercise whilst away from your normal daily routine. Executives in a foreign city often find they have plenty of spare time to kill, so use it healthily.
4. Avoid one day travel marathons
It’s often tempting to squeeze a business trip in to one day: After all, surely travelling to and from a two-hour meeting is totally achievable in one day? However, once you’ve factored in the early morning wake-up, travelling to the airport, allowing enough time to clear security, the flights themselves (not to mention the inevitable flight delays), and then repeating all this on the way back home, even a short European flight for a 'quick' meeting can easily take up to 16 hours of your day. All this makes for a very exhausting day of work. Far better to travel the night before and arrive with plenty of time to prepare properly for you meeting, and enjoy a good night’s sleep to boot. Not only will you find the trip less stressful, you’ll think clearer during your meeting, as you’ve not had to rely on five cups of coffee to get through the day.
5. Enjoy the downtime from work email and calls
Despite most airlines recently relaxing their rules on using electronic devices on flights, and advances in technology starting to equip the latest aircraft with on-board Wi-Fi, thankfully most flights remain free from mobile phone reception. Business travelers should learn to embrace the lack of signal to relax and unwind. Where else will executives have a legitimate excuse to disconnect from their email, voicemail and phone calls? Smart business travelers make the most of this time and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Travelling presents plenty of opportunities for reading and this can be the ideal way to recharge your batteries. It doesn’t matter whether you’re escaping in to the glamorous world of celebrity gossip with the latest copy of Heat magazine, or imagining life in 16th Century England through the latest Hilary Mantel novel. As long as it’s not work-related, just pick up something you find interesting and read!
7. Make the most of the airport spa
Finally, if you’re lucky enough to be travelling long-haul with an airline that offers complimentary spa treatments for its premium passengers, then make sure you take advantage of it. What better way to unwind from a stressful day in the office is there than a relaxing spa treatment? A pre-flight massage or facial should be just the ticket to make you feel more relaxed and ready for your next meeting.
Source: Dick Darlington, business travel expert
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