Tuesday 23 April 2024

Surviving Your Next Business Trip

If you, like me, travel a lot on business, then you are familiar with the jet lag, the lost luggage, the bad hotel rooms, the endless meetings, and the general feeling of utter exhaustion about two days in. This is especially true if you travel a lot for conferences, which can sometimes be held at the wildest destinations imaginable. However, there are certain things you can do to save yourself the hassle, and make your next business trip a lot more enjoyable. Here are a few pieces of advice, learned after 20 years in the industry.

All about the packing

I hate packing, don’t you? I could never master it, I loathe doing it, and so I mostly end up with a bunch of random items in a random suitcase. What I have learned is that this is the completely wrong approach. First off, you need to try and pack everything in a carryon. This will save you at least an hour when you land. You will also have less stuff with you, which is also a plus, as you will be limited with your choice of wardrobe, and won’t have to contemplate what to wear. This is of course applicable to shorter trips. Also make sure you check with the airline how much you can take on the plane, and check the list of items you can’t take onboard.

Facing the jet lag

There is no real cure for jet lag. You either have to live with it, fly in early, sleep on the plane, which will still leave you drained if you ask me, or try to relax as much as possible. I have tried changing my circadian rhythm for travel, but it won’t really work. You just have to face the fact that you will most likely suffer from jet lag, and act accordingly. Don’t head to the meeting from the plane, give yourself some time to acclimatize, and finally, you can always let everyone at the meeting know you have just flow in, they will understand how you feel.

Taking time off

How many times have you been to a wonderful city, or better yet, a wonderful island, but had no time to see any of it? If you can, this is the first thing you need to change. Even if you are tired, walk around a bit, it will do you good in more ways than one. You will feel less like on a business trip, and more like on vacation, you will take away some great memories, and you will have the chance to reset your mind.

I also started booking myself short stays at some of the more exotic destinations my job takes me to. For instance, we had this conference in the Canaries, which I used as an excuse to spend a few days in Fuerteventura after it was over. This can also be more affordable than you’d think. As the company is already funding part of your stay and your flight, you will at most have to pay for your return ticket, and the extra days you plan on staying.

Working out in your hotel room

This I’ve learned only as I got older, I have to admit. Lounging around in office chairs all day, sitting on the plane, all of that will take its toll. You need to do some exercises in your hotel room at least. If there is a pool at the hotel, go swimming in the morning or evening. If there is a gym, go and do at least some basic exercises. You will feel much better once you get your blood pumping, trust me, and it will make you perform better in meetings as well.

Choose to eat healthy

You should also be most careful about what you eat. Indulging in something unique is fine, as long as you know it will not upset your stomach. Don’t overdo it with the coffee, nor the sugar. While it can give you that instant boost you need, it will only hurt you in the long run.

Finally, don’t forget why you are going on the trip in the first place. Whether it is to meet with partners, to give a talk, or to close a deal, you need to be on your A game. Don’t let the distance drain you, and try to listen to your body – if you need to sleep, sleep, don’t drive yourself too hard, and try to make it as easy on yourself as you can.