Corporate travel is a large part of the job for millions of workers. But when you’re on the road a lot, it can put you behind on the other things you need to do.
While your schedule is thrown off, your productivity doesn’t have to be. If you plan your trip strategically, you can use your time between destinations to knock tasks off your list.
Smart planning can also help you segue from your travels straight into meetings or jump in bed faster to catch a few extra minutes of sleep before a big day. Use these tips to help you prepare ahead to streamline your next corporate trip for efficiency.
1. Pay Attention to Your Clothing
When you’re traveling, you want to dress comfortably but professionally. Plan your outfit so that you look like a business traveler, and you’ll be more likely to treat travel time like office hours.
If you’re heading to a meeting shortly after your arrival, wear wrinkle-resistant clothing you don’t have to change.
Professional wardrobes and shoes can be restrictive for some people. If you’d rather wear sneakers and pack your heels or Oxfords in your carry-on, that’s fine. Just keep them easily accessible so you can slip them on quickly in case you run late.
But dress well even if you have some downtime between arrival and meetings. You’re checking in at a business hotel. You may receive upgrades if you’re dressed for success. And it’s quite possible that you’ll run into people in your network you want to make a good impression on during the check-in process.
2. Take Care of the Details Before You Leave
Your job should have provided you with a detailed itinerary when they sent you on your travels, as discussed in this article by Hotel Engine. Yet, those checklists don’t always include personal planning and minor (but important) details.
Read through everything you were given, and break the instructions into “Things to Do Now” and “Things That Can Wait Until I Get There.” While certain details of your itinerary can wait, if you take care of them before you leave, the rest of the trip will run smoother.
For instance, solo travelers are often fine with any seat on the plane because it saves them money. If you don’t choose your seat, you risk getting “bumped” if the flight is overloaded.
Be sure to select seats early if you’re picky about your location, too. Some people prefer not to be over the wing or in the back of the plane, while others would rather have an aisle or a window.
Other details to cross off your list before you go include
- Checking that your carry-on doesn’t have any “no-fly” items and meets the airline’s specific size limitations,
- Making a copy of your travel documents and credit cards and storing them somewhere safe in case of theft or loss on the road,
- Reviewing your hotel accommodations to see what amenities and services are offered,
- Looking on the hotel’s social media feeds for any deals or promotions you can take advantage of,
- Using your map features to scout out restaurants, grocery stores, attractions, and other things you’ll need while you’re on your trip.
Taking care of the little things gives you more freedom to focus on the big ones, like handling your emails and messages during those in-between minutes.
3. Pack Smart
No matter how you’re traveling, make it your goal to pack lightly, fitting everything into one carry-on bag if possible. The time you’ll save is much more than you get skipping the wait for your checked baggage.
You won’t need to dig through your suitcases to find what you’re looking for. You’ll save time unpacking and repacking. You’ll have limited outfits, saving you time debating what to wear.
Use a vacuum-sealed bag to fit more clothes in a small space. Pack versatile items you can wear in multiple ways with the same pair of shoes.
Limit your toiletries to things you need that your hotel doesn’t supply, like your deodorant, make-up and hair accessories, and toothbrush. At the front desk, you can ask for extra shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, and toothpaste (free). If you forget anything, there’s likely a store nearby where you can buy it.
Taking the subway or other public transportation is much simpler without all that extra, unnecessary baggage. Since you didn’t pack heavy, you get to enjoy the benefits of checking in and relaxing. But if you must bring your carry-on with you to your first meeting, you’ll still look professional.
4. Stay Connected
Staying connected while traveling for work can be a challenge, especially for those who are constantly on-the-go and need to be accessible to colleagues, clients, and family members. With smart planning, however, it’s possible to make the most of corporate travel time and stay connected, even when you’re far from home.
One of the keys to staying connected while on a business trip is to invest in the right technology. A reliable laptop, smartphone, and portable charger are essential, and many business travelers also find that a tablet or 2-in-1 device is a useful tool for staying connected while on the go. Additionally, you may want to consider investing in a hotspot device, which allows you to connect multiple devices to the internet simultaneously and stay connected even when Wi-Fi is not available.
Another key factor in staying connected during corporate travel is to prioritize communication. Make sure that your colleagues, clients, and family members know your travel schedule and the best way to reach you while you’re away. Additionally, you may want to consider scheduling regular check-ins, such as daily email updates or video calls, to stay connected and ensure that you’re up-to-date on any important developments while you’re away.
Finally, it’s important to have a solid plan in place for staying connected in case of an emergency. Make sure that you have important contacts saved in your phone or in a secure location, and have a plan in place for accessing your email or other important information if your devices are lost or damaged while traveling.
Smart planning is the key to success, no matter what you’re doing. When you’re heading out for corporate travel, the details you tackle early will make it easier to be productive (or relax) the rest of the time.