How well you enjoy your “forced” work trip is all about perspective. You’re getting away from the drudgery of daily work and visiting a different location!
We get it, though. Sometimes, the prep and after-work of the trip are worse than staying home in the first place.
But if you plan ahead, you can avoid some of the fallout from being gone for a few days, or at least enjoy yourself while you’re away. Follow these tips to improve your next business trip (and maybe get to have some fun, too).
1. Don’t Rush Your Schedule
Have you ever noticed that your day seems like it’s full of “hurry up and wait” moments?
You rush to leave the house on time, then sit in traffic for half an hour. You hurry to get to a lunch meeting, then wait to be seated.
Don’t let this happen to you on your business trip. You’re going to have to wait, so skip the “hurry” part.
Put Some Cushion in Your Plans
When you’re planning your flight or other transportation, try to avoid rush hour traffic or short layovers on connecting flights. It might mean leaving a little earlier or taking a later connection, but you won’t be so rushed.
The adrenaline stress of trying to get to your destination as quickly as possible takes at least an hour to go away. That’s an hour that your fight-or-flight response is keeping you from being calm and productive.
Make your trip less stressful by planning some cushion in your schedule. If you’re running late, it won’t be a cause to panic.
2. Contact Your Hotel Ahead
We’re all guilty of it. We’re packing for our trip, and we list out all the things we wonder if the hotel has so we don’t have to bring them. Then, we bring it all anyway because we just don’t know.
This is an unnecessary problem. Call the hotel and ask them if they have a hair dryer or flat iron or what kind of toiletries they provide. It could mean the difference between bringing a carry-on or checking a bag.
If you’re worried about the bed being comfortable, ask them what brand of pillows and mattresses they use.
While you have someone on the phone, find out what restaurants are nearby and if there are any big events going on during your stay. If the city is going to be extra crowded, you have the inside scoop.
You’ll know you need to make reservations and plan for long lines or to bring enough work to stay in the hotel and be productive!
3. Check the Weather Forecast
Many places have stereotypical weather. We think we can predict what the temperatures will be like based on where we’re going. But Mother Nature is fickle.
Don’t assume that New York in the middle of winter will be cold and snowy or that Florida in June will be hot and dry. Check the weather forecasts at least a week before you leave to make sure you pack correctly.
You might get the temperatures right but miss out on the upcoming blizzard (or hurricane) that could mess up your travel plans. Play it safe and let the meteorologist tell you what you’ll need to wear.
Knowing the weather forecast in advance helps you plan your activities, too. You might have thought you were going to hit the beach in your downtime, but that cold front coming means you’ll need a Plan B.
4. Get Prepared Before You Leave
When you know you’re not ready for the meeting, the dread sits in the back of your mind the whole trip. You’ll toss and turn in your sleep or stay up all night worrying about everything that could go wrong.
Solve this problem way ahead by not procrastinating. Don’t wait until the last minute to go over your itinerary and make a checklist of all the to-do tasks. Start crossing them off well in advance.
If you’re presenting at the meeting, get all your digital and paper information together early. You can tweak a few things if they change since you put it all together, but that’s easier than doing an entire project at the last minute.
Make a checklist for what you need to pack, too. Put your suitcase together gradually. By the time you have to leave for your trip, all you have to do is grab the last few odds and ends.
You won’t be rushing around trying to find your laptop charger. You’ll be at peace during your travels because you’re ready for the meeting. And the rest of your trip will continue with the same calm, forward momentum.
Whether it’s your first time heading out of town for work or you’re a travel pro, you want to make the best of your trip. With these tips, you’ll be balancing professionalism and relaxation like a boss in no time!