Business travel can be fun and exciting, but it soon loses it’s charm after the umpteenth economy flight and the stress of expense reports.
Luckily, you CAN make business travel fun again (or at least, not terrible). With a bit of extra planning, awareness, and maybe a bit of gumption, you can shape your business travels into something that works for you.
We’ve broken down these tips via different aspects of your trip, such as:
1. Choose a home away from home.
There can be more comfortable places to stay than hotels, which might also enable you to relax and feel at home more.
Opting for a different type of accommodation, such as a house on Air BnB or our short stay apartments in Liverpool, can make a big difference to your mind state. Not only will you generally have more space and privacy, you’ll also have all the amenities you get with a hotel room, like super fast free wifi, as well as extra facilities like a kitchen and place to do laundry.
2. Pack slippers
Such a simple thing it’s almost silly, but a pair of slippers on the road will at least convince your fee they’re home.
3. Bring your own toiletries.
Using the toiletries provided might save packing space, but it also adds a feeling of foreign-ness. You never know if you’ll like the scent of the shower gel, or that the shampoo provided won’t send your curls into frizz mode.
Pack travel-sized versions of your fave essentials so you can bring the real ‘you’ along. You could also bring along some of your favourite scents for comfort – in the form of a room mist, pillow spray or essential oils.
4. Prepare for sound sleep.
Staying in unfamiliar environments can seriously disrupt your quality of sleep. Earplugs or some source of white noise can be great aids for ensuring the city noise doesn’t drive you insane – or, if you’re out in the country, the deathly silence.
Earplugs will help to minimise noise distractions, whilst white noise, such as falling rain, will help to soothe and distract the mind. Try installing the Sound Sleeper app on the App Store or finding videos on YouTube.
5. Choose accommodation in the fun part of town.
If you’re lucky enough to be choosing your own accommodation (or get some say in it), think twice about where you want to be.
If your accommodation is close to restaurants, bars or attractions, you’ll be more likely to explore the city after work hours, and actually schedule in some fun. It might make sense in theory to book the cheapest hotel or somewhere close to meetings, but at the end of the day, it’s unlikely you’ll want to go trekking to find places of interest.
7. Don’t forget the entertainment.
Bring along any devices you know will provide you with entertainment on those quieter evenings. Having the kindle, iPad or laptop nearby means there’ll always be an endless stream of books, movies and TV shows to distract your mind and pass the time.
8. Book an extra couple of days before or after your trip.
If you have to go somewhere for business, may as well make the most of it, right?
If you can, consider booking an extra couple of days onto the beginning or end of your trip, so that you have some time to see the sights, maybe meet up with friends or hang out with your partner. It’ll probably involve you using your annual leave, but it’ll be worth it to explore a new and exciting destination.
9. Take some time to explore the city you’re in.
No matter how glamorous the city is, or isn’t, try to take at least a few hours to explore the place you’re in. This can be as simple as going for a walk, or trying a local restaurant.
Taking some time away from meetings and your laptop will do wonders for your brain and productivity. Not to mention make the trip all the more enjoyable.
10. Schedule in some downtime, and treat it like an appointment.
Treat your down-time like a business meeting, That way, it will be much harder to skip.
Treat yourself to a massage or a manicure. Book a fitness class at a nearby gym. Agree a time to face-time with your partner, or arrange coffee with a friend who lives in the area.
Whatever way you choose to relax, treat it like an important appointment, both in your own eyes and the eyes of your colleagues.
11. Change up your ‘office space’.
It could make sense to catch up on emails from the quiet of your hotel room, but this will probably get stale pretty fast.
Instead, change up your working environment so you don’t go entirely crazy. Try a nearby coffee shop, the hotel lobby, or (if you’re really lucky), the pool. Because if you can’t go swimming, you can at least annoy everyone on Facebook with a poolside pic, right?
12. Use time in transit for catching up on you.
On business trips, so much time is lost in transit, where you can’t connect to the internet or maybe even access your device.
Thankfully though, it’s also a time when nobody can reach you via email, message, and maybe even phone. Which means you can spend this valuable quality time focusing on something you want to do.
Before your trip, set aside some materials on topics you’d like to learn more about. This might mean adding books to your Kindle or downloading the materials to your phone or tablet. It could be something related to your work or something more personal – it doesn’t matter. Alternatively you might wish to meditate, listen to a podcast or watch a TED talk, with a notebook handy to capture any new ideas.
13. Work in a group…sometimes.
Group work can be fun and motivating, if done at the right times. If working on a group project where you have to talk to your colleagues, this can definitely help time pass quicker and keep you stimulated.
However, even if working solo, sitting with your buddies in the hotel lobby or a quiet coffee shop can be beneficial. Be vigilant however – you’ll want to keep this social work to small pockets so you don’t end up losing productivity.
14. Upgrade to business class (or at least ask).
If you’re travelling for business, then you should be in business class (according to the majority of business travellers).
If you’re lucky enough to be in charge of your own transport, then upgrading to business class will definitely have a positive impact on how you perform once in your destination. If that’s not you. however, then consider putting a word in with the person who is. It’s always worth an ask, right?
15. Streamline your journey.
If making you’re own way there, then a little bit of extra planning before your journey can go a long way.
Use apps like GateGuru and App In The Air to fully streamline your journey and the time spent at the airport. Both apps enable you to keep an eye on your flight status in real time, and get tips such as where to eat and wifi passwords. In the case of GateGuru, you’ll be able to see the length of the walk from baggage to your gate, and if there are any queues along the way.
15. Use travel rime efficiently.
As we mentioned earlier, travel time is a great excuse to switch off from emails, calls and social media. That means you can actually knuckle down and focus on the real task at hand – whether that’s working offline or personal study.
And hey, don’t feel guilty for doing neither. Meditation, napping or watching videos all helps too.
16. Use your environment over the gym.
It may seem less daunting at first to simply book a session at the local gym to get your workout fix. But that’s not always going to give you the mental boost you need.
Getting out into your environment is a great way of getting to know the local area and will provide a more rewarding workout. Get the hotel concierge to point you in the right direction when it comes to popular running routes, or hiring a city bike.
Something as simple as going for a walk will be enough for you to keep the blood flowing and stave off any lethargy.
17. Come prepared.
To really make sure you stick to your workout schedule, pack plenty of workout clothes so you have no excuse. And don’t forget the trainers!
18. Research your accommodation and destination.
Once you know what options will be available to you when you’re there, you’ll be able to plan your regime accordingly. There may be a gym, a nearby yoga studio, or even a pool at the place you’re staying. Alternatively there could be nothing, so you’ll turn to running or some hotel room workouts
19. Create a (brief) workout schedule.
As with your downtime, plan out in advance when you’ll work out. That way, you’ll be less likely to put it off or let overtime get in the way.
It can be helpful to book in a class or session with a personal trainer, so you can justify this sacred time to your colleagues when they invite you out for a drink. Of course, however, this schedule isn’t designed to be set in stone, so allow for unexpected distractions or just taking some time to rest.
20. Remember that a little effort is better than exhaustion.
Jim Karas, personal trainer at James Hotels in Chicago, New York, has trained many business travellers and knows all too well what burnout looks like.
Speaking to Inc.com, he says, “Exercise is a stress. Excessive exercise is terrible damaging to your body, your mind, your immune system, your joints, and it accelerates the aging process.”
It is for this reason that Karas only recommends three hours a week for his regular clients, and even less for business clients. He advises that exercise doesn’t have to be an exhaustive, elaborate process, and that a little effort is better than exhaustion.
Just doing something simple can make a huge difference to your health on the road. Walk somewhere, take the stairs, get in some daily stretching etc. Make movement a priority, sure, but do just enough to maintain your energy levels.
Looking to spend your business trip in comfort? Take a look at our apartments in Liverpool where you’ll be right at home, in the midst of the action.