Business trips are extremely valuable in terms of ensuring company growth and development. Business travel does not always go smoothly, however, and some trips may end up as little more than wasted time. In this article, CEO and Petroleum Engineer Adam Ferrari offers six strategies for making sure a business trip stays as productive as possible.
1. Plan Ahead and Execute
As soon as your travel dates are firmed up, handle all the logistical issues as soon as possible. Make hotel reservations and book flights, airport transportation, and car rentals as soon as you know your dates. You’ll save money on fares and reservations and will not find yourself stressing out at the last minute when accommodations are harder to find. Plan your local travel between your hotel and meeting site and scout out eating and entertainment options as well for your downtime. The people you meet with will appreciate the good impression that your promptness at meetings will make and you will have a much more relaxed experience.
2. Travel Light
Flying drains even the most experienced traveler. Pack carefully and only bring the things you will actually need on your trip. If at all possible, avoid checking any luggage and use a modern hard-sided carryon to make getting in and out of the airport as simple as possible. If you need to have large objects with you as part of your business meeting (for example, prototypes or product samples), send them ahead in advance through a reliable shipping service. Make sure that your hotel will agree to hold your items for you in advance. You can ship your material, along with anything you purchase on your trip, back home by shipping service as well.
3. Make Your Flight Time Productive
Study your travel itinerary and plan out a work schedule for the day. If you expect lengthy layovers, set aside time to handle emails and other internetwork activities. For flight time, plan to catch up on reading and drafting work. Plan to handle your own charging needs for your mobile devices and your laptop. Some carryon luggage now comes with a high-power charging battery so you won’t have to hunt down an outlet in a crowded area.
4. Have a Travel Meeting with Your Team Before Heading Out
Meet with your project teams and staff before you leave on your trip. Let everyone know your availability by phone and email will be while you are away, and how you can be reached immediately in the event of an emergency. Let everyone know how you will remain involved while you are away so they will know what to expect from you and when. Set up “out of office” responses for your voice mail and business email accounts, and have a staff member designated to handle checking messages for you while you are away.
5. Add an Extra Day When Possible
It usually seems tempting to get back home and to work as soon as possible, but an extra day before traveling home can pay dividends. There are often many loose ends to tie up at the end of a business trip, and immediate travel time and getting back to work that was left behind is not conducive to winding down from meetings while making planning and follow-up notes. Before jumping right back into your normal routine, consider spending some quiet time to maximize the benefit of your trip.
6. Eat and Drink Sensibly and Stay Hydrated
This sounds simple, but it can be very important to your productivity on the road. Travel causes dehydration, and poor eating habits and too much alcohol will aggravate the problem. Irregular eating and staying out late also can adversely affect your sleep and drain your energy during the day. Plan healthy meals at appropriate times, limit your alcohol intake and get regular exercise at your hotel for better sleep and higher cognitive energy while on the road.
About Adam Ferrari
Adam Ferrari is the founder of the Denver-based mineral acquisitions company Ferrari Energy. He is a chemical engineer by degree and is an accomplished petroleum engineer by profession. He also has experience in the financial sector through his work at an investment banking firm. Under his leadership, his company has supported numerous charitable organizations including St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Freedom Service Dogs, Denver Rescue Mission, Coats for Colorado, and Next Steps of Chicago.