That corporate trip to New York or Milan might seem like a free holiday at first. You assume that you’ll have enough time to swan around the city scoffing ice cream or take a trip to the Empire State. However, your hopes are dashed when your diary is so full you barely get time to breathe let alone venture up any skyscrapers. The souvenirs you manage to grab from the airport are in no way reflective of your trip. Business really does mean business.
So what if a couple of business trips a year turns into two a month or even two a week? How do you retain some semblance of sanity and stick to a routine?
Boost Your Energy Levels
Even if you’re lucky enough to fly business class, trying to get some shut eye on a noisy, turbulent plane is far from ideal. You may only manage a couple of hour’s kip before a big meeting so it’s important to boost your energy levels in other ways.
Although it’s tempting to stuff yourself with sugary food or high fat fast food when you’re tired, try to eat light healthy meals to sustain your energy without feeling sluggish. Stock up on fruit, vegetables, nuts and healthy snacks to keep you energized and alert whilst avoiding a sugar crash. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and take multi-vitamins to give your immune system a boost.
Whilst having the advantage of putting food and drink on the company credit card, you might as well spend a couple of quid extra on healthy choices.
Make your frequent travelling as comfortable as possible with a few key accessories. If you find it hard to sleep on planes or public transport, make sure you take ear plugs, a travel pillow and an eye mask and wear comfortable clothes. Invest in a convertible plug adaptor that can be used in a variety of countries and take devices which can be charged with a USB cable to avoid lugging around multiple chargers.
If you’re literally stepping off the plane and into a meeting, wear dark clothes to make creases less obvious and perhaps some under eye concealer to try and disguise those bags! Be sure to invest in a good quality travel case from a specialist company, especially if you’re frequently carting your worldly possessions from one country to the next.
Planning as much as you can ahead of time will cut down on stress significantly later on. You can concentrate on your meetings rather than sorting out minor problems and mishaps. Pack your essentials in your hand luggage to avoid a huge crisis if your baggage is lost and organise your items for easy access.
Remember that you might not have access to an office so do your research and find out whether Internet is readily available and how you can complete all your tasks. If possible, plan meetings at off-peak travel times to keep costs down and make the journey significantly easier.
Know Your Rights
Corporate travel may well be a bonus, especially if you get the chance to sightsee, sample some local cuisine or simply spend time in the sun. However, it can be extremely tiring and turn you into a zombie, especially when travelling between time zones and functioning on very little sleep.
Ensure that you research your company’s policies on business travel and what you are entitled to. You may be able to request an upgrade for long haul flights to ensure a good night’s sleep. Company budgets may be tight but being put up in little more than a shack before an important business meeting is less than ideal so insist on convenient and comfortable accommodation.