A job that involves a good deal of corporate travelling can, from the outside, seem pretty glamorous. And on the inside too, meeting clients and potential investors in different locations across the globe is a lifestyle that just announces itself as prestigious.
Not for you the rigmarole of the daily corporate grind back at the office. There’s no time to be fussing over such quotidian pains as filing reports, sending boiler plate e-mails, calling a guy when the aircon breaks down, or ensuring that all the office kitchen appliances bear a PAT test label.
The need to travel internationally reflects the importance of the work – but that’s hard work.
For one thing, it can be difficult getting into a daily working routine if your typical day is rarely typical. Flying to Frankfurt is a different kettle of fish from flying to Tokyo; there are schedules to meet, sometimes scant opportunity for a proper rest and, to top it all off, being jetlagged will not pass muster as an excuse if you miss an important meeting or keep an important client or investor waiting.
Those who engage in frequent corporate travel need to manage a hectic lifestyle and still be able to give their absolute best when the situation calls for it. This is why the role often has all the trappings of the corporate elite – and not everyone can do it.
Unsurprisingly then, wisdom has been built up over the years regarding how best to manage such a lifestyle, and how to turn in the best work while you’re at it. And surprising as it may seem, this is the lifestyle that hundreds of people live – day in and day out.
It is a role that is essential in an increasingly globalised society. And it is a job that, throughout the coronavirus pandemic, has only become more challenging as, even still, travel to certain parts of the word can entail a whole host of extra headaches that were simply not there before.
Telecommunications Are no Substitute
For sure, advances in telecommunications such as video conferencing and remote working platforms have been a massive help. It is certainly now possible to conduct all manner of high-level business without the need for physical meetings and interactions. But these advances have only taken us so far, and in a range of business scenarios (normally those involving close project collaboration with individuals based overseas), there is still very often the need to get on a plane to go somewhere.
International conferences with many attendees cannot be conducted online, and a business pitch or negotiation is still best conducted face to face. If anything, mobile communication technology has only made life for the corporate traveller even more challenging – because it is now only the most prestigious (and therefore most committed) business people who have to do it. So it is no surprise then that a host of tried and tested tips exist for the management of such a working lifestyle.
Presenting the most important ones here, we will organise them into the two different categories which correspond to the different areas of corporate travel. Many of these tips are all but essential should you wish to succeed at the highest level of the modern globalised business world.
What to pack? This is a question that has to be answered not just by corporate travellers, but by anyone going anywhere! Nevertheless, there is much good packing advice out there for those embarking on a business trip:
1. Take Only Carry-on Bags
You are not going on holiday, and extra luggage in the hold is almost a sure-fire way to get your business trip off to stressful and exhausting start. It is not just that lugging a big suitcase around an unfamiliar city will entail stress from the moment you land. There is also the risk of delays at the airport; waiting for luggage can take quite some time and there’s always the risk that it will be lost. There is nothing the modern businessperson needs that cannot be fitted into carry-on luggage, so avoid the big suitcases. Aim to fly with airlines with a large carry-on allowance if you really need the extra space.
2. Use Plastic Garment Bags
Suits and dress clothes can very easily be creased in transit and hunting for a dry-cleaning solution in a foreign city is another headache you can do without. Garment bags are a simple technology that eliminates this problem.
3. Make Some Space for Sleeping Aids
Flights can be long – and they can also require a ridiculously early rise. To ameliorate this issue, pack some sleeping aids such as a pillow, eye mask or noise-cancelling headphones. Catching some zeds on a long-haul flight is terrific way to start your business trip feeling refreshed and ready to go.
Travel Optimisation Tips
As you will know, packing is only one part of the travel experience. To really enhance your travelling experience and get your business trip off to the best start, there is much to think about at the booking stage.
1. Travel Business Class if You Can
This one is fairly obvious. Business class exists for a reason – and the clue is in the name. The range of additional benefits offered to business class passengers can be one way of softening the hectic lifestyle of the frequent corporate flyer. It isn’t just that it is more comfortable and will allow you to sleep easier, but you are also more likely to be able to get a larger carry-on luggage allowance and even the opportunity to get some work done on the plane.
2. Use Programs that Speed Up Travel
And here we are talking about things like priority boarding and programs, which allow you to move faster through both security and passport control – at both ends. There are also car hire companies that can be selected at the point of booking, usually through an airline’s website. Time is money, and all that.
3. Print Important Confirmation Numbers and Boarding Passes
While you can take precautions against it, phones continue to get lost or run out of charge at the worst moment. Using digital documents will speed things up, but have the printouts close to hand in order to cover these eventualities. It is no good frantically looking for a charger when time is of the essence.
Ultimately, the aim of all this corporate travel advice is to remove the stress of travelling as much as possible. The job is stressful enough.