Travel has always been an important part of doing business. From train trips to commercial flights, people have long understood the importance of travel to making new connections and closing new accounts. What is changing, however, is the way journeys are made. As technology opens the door to a more connected world, global business travel is becoming increasingly common. This presents travelers with both advantages and disadvantages. While all the information needed to travel safely is in a smartphone, a forgotten charger can spell disaster. It all comes down to details, and that’s why a comprehensive itinerary is more important than ever when it comes to taking a business trip. Here are three ways to make your next business trip more successful:
Take it slow before you go
The days leading up to an important business trip are often hectic and filled with last-minute preparations. From polishing your presentation to packing your bags, the stress seems unavoidable – but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Eliminate frustrations before a trip by packing well ahead of time, and giving your presentation some breathing room. If possible, try to schedule an extra day for your trip so you can adjust to the local time, weather, and surroundings. In an article for Entrepreneur, productivity expert Jason Womack recommends arriving at your destination a day ahead of time.
“If success for your business means you need to be at your best when you arrive in that new city, you need to do what it takes to take care of yourself – physically and mentally – along the way,” Jason says.
Beat jet lag at its own game
Jet lag can knock back the best of us, with effects ranging from mildly irritating to utterly disastrous. Sufferers might perform more poorly on their trip, leading to botched presentations and embarrassing lapses in memory or concentration. Worse, jet lag can negate the entire purpose of a costly trip: to make a good impression on the people or companies being visited.
Surprisingly, the cure for jet lag doesn’t lie in a bottle of pills – it’s all about your schedule. Sticking with your time zone and sleeping when you normally would is your first and most powerful line of defense. Creating an itinerary that not only accounts for sleep, but also for extra time to rest and recoup will ensure that you perform at your best. Even if you don’t have the luxury of staying in your time zone, a schedule can still help you sort through the fog of jet lag – a strategy used by many well traveled business executives.
Show off your schedule
An itinerary can be a valuable tool for when you return home, too. Being transparent about your time away can boost your credibility and help strengthen your reputation. Use your schedule to highlight key points on your trip, from making important connections to learning more about a new place. Providing a written record of what you’ve done can help back up expenses, or give insight into what you could do differently next time.
No matter where a business trip takes you, having a plan of action will help keep you focused on your goals so you can give the best performance possible. And if you’re going to brave security lines, boarding queues and airplane food, it’s nice to know exactly what you’ll have to show for it. Bon voyage!