I’m no Ryan Bingham…or Peter Shankman for that matter. But I’ve done some minor business traveling. No plane trips yet, but I’ve spent some time in the car. And what did I learn? Business trips ≠ road trips. Well, unless you have some super fun coworkers. However, in my little experience, below are some tips for the travelin’ newbie: car edition.
1. Charge your electronics and bring your chargers with you
My BlackBerry battery lasts for about five minutes, so it needs a constant charge. As does my ipod and laptop…although their batteries last a little longer. Make sure everything is fully charged and definitely bring a charger with you to plug into the car or hotel or meeting outlets. This is essential for when you need to do work on the go, or just for when boredom strikes and you can stay connected.
2. Set two alarms in the morning of your travel
This goes for runners doing races AND business travelers. Normally, you have to get up mega early for car trips so setting two alarms is key. Plus, if you are super anal (and LOVE to hit snooze) like me, you have two alarms set anyway in the morning. You don’t want to be *that guy* and make everyone else late.
3. Google or call the hotel to see if there’s free wifi, a gym, and a breakfast buffet
You may think after a day of meetings or conferences you will be able to bang out work in the hotel afterward. Well, that’s IF the hotel has wifi access. Call ahead to make sure or at least Google map a nearby Starbucks to suck up their Internet. Also, you can check what other access you have so you know you can bring shoes to run on the treadmill or if there’s no breakfast, you can make sure to allow extra time to go elsewhere.
4. Use the restroom at every opportune moment…even if you don’t have to
You NEVER know when you’ll have to go later, have missed your chance, and have no opportunity. That has bad news written all over it.
5. Caffeinate, hydrate, repeat
Travel typically means a long day. It’s important to get some caffeine in your system to keep you going and drink lots of water for energy. Doing this just makes tip #4 all the more important.
6. Be prepared for any type of travel companion
This could mean a long-winded gabber or someone who doesn’t talk at all. It could also mean someone who only discusses work or someone who talks none of it. Be prepared for the worst but hope your travel mate is cool. And if all else fails, talk about the weather.
7. Pack food
I’m a fat kid. So the thought of no food for hours makes me sad. It also will cause me to be cranky, shaky, weak and dizzy. You don’t know what the food situation will be like where you are going (or if they’ll be ANY…for that matter), so pack your own snacks. I recommend a banana, almonds, some type of bar (like Luna or Kashi) and some other type of snack that travels well like pretzels. These will at least keep you satisfied ’til more substantial eats are back in sight.
8. Pack comfortable clothes and/or shoes for the ride home
Business clothes are usually uncomfortable after hour 8 or 9 (hence why when I get home everyday I love me a good pair of sweatpants), so for the way home, get comfy. Pack a change of clothes or at least a comfy pair of flip flops. This will make the ride home a little less awful.
9. Plan to be at least 30 minutes to an hour early
Always anticipate some kind of road block. I’m not being a negative Nancy, just realistic. You could get lost or stuck in traffic, so leaving early will make for less stress. It will also save on rushing at the last minute. If you are super early, find a Starbucks and use that time to regroup and prepare for the meeting, or just chill out and drink a latte.
10. Eat a filling meal before your meeting or presentation
Can you tell food is top of mind for me? This is similar to tip #7. You don’t know what your client or conference is preparing for lunch or dinner (if anything), so eating a lot will fill you up and keep you going. Plus, any excuse to eat a huge bagel smothered in cream cheese is reason enough for me. 😉
What tips do you have for the business traveling newb?