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March 08, 2017

Five Tips for Surviving Business Travel as an IT Pro

Most people love to travel, but it’s a lot less fun when it’s for business purposes. Instead of checking out the sights and relaxing by the pool, your time is spent trying to locate office buildings and solve problems. But if you do it enough, you’ll learn how to simplify the process and eliminate unnecessary stress.

How to Thrive With Business Travel

For some IT professionals, business travel is a way of life. Whether it’s traveling to and from conferences or making regular trips to see various clients, frequent travel is fairly common in this industry. The issue is that it can also be exhausting.

In order to thrive with business travel, you need to develop and follow a certain system.

Here are some practical tips:

Pack Like a Pro

The first thing you have to do is learn how to pack. Ask any experienced business traveler about their approach to packing and they’ll tell you that carry-on luggage is the only way to go.

“I never check my bags, even if I'm going to China for four weeks,” says Jeffrey Davis, a business executive who spends much of his time traveling the world. “I travel with a Hartmann roll-aboard that fits in the overhead. The reduced hassle of never having to wait for bags, being the first guy through customs, and never dealing with the nightmare of lost luggage will make you a believer.”

Another tip is to follow the advice of Johnny Cash and just wear black. When you bring lots of black, you don’t have to think through every single outfit in advance. You can just throw some stuff in your bag and trust it will work.

Stay Comfortable

The worst thing you can do is be uncomfortable on your flight. You’ll arrive grouchy, sore and frustrated. While you may not have the resources to fly first class, you can make coach pretty comfortable – as long as you have the right accessories.

The first thing you need is a quality travel pillow. If you’ve never owned one, then you probably think they look ridiculous. But as soon as you try one, you’ll wonder why you waited so long. There are a variety of styles, so make sure you do your research and find one that best fits your needs and sleeping style.

Another tip is to stick with water on flights. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages will impair your ability to sleep and can dehydrate you. It’s best to grab a bottle of water before boarding your flight and try to finish it by the time you land. You’ll feel much better upon arrival.

Be Prepared Ahead of Time

There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination, only to realize that you only have an hour before your first meeting. If you haven’t yet prepared for the meeting, then you’re in real trouble. You risk rolling in looking like a mess and providing very little value for the client.

It’s best to prepare everything you possibly can before leaving home. This will allow you to relax on your flight without worrying about small details. If you have a long flight, it’s smart to use the in-flight Wi-Fi to review your materials or catch up on emails.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is critically important on business trips. Keep that in mind when you schedule your trip and don’t choose a ridiculous flight time just to save a few bucks. If you’re afforded the luxury of flexible scheduling, take full advantage.

“Consider leaving a day early or staying a day late if it prevents a red-eye flight. Or, try to schedule your itinerary with arrivals no later than 6:00 p.m. This gives you enough time to retrieve your luggage, get to the hotel, unpack, have dinner and turn in at a (relatively) normal hour,” entrepreneur Kentin Waits says. “Departures before 10:00 a.m. will only stress you out and leave you sleeping the night before with one eye on the clock.”

Have the Right Apps

Your smartphone is a luxury that business travelers from previous generations would have loved. Make sure you’re tapping into its full potential by storing it with the right apps.

One of the top expensing apps is Concur. It lets you record expenses, organize your resources, and sync up with your office back home for approvals. Other good apps include Skyscanner (for booking flights and accommodations on the go), Yelp (for finding good restaurants to meet clients), and Asana (for managing projects and keeping everyone in the loop).

Make Business Travel a Breeze

Business travel doesn’t need to be stressful. By creating a system, you can relax a bit and focus on the business aspect of the trip. The key is to stay comfortable and avoid putting yourself in a position where you get stressed out and allow those emotions to negatively impact your work. If you can learn how to do this, everything else will fall into place.

Edited by Alicia Young

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