Tips to use your time well on a work trip.

Working during a business trip is a lot like relaxing during the weekend. You assume you’ll have plenty of time to achieve your goals, but then a parade of time-consuming events occur, causing your plans to go out the window. For the weekender, those events include cleaning the house and finally fixing that dripping shower head. For the business traveler, it’s usually travel hiccups that consume your work time.

The truth is, the more time you spend worrying about unplanned events that interfere with your business trip, the less productive you are. Which is why it’s imperative to travel efficiently. Travel Management Companies (TMCs) are invaluable assets to help business travelers maximize their efficiencies, but not every traveler is blessed with a TMC. So if you’re traveling on your own, here are a few solid tips to make the most of your time.

Pick the Work-friendly Transportation Mode

The time you spend in transit should allow as much time as possible for you to work and prepare for the reason your company is sending you away in the first place. But that is difficult to achieve when you’re driving four hours to the meeting or stuck in a coach seat so small you can’t open your laptop. Get some solid work done by taking a train, if possible, or upgrade to a premium economy or a business-class seat on the plane.

Choose Non-stop Routes

Even though they may cost more, nonstop flights improve your overall trip efficiency. If you do have to touchdown for a connecting flight, choose your airports wisely. Some airports are notoriously bad for connecting flights - due to long distances between gates or delayed schedules - while others have better records. A little research will go a long way to keep you moving in the right direction.

Book the Most Accommodating Accommodations

Sometimes you’re tempted to choose a hotel that’s near city center, thinking you’ll have a little fun while in town. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it can cut into your productivity. Instead choose the hotel closest to your meetings, preferably one with free breakfast and Wi-Fi. That way you can arrive to your meeting well rested, well fed and on time.

Give Yourself Time to Breathe

Overscheduling your trip is a productivity killer. Don’t fill every minute of your business day with planes, taxis, meetings, more taxis and another plane. Add a few minutes or hours to breathe, maybe catch a coffee or have a drink with co-workers before rushing home. It seems counterintuitive that free-time makes you more productive, but a happy employee always gets more work done than a harried one.

Don’t Cut Costs if it’s Counterproductive

Every company wants to save money while their employees travel. But too often, they cut every costly corner without keeping their eyes on the big prize. For instance, productivity increases when you arrive to the meeting destination the night before and get a good night’s rest at a reasonably-priced hotel. Yet many companies put their employees on 5 a.m. flights to save on hotel costs, which causes the employee to roll into the 9 a.m. meeting tired and disheveled. Check out our brief video about a counterproductive business road trip hampered by a too-tight budget.

Ready to speak with a corporate travel expert about how you can better manage your business travel? Get in touch with us to schedule a free consultation that can help lower costs and improve employee productivity.