Some people think business travel is the indulgent preserve of the privileged, while others see it as a cruel imposition, a constant cause of tiredness and grumpiness. Naturally, the truth is somewhere in the middle: travelling the world on the company’s dime is amazing but also a significant strain on body and mind.
Is there a right way to travel for business? I think so. And with all the guides for travellers out there teaching us how to do everything from using a Japanese toilet to spending four hours in a city, it’s surprising that there isn’t a guide on do’s and don’ts for business travel. The essential question is how to maximise the experience while minimising the strain. Drinking like a fish in the lounge at breakfast, for instance, doesn’t help.
I can’t cover all the ways to travel better for business in a short article, but here are some tips on maximising the flying part of the experience:
1. Don’t be fashionably late. The macho attitude of ‘I cut it as close as possible since I’m so busy with work and a totally legendary traveller’ is utterly pointless. Limit stress by (if you can) taking just one form of transport to the airport and arriving early, working in the lounge if you must. As a bonus, you won’t miss your flight.
2. Avoid drinking, especially on the plane. I’m as keen on a drink as the next person but alcohol is appalling for business travel. It tires you out, worsens sleep on the plane and increases jet lag. I mean, do you really need to have champagne just because it’s free?
3. Have a sleep strategy. I see business travellers on red-eye flights from New York to London spend three hours eating and watching a film. Why would you do that when the flight is six hours and you land at 6am? Sleep all flight. Plan each flight in advance regarding when and how much to sleep.
4. Don’t work on the plane, ever. This is controversial, I know. Many of you will say you’re too busy for that (while I have enough time to write these articles). Instead, take advantage of your time in the air to chill, sleep, read, watch the many films onboard, reflect and enjoy. Flights with Wi-Fi connectivity let you browse online, too. But I guarantee staying away from work will make you more effective when you land.
5. Have a plan for your arrival. Don’t just assume everything will work out fine. It’s astonishing how many times I’ve seen people get into a taxi queue, wait for an hour, then complain afterwards. Book a car or a train ticket, account for delays, set meetings well after your landing (reducing stress and disappointment) and, if you’re on the way home, get yourself in the right mood with music or a programme to avoid behaving like a corporate weirdo towards whoever you live with.
Basic tips, but it’s a start. Send through your tips (firstname.lastname@example.org), and maybe we can create the world’s first worthy business travel guide.
By the Anonymous Global Nomad
In the past month:
Flights taken: 18
Miles travelled: 19,678