Keys to Successful Business Travel
Once the business traveler lets his inner tourist out, the better the trip becomes for him. Here are a few tips to successfully navigate five cities in a week and still have that smile on your face.
First, embrace that which is in front of you. The 2 am red-eye in the middle seat to Hong Kong. Sure, sounds pretty miserable. But remember as you board your sleepy flight that there are thousands, if not millions that would love the opportunity to go to Hong Kong right now. And unless you have a crazy boss who scheduled a four hour in and out stay, you’ll have time to see at least some new sites and attractions during your stay. You have the opportunity to see a completely different world and on someone else’s dime. Embrace this. If it’s a particularly long stay, bring a friend or your whole family. The only added expense here is airline tickets, food (although your expense account may cover it) and land travel. And this is a great way to see the world with loved ones.
By looking forward to your flight, you are automatically creating positive vibes. Remember as you are stuck on that airplane, you are going somewhere. Take the time to reflect not only on business affairs, but on life itself. And if that’s not enough, heck think existential thoughts as you hurdle 500 mph through the sky 45,000 feet up in a 230′ tin can. You’ll be amazed at what thoughts enter your head. A good trick is to reserve a window seat. Sure, you might have to excuse yourself awkwardly passed some legs, but this is a fantastic way to truly take in your surroundings and reminds you of what you’re actually doing.
Too many business travelers reserve aisle seats, read the journal, and never once recognize a full moon or a distant thunderstorm just outside the plane’s windows. Learning to embrace travel is a lot like learning to embrace life itself. To become more aware. To drink things in rather than complain about them. Next time your flight is delayed five hours on the tarmac, make a social experiment in your head out of it. Calculate everyone else around you- record how long it takes certain individuals to ‘snap.’ See how other people wait it out, what devices they use to get by.
And, if you’re alone, offer to help a single mom out with her screaming toddler. Make yourself useful and you’ll not only feel a lot better about yourself, the time will move by quicker as well. In fact, if more business travelers stuck on planes with crying kids actually proactively helped out more, there would be less crying kids. All that ends up happening now is that there are screaming kids and the business travelers who complain about them. A representation of society, really.
Once you’re at your destination, get out of the hotel room. Use the hours you’re not working or planning the meeting to actually see the new city. And, if you come to the same city often, get to really know it, inside and out. Not only will this help fill your time, but you’ll find nooks and crannies to take clients to, to relate about, and to broaden your horizons on.
Once you learn you have impending business travel, look up new restaurants, new neighborhoods. Plan to visit tourist sites, learn about the local history and people. Not only will this make your business travel more appealing, it will be soup for your soul to boot.