6 Ways Working Women Can Make the Most of Business Travel
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It has been predicted that there will be approximately 457 million business trips per year to the United States by 2024, with women making up a growing percentage of that number. Between in-person meetings, on-site office visits, and calendar-filling conference circuits, business travel can get quite chaotic without a well-laid plan.
When growing a business, living a nomadic life often becomes commonplace, going from one business event to the next. However, with business travel beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels, it’s worth keeping these travel best practices in mind to optimize the experience.
1. Be strategic when planning a trip
With the entrepreneurial spirit comes a certain level of flexibility that allows flying during “off-peak hours” to save on costs and minimize crowded flights. Booking a trip in early spring or fall is often cheaper than during peak summer vacation and year-end travel seasons, but remember to book during spring break and other major holidays.
Also, when possible, book flights at the beginning of the week rather than at the end of the week, as they are often cheaper and may have better flight times. Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to have the lowest flight prices with savings of almost $85 on average. Also, check current airline policies. Many now offer flexible flight changes and cancellations with airline credit or refunds if plans change, keeping options open.
Related: Ready for takeoff: 7 travel tips for remote workers
2. Pack efficiently
Creating a checklist is an easy way to track and pack exactly what you need for a business trip. Consider events on the agenda, such as conferences, meetings, and networking happy hours. Pack layered pieces that can be worn more than once and outfits that can be coordinated with the same pair of dress shoes, since shoes often take up the most space.
First, present all possible clothing options. Then, narrow the packing list down to the necessities to avoid having to check bags and incur extra charges. Then roll up the clothes to make more room and use packing cubes to optimize the space. It’s also a good idea to invest in a travel steamer, especially for delicate fabrics. Additionally, choose a laptop bag or tote that can be used to store electronics, as well as a small toiletry bag to free up space in the suitcase as well.
3. Prioritize comfort on flights
When traveling on multi-hour and/or overnight flights, stay comfortable in the air to feel more prepared once you land. Once on board, dress in comfortable clothes to avoid wrinkling and staining work clothes – and to help you relax. Hydrate the skin and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and look and feel refreshed. Also, wear a sleep mask and listen to a meditation or nighttime noise app like Calm or Headspace to help ease dozing. About an hour before landing, change into business attire, freshen up, and order a cup of strong coffee to start the trip off right.
4. Choose optimal hosting
When working on the road, accommodation can make all the difference. Check for high-speed Wi-Fi, a separate workstation, and other amenities like in-room coffeemakers and refrigerators, especially for longer stays. Some hotel chains are outfitted specifically for business travelers, and Airbnb hosts are also updating their spaces to accommodate those working on the road.
Also, when booking accommodation for conferences or client meetings, choose a place to stay within walking distance or a short drive from where it is being held to avoid having to rent a car or risk being stuck in traffic.
Related: 5 Ways to Make Business Travel More Productive
5. Take care of yourself
Traveling can be taxing, and without 9 to 5 as an entrepreneur, it can become difficult to take time for self-care. Indulge in the hotel’s hot tub or spa, if available, or book a massage or pedicure nearby. Even taking a few moments at the end of each day to stretch, a cup of tea, and some downtime to relax can help you feel calm. The toll that travel takes on the body can increase the risk of physical illness and mental exhaustion. Aim for eight hours of sleep, stay hydrated, and eat as healthy as possible, even across multiple time zones.
6. Combine business with pleasure
Often it’s hard to separate time for fun when traveling for work. However, plan specific times to explore a new restaurant or take a walking tour when visiting new cities. Time slots can be useful for prioritizing work deadlines and also creating space to make travel more enjoyable.
Keep in mind that when introducing bleisure (business and leisure) travel into the mix, be sure to track expenses for each. Create a spreadsheet and organize receipts and business expenses at the end of each day to ensure accuracy. Keep a separate folder for receipts or store them digitally through accounting software to make them easily accessible at tax time.
Being on the road for business requires careful coordination and strategic efforts to maximize time and create an optimal experience. To maximize the time and enjoy the experience, keeping these tips in mind can serve as a reminder to get the most out of business travel.