4 of the best practices and 4 of the worst mistakes employees make when traveling for business – DAVID RAUDALES

DAVID RAUDALES

Businessman, musician / former Full Stack Developer

DAVID RAUDALES UK

4 of the best practices and 4 of the worst mistakes employees make when traveling for business

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Employees traveling for work can make their time on the road more pleasant with a few practices. For a successful trip, business travelers should eat healthily, prioritize sleep, and pack wisely. This article is part of “Business Travel Playbook,” a series about making the most of work travel.

Business travel continues to rebound from the early stages of the pandemic as employees take more work trips.

A 2023 US Travel Association survey of 2,379 business travelers found that the average number of monthly trips the respondents expected to take was around three — a slight bump compared to two trips a month the previous year.

With professionals traveling more for work, Business Insider talked to three frequent business travelers about their successful habits and a few things they avoid when on the go.

4 habits of successful business travelers:

1. Practicing good hygiene

While this might seem obvious, Donzella Burton, the owner of a center for assisted-living healthcare and training, said that if you’re going to be taking frequent business trips, it’s important to prioritize your health by practicing good hygiene.

“I travel for business once or twice a month, depending on the season,” she said. “I wash my hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating or touching my face. If soap and water are not available, I try to make sure I have alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.”

Donzella Burton, the owner of a center for assisted-living healthcare and training.

Donzella Burton

2. Eating healthily and exercising

While business travel can disrupt your routines, eating healthier meals and drinking plenty of water can help you feel more energized. Michael Murray, the CEO of the electronics manufacturer Kopin Corp., travels at least twice a month for business and said that eating healthy meals could be tough, especially when his flights arrive late at night.

“By the time I arrive, many hotels have shut down room service at 9 p.m.,” he said. “If it’s late, I tend to order from a food-delivery app while I’m en route to my hotel and focus on ordering from places with great ratings, natural food, and decent salads.”

Michael Murray, the CEO of Kopin Corp.

Kopin Corp.

Carving out time to exercise on the road is also important because exercise has the potential to boost immune responses and keep energy levels high.

“I invested in some lightweight running/workout shoes which are easy to pack and some workout gear that is light and breathable so I can use it often,” Murray said. “When I travel, I choose hotels for their gym equipment, access to walking paths, or access to a nearby fitness chain that offers day passes. I’ve also downloaded several fitness apps if I need to work out in my hotel room.”

3. Enrolling in airline security programs

If you know you’ll be flying often, look into signing up for an airline security program to save time before your flight.

“I recommend utilizing TSA PreCheck or Clear,” Anneleah Williams-Bridges, a hospital executive and healthcare consultant who travels weekly for her job, said. “These are options to help fast-track your security-check-in process during high travel times and are a valuable time saver that will help you bypass the heavier foot traffic of all the other business travelers.”

Anneleah Williams-Bridges, a hospital executive and healthcare consultant.

Anneleah Williams-Bridges

Both TSA PreCheck and Clear are often great for domestic flyers and can reduce time spent in airport security lines. TSA PreCheck users get access to a separate, shorter security line, and Clear users can jump to the front of the security line after verifying their ID and boarding pass.

4. Prioritizing sleep

While it might be tempting to use all your downtime to tackle more tasks on your to-do list and work late into the night, getting sleep is essential for a successful work trip.

“Don’t be brave. You don’t get a medal for ‘burning through the day’ without sleeping,” Murray said. “I used to fly to the UK and Ireland and go straight to the office from the overnight flight, which from the East Coast is just enough time to sleep for an hour or two, maybe. In the long run, running on a few hours of sleep wasn’t effective for me, my team, and the business.”

4 things successful business travelers avoid:

1. Overpacking

Wanting to be prepared for anything is understandable, but don’t go overboard with stuffing your suitcase. Overpacking can result in a cluttered hotel room — and you’ll likely have to check a bag, which can slow down your commute.

“Packing light is a great way to make it through the airport quicker,” Williams-Bridges said. “Only using carry-on luggage for business travel ensures that you can board the plane, exit the plane, and go directly to your destination without waiting for a checked bag. This can save you about an hour and a half of time during your commute.”

2. Overplanning

Another successful habit is to avoid overplanning. Burton said that while it’s important to have a general idea of what you want to accomplish on a business trip, you should leave room in your schedule for downtime and avoid scheduling back-to-back meetings or events.

“Overplanning every minute of a business trip can lead to unnecessary stress and can hinder the potential for spontaneous discoveries or relaxation,” Burton said. “Scheduling downtime allows me to decompress and can offer valuable opportunities for self-care and personal reflection.”

3. Booking the cheapest flight

Burton said you should stick to one airline to take advantage of loyalty points if you travel at least once a month. The benefits of joining an airline loyalty program include upgraded seating, lounge access, and priority boarding.

To make things easier, business travelers should also try to book the best direct flights and not opt for the least expensive flight because “sometimes you get what you pay for,” Williams-Bridges said, adding that cheaper flights could mean a travel experience riddled with complications like excessive delays.

“I also avoid traveling on holidays, which can be cost-effective,” she said. “Lastly, I try to avoid connecting flights, which could add unnecessary flight time to your trip.”

4. Consuming too much alcohol

While many business meetings and client dinners can include a glass or two of wine, excessive drinking could result in impaired judgment or a hangover.

“While it’s OK to enjoy a drink or two with colleagues or clients, be mindful of alcohol consumption and its impact on your overall health and energy levels,” Burton said. “Opt for lighter options like wine or spritzers, and alternate alcoholic beverages with water to stay hydrated.”

Read the original article on Business Insider