Preparing for taking vacation time can often nullify the stress reducing benefits of time away from the office, but what about when your work requires that you travel? With structured itineraries and sometimes less than glamorous destinations, can you expect to find any time at all to relax after you meet your obligations? We’ve put together some tips to help you travel smart and stress free for work, while also making the most of time away from the office:
Your next trip to Baltimore might not feel that exciting (no disrespect- we love that aquarium!), but you have the power to make it great. Do a little research and find out what the area you will be visiting is famous for or most proud of and treat your trip like a vacation by indulging in your spare time. Whether that means catching some live Zydeco when you are in Baton Rouge or trying green chili enchiladas while passing through Albuquerque, every city has its perks.
Remember that your roommates friend from college who moved to Jacksonville? Well now’s your time to rekindle the connection. Social media makes it easy to see who in your network has ended up where, and you might just find that reaching out reaps big benefits. See the city through a local lens, and fill in the advice of online opinion aggregators like Yelp, Urbanspoon, Citysearch, Trip Advisor or Zomato to find the perfect spot for your interests. There is no shortage of resources available at your disposal!
Eyes on the prize
Your company has sent you on this trip with a direct purpose in mind. Whatever that purpose may be; inspecting a new site for expansion, making a good impression on a new client, learning new skills, or something else, make sure that you execute this mission to your fullest capacity. First impressions are very powerful and when you’re out in the field there are times when you alone will shape people’s perception of your company.
Be sure to ask for a business card from everybody you meet during your trip, and don’t forget to bring a hefty stack of your own cards along with you so that you can return the favor. Building your business network will pay dividends down the road; you never know who will prove to be a valuable connection or whether you could be of help to someone as well.
Just because you’ve made it home safely, doesn’t mean the trip is over. Communicate to your superiors what valuable knowledge or skills you acquired while away. This lets them know that you took full advantage of the opportunity and can lead to a more favorable impression from your employer. You should also get in touch with the people you met during your travels- you’ve already established the connection, it’s simply a matter of maintaining it, especially while you are still fresh in their minds.
Business travel can often times be stressful without the right approach. Get to know the city you’re in, and embrace the challenges that come with representing the company outside of the office. You’ll find that building your network and making the most of your destination come with advantages across the board.