Entrepreneurs know a thing or two about traveling for business. Whether it's efficiently packing or scheduling meetings, they've been through it all and can provide a wealth of knowledge. That's why we asked members in the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) to share their best tips for making work travels a success.
1. Travel Light
"Packing smart and only taking the bare minimum will make you more nimble and less stressed. You won't have to check your bags, so there is no risk of losing them, and you don't have to wait for them to be unloaded. You can be in and out of the airport quickly! Also, if you are rerouted or delayed, you have the flexibility to take any plane or carrier with no extra baggage fee. The result is that you are relaxed and can focus on important things, like preparing for your meetings or creative problem solving."
Julia Langkraehr, EO UK-London
Founder, Bold Clarity
2. Think Outside the Box
"Productivity should not only be measured by the quantity of meetings but also relative to the depth of the connection established in the meeting. I often look at arts and culture programming available at my destination. I'm typically impressed by what I find, and attending these events often makes for a great social experience with business partners. Even when I don't go, the local awareness often makes for excellent conversation. I find that after a social event, subsequent business matters are more productive."
Shaun Gordon, EO New York
Executive Chairman, Pristine Environments, Inc.
3. Disconnect on the Way
"The single most important way to make any business trip better is by not doing any work while on the airplane to or from the trip. Take that time as a moment of meditation and disconnecting from the world, in order to relax and mentally prepare for whatever trip you're going on or coming from. I have found that anytime I do work on the plane, I arrive stressed out, regardless of what I'm working on. Use the airtime to relax!"
Nick Friedman, EO Tampa Bay
Co-founder and President, College Hunks Hauling Junk
4. Find Local Music
"For every business trip, I check and see if there is any live music playing that my clients or associates might enjoy. The smaller the venue the better. Anyone can arrange a dinner, but choosing an up-close, live music event helps you stand apart from the pack and is a memory that you can share. It's also a more casual experience, enabling bonding at a more intimate level."
5. Go Offsite
"Business trips don't have to be 'nothing but work' experiences. By scheduling an offsite networking event or dinner, it provides everyone a moment to experience the city they are visiting. Also, by allowing time for exploration, you're providing an opportunity to connect on a more personal level with those you are with. Some of the most productive conversations are held outside of a boardroom."
Jeff Cooper, EO Philadelphia
President and CEO, Expo Logic
6. Build Local Relationships
"The worst business trips are the ones where you get in, do business and get out. After coming to this realization, the best thing I started doing was to plan ahead and reach out to contacts in advance, making time for relationship building. Many frequent business travelers belong to organizations, like EO or ClubCorp, which can help facilitate this. It takes a little planning, but the end result is an expanded network and productive, enjoyable business trips."
Josh Sweeney, EO Atlanta
Founder and CEO, Atcore Systems
7. Read a Book
"This is surprisingly simple. The key though is to pick out a book that will expand your horizons and open your mind to new points of views and possibilities. Spending three hours in a train or eight hours in a plane doesn't have to be a dull experience. I always bring a good book and spend that time absorbing all the knowledge available to me. By the time I arrive to my destination, I feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day, instead of feeling jet lagged or exhausted."
David Tomas, EO Spain-Barcelona
Co-founder, Cyberclick Agent
8. Create a Checklist
"I have a list saved on my computer that I have built up and refined over the years. Before I leave, I print it off and use it is a checklist for everything that I would need to take with me on my travels. It's also categorized by the type of trip so I don't have to overthink or miss anything. For example, if there is going to be a black tie event, it lists everything from bow ties to cufflinks. My wife used to laugh when she first saw my list, but now she gets me to print one for her to use!"
Justin Doobov, EO Sydney
Managing Director, Intelligent Finance
9. Never Nickel and Dime
"I no longer look to get the cheapest flight possible. I learned that these low cost flights actually often come at a much higher price. Pay a little extra to get good flight times so you're fresh for both your business meetings and your family when you come home. I also try to book directly with the airline. I've had to make a reservation change or salvage a trip with delays and the airline says they can't help me because I booked with a third party vendor."
Marc Gutman, EO Colorado
Chief Meeting Officer, Lighthouse Conferencing
10. Rewards Cards
"Certain rewards cards allow you free access to airport lounges, which otherwise charge high entry fees. These lounges provide a wide array of accommodations: comfortable chairs, Wi-Fi, television, desks, meals and desserts, alcohol and coffee-all for free. When you have a short amount of time between flights, you can take a moment to rest or to eat a healthy meal. If you're heading home after a long day of meetings, you can unwind with a drink before your flight. During long layovers or delays, you can even do a few hours worth of work in a comfortable setting while you wait."
Vladimir Gendelman, EO Detroit
Founder and CEO, Company Folders