Tips for Traveling Solo for Business

We asked expert business travellers like world renowned speakers and entrepreneurs what to do, what to bring and how to make certain that everything goes smoothly on a business trip. Here are their top tips.

1. Tap into networks to minimise solitude

We’re surrounded by hundreds of intriguing people and possible business opportunities in airports and resorts yet business travel remains predominantly a lonely and dull activity, says regular business traveller Cenk Gurz.

His solution to fight the “awkwardness of reaching out” was to install Btrfly, an app which allows business travellers to incorporate their travel programs and job details to share with other people in an identical situation. Users moving to the same conference or event can join via the program and discuss cabs to and from the airport, in addition to making new acquaintances.

2. Go remote

Daniel Rowles often travels for work as CEO of Target Web, a digital marketing training firm based in Brighton. He began using Chrome Remote Desktop to keep tabs on his work in the home. This will permit you to log in and use strong office computers from a travel-friendly tablet or low-powered notebook, which can enable you to travel light and maintain expensive equipment secure, he says.

3. Schedule in downtime

“When I’m travelling by myself, I schedule low-key activities such as going to a spa and taking a walk in the morning to clear my mind. If I’m with colleagues I always schedule a team-building activity so it doesn’t feel like work,” says electronic marketer and regular traveller Aniesia Williams.

Carolyn Pearson, founder of women’s business travel network Maiden Voyages, agrees. If I can tag on a weekend at the start of a business trip, I will make certain I get to my meetings rested and ready to work, in addition to the jet lag, she says. I always make sure I reserve spa treatments ahead of time.

4. Use your flight time

Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and CEO of PeoplePerHour, utilises the hours of uninterrupted flight time on business trips to clear his thoughts and concentrate on the big picture and mastering mindset. All of us have a to-do listing of things we are putting off till we know we will not be interrupted, and budget clocks are always on top of mine, he says.

As well as applying the time for practical items like this, I also set the time aside to write and strategise. It gives me the space and clarity to consider the bigger picture and not just the daily running of the organization.

5. Use technology to stay in touch with colleagues

Ted Nash, from tech group AppBox, utilises Slack, Jeri and Google Hangouts to communicate with colleagues while they’re on the street. Wherever a team member is on the planet, we are still able to communicate as a group immediately via Slack, he says. What we like about this tool is it gives us the capability to socialise all in a single place — this assists our ethos of being completely transparent as a staff, and business.

Mr Thrasyvoulou, meanwhile, favours WhatsApp for business travel, I really find it the most user-friendly and useful method of keeping in contact when on the move, he says.

6. Less is more when packaging

Expert business travellers do not check luggage. Save time with a carry-on and prevent the risk of losing your luggage, says Michael McCormick in the Global Business Travel Association. David Chapple, from the Business Travel Show, recommends using a program like Dufl or AirPortr, meaning that you don’t need to travel with your luggage in any way. No luggage is perfect for business coaches who offer small business coach training as it often leaves them travelling around the country from city to city.

7. Eat well to remain healthy

Instead of using business travel for an opportunity to over indulge in all-you-can-eat breakfasts, make certain you care for yourself so you’re in good shape when you return. Skip the junk food in the airport. Forget about Burger King, visit the healthy salad bar next door and get yourself great mix of vegetables and protein together with the dressing on the side.

If you feel like you will need to have something sweet then buy a few squares of chocolate from one of the numerous restaurants, but avoid that giant brownie, advises Jacob Morgan, author of the Worker Experience Benefit and frequent business traveller.

8. Choose a home away from home

When travelling for business, it is important to choose accommodation that fosters a sense of community and is not all about work. Giovanni Valentini, General Manager of Staybridge Suites — London Vauxhall states, three times a week we hold an evening reception called ‘The Evening Social’, providing complimentary food and beverages for our guests.

We find this is a superb way for those staying with us to network and build strong personal and professional relationships.

There are Five Staybridge Suites situated in business hubs across the UK, offering rooms with fully equipped kitchens so that guests can cook for themselves. Each includes an on-site convenience store known as ‘The Pantry’ along with a 24-hour fitness center and business center so guests can rest and work regardless of the time zone. Any business coach would suggest good work-life balance to improve worker productivity, the same goes for on-the-go business travelers.

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