5 New Year’s Resolutions for the Business Traveler
When considering New Year’s resolutions, your first thought might be to focus on personal goals, like eating healthier or hitting the gym more often. But if you spend a large portion of the year traveling for work, don’t overlook the power of setting goals to make that time more enjoyable. Here are five resolutions to set you up for success as you hit the road in 2017:
Resolution No. 1: Slow Down
No matter if you’re flying or driving, whether you or your company book your travel, try to slow down en route. Finalize your itinerary early and allow more time in between destinations. Make an effort to pack ahead of time and efficiently so you don’t start a trip rushed. Arrive at the airport early and enjoy a break before you’re on the move again—or treat yourself to the perks many airports offer, such as a day spa, airline lounge or fine-dining restaurant. Then, compare your non-rushed travel day with your typical routine and see which stacks up more successfully.
Resolution No. 2: Make the Most of Your Time in the Air/On the Ground
Travel can provide the perfect downtime to brainstorm or strategize. Use the time away from the office to discuss plans, dream up new ideas or create—concepts that can get lost in the day-to-day hustle at work. If you’re flying or taking the train, prep to catch up on some rest, set up your mobile office, or at the end of your trip, reward yourself by catching up on some personal reading or entertainment.
For the best in-flight sleep strategy, pick an exit row window seat to have room to spread out and a place to lay your head. Eat beforehand and carry on music or a sleep application to help you start snoozing once airborne. If you need to be productive, choose an aisle seat for comfort and organize material to get through ahead of time. If there’s WiFi available, you can reply to all those wayward emails and clean up your inbox or carry on with your usual work routine.
Resolution No. 3: Avoid Deadlines on Travel Days
Even if you choose to work en route, reschedule deadlines so they won’t fall on travel days. There’s nothing worse than combining the stress of travel logistics with hard deadlines you must meet on the way to your destination. It can be next to impossible to get much work done on a travel day, especially if the WiFi connection goes down on the plane or train. At minimum, avoid delivering high-priority projects on travel days. Instead, get them done early and arrive at your destination stress-free, or have them postponed until during or after your travel.
Resolution No. 4: Mix Business with Pleasure
“Bleisure Travel” refers to the blending of business and leisure activities by extending your trip or enjoying at least one personal adventure while traveling. “For every business trip you go on, plan ahead on visiting one new site at your destination or en route,” recommends Elizabeth Avery, founder of SoloTrekker4U.
Prior to leaving home, identify a top historic site, special museum or restaurant for even an hour-long visit. Tours can maximize your time since you know exactly how long the activity will take, and you won’t run late for any business afterward. If you don’t have time to research, ask a local or hotel staff for the one attraction that shouldn’t be missed. Another way to enjoy bleisure travel is to use hotel points to extend your stay in a destination. If you opt to have family or a friend join you for the duration of your trip, you can still get in some me-time to relax before you set out to explore with them.
Resolution No. 5: Invest in Personal Relationships
Business travel can get a bad reputation for being lonely, but there are many ways to nurture personal relationships while on the road. Text loved ones frequently throughout the day to check in, and schedule phone or Skype dates at times you know you will not be distracted, such as a solo meal. Choose an activity to do “together” even while apart, such as watching the same show at night and then discussing it. Business trips also allow unique opportunities to invest in old and new relationships. Connect with long-lost friends when you visit their city. Or network and make new professional contacts while you’re on the road.