Small business owners, like me, have found that it is critical not to be tied to the geographic area where the business is located. With all the available tools it is easier than ever to have clients in far-away places. But, you still need to show up from time to time. Unlike, bigger operations that have travel resources we are often left to fend for ourselves. Lately, I have been traveling a great deal so I decided to take the best tips I have learned and share them.
Be a Minimalist
I have figured out that you need to be a minimalist when traveling. The more you take the more you have to keep track of. It goes without saying that you want to pack light- but that also applies to all the devices we now carry. I limit myself to three. Sure there are others but do I really need everything? It’s even better if some of your devices can be powered by the same cord. One thing I do take is a small travel power strip or power pack so I don’t have to fight for an outlet in an airport.
It’s also a good idea to get a tiny roller bag that will fit on the smallest plane-under the seat or in those unbelievably small overheads. That way you don’t have to gate check it and risk missing your next flight.
Be a Planner
I try to always plan to take the first flight out and actually have cities I refuse to connect through. That’s because I have been stranded way too many times. Now I check to see how many flights there are out of the connection city to my destination so I have options. The last trip I took, all four flights were delayed but I still got there, worked and got home the same day.
I also check alternate airports that may be an hour or so from my destination. Sometimes smaller airports are less costly and not as busy. It’s worth the drive.
Finally, I try not to fly on Mondays and Fridays.
It’ easy to spend a lot of time in the airport since you must be there early and there is a lot of sitting on the plane. If I know I am going to be traveling I put aside projects that require less than an hour to complete. This is the work I take with me. That might be a blog post, a small proposal for a client, an employee evaluation or something for review. I load these up on my laptop with all the associated files in a folder. One by one I knock them out. I actually get a lot done because I don’t get interrupted. Now that the FAA has eased the rules on the use of electronic devices on planes, we have even more time to get work done.
Always have a back-up plan. Travel never goes as scheduled. It’s always something…. bad weather, mechanical problems, meeting cancellations and the list goes on. I always have alternate airline schedules with me, a plan to cancel hotel and car arrangements and other contingencies. Sometimes getting to the job is actually harder than doing the job when you get there.
Whether you travel for business or pleasure, following these simple tips can make for a more productive and enjoyable trip. Safe travels.