You know it’s a bad sign when the barista at the airport greets you by your first name. I used to think of travel time as unproductive, but it can be just the opposite. As a regular at Tegel Airport, I have learned a few tricks to make traveling for business more enjoyable and have found ways to best use of my so-called “down time” when I travel.
Here are some of my Business Travel Productivity Tips –
Online/offline – Most airports offer free WiFi and once the airplane door shut you are pretty much cut off from the digital world – not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Once I’ve grabbed a coffee and exchanged pleasantries with Hans the barista, I head online to clear out emails and social media clutter. I don’t have a lot of time, so I am focused on emails that can be resolved quickly and social media updates that are no-brainers. Anything that requires my full attention gets flagged for follow-up. This way when I land, I can focus on putting out any fires before I head off to the next meeting.
On the plane – For me, this can be a very productive period. I can view my presentation or work on a new article. There are relatively no distractions – no email, no cell phones, no texts – allowing me a few hours of uninterrupted work. Yes, this article was written plane as I headed off to Heidelberg for client meetings. Typing away serves to discourage a chatty neighbor on long flights – unless of course, Sir Richard Branson should choose to fly coach with me to Frankfurt, then chat away I say!
Share local – Creating new fresh content can be a chore, but a new environment can be a catalyst for new ideas. Marketing is about telling your story and sharing tidbits about your trip to Tunisia can be great fodder for social media. Also, it makes you more human. You’re more than a niche business topic. I have had folks chat me up about pictures they’ve seen posted on Twitter – it’s a great icebreaker.
Shout outs – Everybody loves a good shout out. “I had a great time working with the folks at Bank of Ireland,” This lets you promote your client in a genuine way. Obviously, be selective about what you share online and ask permission before posting any pics from meetings and such.
Stay in the moment – I have had many business trips that consisted of airport, meeting, hotel, meeting, airport. Ugh! Seriously, you´re in Mallorca – get out of the hotel and walk around. It takes a little effort, but if you can take the local sites and meet the locals – you’ll feel like you’ve been somewhere. This summer, I got to build sand castles on the beach at Playa del Sol, explore Heroes Square in Budapest, and see the Book of Kells at Trinity University, Dublin between client meetings and airports.
Add a day or two – You’ve already paid for the airfare, what’s another night in the hotel? If you get a chance and your schedule permits, why not spend an extra day taking in the sights? Who knows the next time you’ll be back in Mumbai?
Business travel can be a chore, especially if it’s part of your regular routine. I hope these tips will help you enjoy your travels. I would love to hear what you do to make your business travel enjoyable, drop me your ideas in the comments below.