The fourth quarter of any year usually means a ton of travel for ladies on the go. Most of the major conferences I attend are packed into September, October and November, so I have to keep my travel essentials light, my flights productive and my lifestyle as healthy as possible to withstand any challenges that may arise. If you’re traveling a lot this season, here’s what you need to do to knock fall business travel out of the park.
1. Minimize the tech you have to pack in your carry-on.
Boss ladies absolutely have to travel with a portable laptop, so that’s a given. But I often see other passengers on a flight with giant tote bags filled to the brim with a huge, heavy laptop, a giant pair of over-ear headphones and cords sticking out everywhere. It’s helpful and efficient to streamline your tech so you have less to juggle on the plane. Laptop chargers are a necessary evil, but I love using a wireless charging pad (I find Belkin has the best battery life) for my phones. I can charge both my Android and iPhone without having to deal with crazy cords and switching between multiple chargers.
I used to be guilty of hoisting around giant over-ear headphones that were heavy, had their own separate carrying case and were overall extremely clunky. I recently pared down to a pair of wireless earbuds, and I’ll be the first to admit it has made a night-and-day difference in my travel comfort. Finding the right wireless earbuds can be tricky, so try a couple different brands before finding a pair that is just right. I like the Master & Dynamic wireless earbuds that fit my petite ears yet still provide great quality sound for their size.
2. Network with your seatmate before opening your laptop to do work.
I have utilized this tactic for years and it’s still tried and true. Once I’m seated and buckled in, instead of immediately opening my laptop and starting on work, I’ll make an effort to converse with my seatmate. Generally, people are pleasantly surprised when you turn to them, smile and introduce yourself. It immediately puts them at ease and most of them will open up and begin asking you questions about yourself and what you do. I have met people who ended up becoming business associates, clients and even a mentor from utilizing this time and time again. Try it on your next flight — you never know where the conversation may lead.
3. Stay hydrated while traveling.
There’s tons of literature out there on why people need a healthy amount of water to stay hydrated and fully functioning. Traveling has always disrupted my efforts to drink as much water as all those articles say we need. It’s more than just TSA making you throw away plastic water bottles. Sometimes the plane ride is too turbulent for beverage service to take place, or you’re on a short connection where no beverages are served.
To mitigate these issues, I got in the habit of bringing my own water bottle when traveling. It’s handy to have your own non-disposable water bottle to keep you hydrated. Just fill it up from a water fountain after you get through security and you’ll be good to go. I know it sounds cumbersome, but you can find one that is easy to carry and aesthetically pleasing (I like EQUA for those reasons).
4. Be alert and ready for your meeting when you land.
Post-flight, I usually reach my destination with a full agenda greeting me upon arrival. I literally have to hit the ground running. You can always find a Starbucks in the terminal, so if you need caffeine to function after a long flight, grab a green tea or coffee on your way out of whatever airport you just landed at.
This has worked for me in the past, but these days I prefer more efficient options. I alternate between a Strike Force Energy packet or a Coffee Pixels coffee bar when I’m deplaning. I can just pop either one into my mouth when landing and be off to the races. Both items are small and fit easily in your purse or carry-on yet pack a punch without you having to stop and pick up a caffeinated beverage while on the way to your meeting or speaking gig.
Business travel can be challenging, but hopefully the above tips help make your journeys more efficient and less stressful.