People who don’t travel much will often think that business travel is exotic. Interesting cities, nice hotels, restaurant meals all seems so much better that the everyday “humdrum” existence they live!
Then there are the people who actually travel for business, whose view might be a little different. Longer hours, no home cooked meals, miss their own bed, hotels are all the same when all you do is use them to sleep and shower, restaurant meals get old and then there is the time away from family. Not often mentioned but equally off putting is the exposure to germs and people you might not otherwise choose to meet! Too often you find yourself in an aircraft where invariably you are sitting next to a large person who overflows into your space, and has a very obvious cold!
Now that I have put business travel into context, it IS a valuable, and needed, activity for any business that has multiple locations or even just clients in multiple locations.
Business owners approach travel with the goal of achieving their business needs as effectively and as “cost effectively” as possible! Here are some business travel tips from a business owner:
“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.” Benjamin Franklin
- Book ahead! Last minute travel is costly… and does not allow you to plan your days as effectively as you might.
- Look at travel options… don’t go with the same airline all the time just to collect points! In Canada I might travel on Westjet, Air Canada or Porter based on price, convenience and my travel needs for a given trip.
- Be frugal with hotel bookings. Generally it’s just a bed and a shower. You don’t need the most expensive hotel. I find a reasonable place, convenient to my meetings. I often use sites like Hotwire to get great rates and have friends who use airbnb.
- Limit travel in business hours. I get early morning flights when headed west, and late evening flights when headed east. This means I can maximize my time at my destination. For example if I leave Toronto at or before 7am I can arrive in Calgary or Vancouver around 9am local time, giving me a full day in that city.
- Look after your body. Eat well, get enough sleep and work out. You don’t even need a gym to work out! Pushups, ab exercises, squats, lunges, walking the stairs etc. are all good exercise that you can do anywhere.
- Travel with hand sanitiser. In the “germ environments” of planes and hotels it makes sense to act like a health professional. Wash your hands often!
- Travel with supplements. You will likely not get the nutrients you get with your regular diet so bring vitamins, ColdFX even some pain medication. It will help you stay healthier and hence more effective.
- Limit your alcohol intake. It is easy to let this get away from you when you are visiting colleagues and clients in other cities. Exercise some restraint, your body will thank you.
- Take materials with you that will make your travel time effective. Catch up on reading, create a reading file with photocopies or cutouts of articles. Put materials on your kindle, iPad or other reader.
- Travel light. Learn to pack effectively and think through your wardrobe… if you can travel with carry-on luggage only you will save time and aggravation. (Learn to us an iron… there is one in most hotel rooms).
- Spend like it is your own money. As a business owner it IS your own money! Tip appropriately, but not extravagantly. Choose reasonable but not crazy restaurants. Take the team for a couple of drinks, but don’t make a night of it.
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years like most people won’t. So that you can live the rest of your life like most people can’t.” Unknown
These are lessons I have learned over the last 18 years owning and operating my own business.
What tips do you have to share?