You don’t have to travel every week to be considered a “road warrior.” Anyone who travels for business on a regular basis will probably agree with the following three tips. And if you are new to the traveling regimen, you might benefit from these nuggets of wisdom.

Tip 1 - Be Prepared

For the business traveler, packing a suitcase should be just like packing your briefcase and, if managed correctly should take the same amount of time.

Keep your toiletries, technology bits and other travel necessities in a designated area ready for packing. Many of these can be stored in your suitcase so they are not afterthoughts or forgotten altogether. Those of you thinking about how the umbrella you bought on your last trip will be an excellent addition to your 20-piece umbrella collection know this is a good suggestion.

One of the great things about traveling is that you rarely see the same people week to week. Keep your travel clothes organized in your closet in sets, ready to grab and go. Coordinate your weekly wardrobe so you only require one pair of work shoes for the week.

Travel delays should be expected, especially during the winter months. Technology has really improved the quality of my “hurry up and wait” time spent at airports. My iPad has any number of books, periodicals, movies and music available. A multi-hour delay goes by much faster when you are entertained.

Identification is a critical element of traveling today. Travel with two valid photo IDs, like a driver’s license in your purse or wallet and your passport in your briefcase. If for any reason you lose your purse or wallet, you will have backup identification in your briefcase.

Tip 2 – Be Productive

Synonyms for productive include creativeindustrious, and fruitful. Being productive doesn’t mean you have to knock out the Q3 financial results, create the annual board of directors PowerPoint presentation, or even complete your expense reports during your travel.

Being productive means identifying the task(s) that will make you smile or cause the greatest sigh of relief when you are done. Preparing for the next day’s presentation might be just the task that will ensure you are relaxed and get a good night’s sleep so you can be at your best the next day. 

Today, many airlines offer onboard Wi-Fi. As a business traveler, I find this to be a good value. Traveling coast-to-coast, I have more than four hours of fairly uninterrupted time to respond to email, teach myself to use a new software application, or just to look at my work week and feel comfortable that nothing has slipped through the cracks.

Tip 3 – Be in the “Zone”

Time zone, that is! There is a Zen saying I really like: “Wherever you go, there you are.” I am sure that there is a much deeper philosophical meaning to this phrase, but for me it has always meant getting into the local time zone.  

I change my watch, phone and computer almost immediately after I get on the plane. It sets my mind in the time zone where I will be landing and spending the next several days. It is critical that you get your sleep pattern adjusted so you can get a good night’s sleep to be at your best. As many physicians will tell you, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most effective tools for maintaining your health.  

What do airplanes and the Mojave Desert have in common? A severe lack of humidity! Avoid drinking alcohol—even when it’s free! Stay hydrated by drinking more water. Being dehydrated can lead to fatigue and muscle weakness – not good traveling companions!

These are the three tips that I live by when traveling: 1) Be Prepared, 2) Be Productive, and 3) Be in the “Zone.” If you have more suggestions, please let us hear how you take the challenge of travel and make it more manageable. I know I can certainly be productive with the best expense management software.

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Mobility Essentials for Expense Management

Mobility Essentials for Expense Management

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