Top Business Travel Tips for Staying Productive on the Road

For most organizations, the measurement of an average workday spans eight hours, whether that be in a traditional office setting or a hybrid environment. Numerous factors influence productivity levels, including inessential meetings, casual conversations between co-workers, and ongoing interruptions. In fact, industry studies reveal that approximately half of the workday goes unutilized.

When you add business travel to the mix, the obstacles to remaining focused and staying efficient can be even greater. This can result in missed opportunities for both companies and travelers. Utilizing travel time more efficiently can free up rest and relaxation for road warriors while optimizing company resources in a way that advances business goals.

Most business travelers understand the value of best practices for trip planning, like booking in advance and packing light, but there are further ways employees can increase efficiencies and increase productivity on the go. Here are our tops tips for ways your team can make the most of balancing work objectives with the demands of travel.

Strategize Flights, Optimize Layovers

Prioritize booking direct flights. Flying direct eliminates the connection factor that can lead to hassles, including the possibility of missing connecting flights. This enables you not only to arrive punctually at important meetings but also removes the stress factor of a missed flight or an unnecessarily lengthy journey.  

Embrace the early bird approach. The best chance at avoiding delays and cancelations is to fly between 6:00-7:00 a.m. The first flight of the day has a major impact on the airline’s schedule and is less likely to be affected by other flights. Additionally, if your flight is canceled, you’ll have more time and options to consider for your backup plan.

Capitalize on long layovers. This is an ideal time to complete simple tasks, leaving you with more time for meetings and key activities during your trip. If you have an extended layover, consider sitting at a café and enjoying your favorite beverage while efficiently managing your email inbox. This not only brings you closer to achieving a “zero inbox,” but also allows you to return to the office feeling refreshed.

Make the most out of flight time. If your schedule is full, take advantage of onboard Wi-Fi to stay on top of your task list. Some airlines, such as Delta, provide free Wi-Fi to registered loyalty members and others allow you to purchase Wi-Fi with points. For those who frequently spend time at cruising altitude, United Airlines even offers a monthly Wi-Fi pass.

Plan for Productivity

Create an essential task list with immediate goals. It’s always a good idea to make a list of priority job functions and tasks to be completed upon arrival. The oft-disorienting effects of travel can leave you feeling drained and deplete your ability to maintain sharp focus, especially when crossing time zones or making the journey from one coast to another. Leverage your alertness and energy at the beginning of a trip to set yourself up for success for the duration of your trip.

Optimize your temporary work environment. Once you arrive at your hotel, make your temporary workspace conducive to productivity. Find a quiet area in your room or identify nearby coffee shops and co-working spaces where you can focus without distractions. Consider noise-canceling headphones and portable ergonomic accessories to create a comfortable and efficient work setup.

Leverage technology. To efficiently prioritize productivity, you need to embark on your journey with the right tools. Most airports and hotels provide complimentary Wi-Fi, however consider getting a mobile hotspot if you’ll be an area with spotty internet access. Additionally, utilize project management software and enterprise collaboration platforms to streamline your workflow and stay organized. These tools can help you track deadlines, stay connected with colleagues, and efficiently manage your tasks while on the go.

Prioritize Health and Wellbeing

Stay healthy and hydrated. By taking the simple step of drinking plenty of water throughout your trip, you can improve both your physical and mental wellbeing. This is especially important before and immediately after a flight since cabin air is largely devoid of moisture. To avoid single-use plastic, it’s a smart idea to pack an empty water bottle. Most airports now offer water stations conveniently located in terminals. Plus, with this sustainable practice, you’ll be contributing to a healthier planet.

Get at least seven hours of sleep. Traveling can disrupt your sleep schedule, leading to fatigue and reduced productivity. To combat jetlag and ensure you're well-rested, try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night while you're away. Consider staying with the same hotel brand to ensure familiar surroundings that will make it easier for you to adapt and form healthy nighttime habits.

Establish an exercise routine. Long flights and sedentary work can leave you feeling sluggish. Incorporating physical activity into your routine can help boost energy levels and improve focus. Take advantage of hotel amenities like fitness centers, pools, or yoga classes. Even a brisk walk or a quick workout can be beneficial for your overall well-being and productivity.

Join Loyalty and Trusted Traveler Programs

Get TSA PreCheck. Save time and reduce stress by applying for TSA PreCheck. This is one of several trusted traveler programs that expedites the security screening process for approved travelers. As a member, you’ll enjoy dedicated security lanes and avoid having to remove shoes, belts, and light jackets, as well as liquids and laptops from carry-on bags at more than 200 U.S. airports.

Research lounge memberships. Make the most of your travel time by enjoying the comforts of airport lounges. Lounge memberships offer a peaceful environment to relax, recharge, and be productive. Take advantage of amenities like complimentary beverages, snacks, Wi-Fi, and quiet workspaces. Some credit cards offer lounge access as a perk, providing you with a comfortable and convenient space during layovers.

Enroll in free loyalty programs. If you travel frequently for business, identify the loyalty program benefits that may be offered by your company’s preferred travel suppliers. Benefits may include priority check-in, complimentary Wi-Fi, room upgrades, access to executive lounges, or late checkout—all of which have the potential to improve your travel experience and enhance productivity.

If you’re interested in learning about additional ways to streamline the journey and increase efficiencies on the road, consulting with your trusted travel partner can yield further benefits for both your business and its travelers. Contact Direct Travel to learn more about how we can help you elevate your corporate travel program.