BEFORE THE JOURNEY BEGINS
Always Keep a travel case ready
For frequent fliers, having to pack, unpack and pack yet again is tedious and there’s always a chance that in the last-minute rush, you’ll forget something. So, keep a travel case semi-packed all the time: Your travel kit with sample-size toiletries, universal power adaptor—all stay in there. Before your journey, you just need to add your clothes and you are good to go.Pack smart, travel light
Carry whatever you cannot afford to lose in the cabin baggage, plus a change of clothes. Pack classic cuts in basic colours, so you can mix and match. Think ‘uniform’. Shoes take up a lot of space, so don’t take more than two. And match your clothes to the shoes you are taking, rather than the other way around. Crush-proof clothing that will withstand the journey is a given. Roll clothes to save space. Have designated areas for each item, so you don’t end up rummaging through your suitcase to find things.Know where you’ll be going
Carry a detailed itinerary with key contacts, confirmation numbers etc. Take an extra backup: Mail the information to a cloud-based email account you can access anywhere. A mobile wallet (Passbook for iPhone, Lemon for Android, Google Wallet) could make this easier. You can also pre-programme your GPS with all the addresses you need to visit (meetings, restaurants, sightseeing).AT THE AIRPORTTake it easy
Just in time may work in other areas of your work life, but a dash to the airport through heavy traffic is guaranteed to get the pressure up. Give yourself plenty of time to get there and reach early. Use the waiting time at the airport as your ‘me’ time—get a foot massage, find a quiet spot and read that book, or get a drink.
ON THE PLANESleep well, eat well, and use the opportunity to unwind
Set your watch to the destination time the moment you board and follow sleep and meal patterns as if you are already at your destination. This reduces/eliminates jetlag. And if it is day where you are going, don’t open your laptop for work. Use the undisturbed time to catch up on movies, TV serials, music, games or books. Walk around the cabin every hour for a few minutes.
If you are trying to sleep, music is a better option than watching something on a screen.
Drink plenty of water and don’t overdo your alcoholic drinks.Beat the red-eye flight
Night flights from India to places like Hong Kong and Singapore are killers, especially since you tend to rush straight for meetings and take an evening flight back. Take a wash-and-change room near your meeting, grab a 45-minute power nap lying flat on your back, get up, shower and you’ll be ready and fighting fit for your first meeting.WHILE AWAYDon’t put your life on hold
Follow your routine—call home every day; follow your workout and diet routine; listen to music that makes you feel at home.Act like a local
If you visit the same city often, discover your favourite haunt—a café, a park, a promenade—and make it a habit to visit it. As a ‘regular’, you’ll feel more at home.
Take a break, make a memory
Sightseeing is a great way to unwind. Take a small excursion, catch a concert, go see your favourite painting at the museum. Years later, when your business is done there, these are the things you’ll remember.Resources1. Cyborlink.com: On international business etiquette and culture
2. Skift.com and businesstravellers.com: for news, hotel and flight reviews and more
3. For country-specific tips, visit the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s ‘Travel advice by country’ page, the Executive Planet website, or the US Department of State website.
4. maiden-voyage.com: A free social network for women business travelers
Infographics: Sameer Pawar
(This story appears in the 22 March, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)