Time is money, and this adage is especially true for business travel. According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), annual costs of business travel exceeded $1 trillion last year and continue to rise. Although video conferencing and other tools help businesses to interact with customers and prospects, it isn't a substitute for face-to-face meetings and relationship development. GBTA says that business travelers are spending more days on the road than ever. The average business traveler spends about three weeks away from home each year.
Travel is crucial to winning new business, closing deals, and developing supplier relationships around the world. Total costs needed to accomplishing business travel in the global economy are growing at about six percent a year, but it's also getting easier than ever to stay productive while traveling. We've put together a list of time-savers can help productivity keep pave with travel costs.
Improve Your Travel Efficiency
Optimizing business travel and improving productivity and time savings requires the right tools. Employee travel perks can motivate many business travelers to save time and travel costs. Mobile devices can help the business traveler in search of better communications and efficiency.
There's no need to spend hours on the phone to book flights, hotels, rental cars, or other transportation on the ground. Exchanging dollars to local currency no longer requires high money-changing fees. Use mobile apps and technology to shave time from your travel schedule and save money at the same time.
Effective Use Of Travel Time
Change your perspective. Instead of viewing travel time as a chore, consider it as "me time." Travel to developing high-growth markets like Brazil, China, and India require the business traveler to spend hours in the air. A long flight can give "extra time" needed to enjoy movies, clear the email inbox, or read a book or magazine for pleasure.
Resist the temptation to work at full pace on a long flight. Although some preliminary to meeting tasks may be required to prepare for a meeting, it's fine to take an in-flight nap to avoid the impact of jet lag. Bring your own travel pillow and blanket to best enjoy extended travel time. In contrast, use all "dead time" effectively: make phone calls or draft emails to send later.
Create a new folder in your email inbox for information and confirms relating to each trip. Easy access to this information can save time if travel delays occur. Many free travel organization apps are available for your tablet or phone as well.
Review work items and cross off other small things on the to-do list. Since it's unwise or impossible to nap in these situations, use the time in a productive way to lessen the tedium involved in waiting. Time used efficiently is also likely to improve your productivity and energy.
Time-Saving Travel Tips
Most business travelers know the importance of packing light and confirming flights, but not all consider the importance of these time-saving tips. Think about:
- Purchasing travel tickets in advance. If you're planning a trip, buying tickets well in advance can save thousands of dollars and reduce time needed to make last-minute arrangements. Safely store tickets to ensure they aren't lost or stolen in the interim.
- Make one-step itinerary changes (and immediately share these changes with home and office) by selecting from a variety of free mobile travel apps. Stay in touch using mobile face time apps or use home monitor apps to check thermostats, pets, and more.
- Check for travel alerts concerning your international destination. Keep your passport up-to-date. Making a master pre-trip checklist to ensure you don't forget business travel essentials. A variety of free mobile apps can organize your travel plans and/or reduce the time needed to arrange travel. Some travel apps help you check flight status or available airport parking without making time-wasting phone calls.
- The weight and dimensions of your travel bag. Check carrier requirements before boarding the plane. Carry-on bags are decreasing in size, and the risk of added destination wait time is avoidable. Weigh your bag and confirm the carrier's maximum hand luggage size before heading to the airport.
- Why you should travel light: hand luggage decreases the possibility of lost, delayed, or stolen bags. Keep a pre-packed carry-on for last minute travel at home and the office.
- Keep a well-stocked, carrier-appropriate toiletry bag in your travel bag. Include a mobile charger, batteries, or adapters to maintain device function.
- Dress for travel security success. Wear slip-on loafers or deck shoes. Avoid belts, metal jewelry, and wear one or two layers of clothing at most.
- Pre-flight check-in and pre-printed travel tickets are a must to save time. A long check-in line is completely avoidable. Avoid peak travel times. The "red eye" or late night flight avoids wasted time in carrier delays, taxi queues, and on the ground traffic (and usually reduces travel costs).
- Arrange a car and driver at your international destination if rushing to a meeting is a necessity. Develop a short list of hotels that know you to reduce required check-in time. You're likely to get more travel perks or extras at these hotels.
- Shorter trips of a few days can improve productivity and efficiency. Relationship development may benefit from shorter visits and wear and tear on the traveler is reduced. Getting home for the weekends is important for work-life balance.
- Taking time to exercise and eat healthy meals is important to living well. Increased endurance and personal health save time in the long run.
If you're driving to a business travel destination, plot your route using a reliable GPS or mobile app. If you're renting a vehicle, plan in advance to reserve your vehicle. If you're using a personal vehicle, keep track of business miles.
Make sure your vehicle is equipped with an all-purpose electrical and device charger, because some travel apps drain batteries quickly. Packing a snack and beverages can make a road trip less burdensome. There's no need to search for a convenience store or eat unhealthy drive-through meals if you're on a tight schedule. Taking the train can also be an enjoyable way to arrive at your business travel destination. Avoiding the stress of airport parking or rental cars at the destination is another way to save time and improve your business travel experience.
Planning business travel definitely saves time for busy people. Saving time is often one of the ways to save money. Increased sales, reduced supplier costs, or strengthening business relationships are all reasons that businesses spend employee time and travel budget. Enhancing your business travel is also an important consideration. Automating and anticipating your travel needs is another way to spend more time achieving career or personal goals.
Depending upon the employer, business travel can mean hotel or airline rewards and other bonuses. Ultimately, though, improved efficiency and better results are the reasons most employees want to save time on business trips.
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