In the business world, time is money.
Time doesn't stop for anything, including your 4-hour flight layover or a trip to the hotel pool. Thanks to the power of technology, we can make the most of our time during business travel.
There are hundreds of smartphone apps and cloud systems available to make every second count. Using these technology time-savers will not only help you beat the setting sun, but they will also allow you more time for hard-earned play.
Do you have a work trip coming up soon? Read our guide below to learn how to make the most of your time.
Being able to optimise your time during your business trip goes hand in hand with being prepared. Having your meetings planned upfront, making sure time sensitive work tasks in the office are handed over and having your cloud native work tools set up are key. However, what role can technology and apps play to further enhance your efficiency, think about your personal wellbeing and help you to maximize your time off while being on the road?
1. Timezone Management
Having cleared up your normal work calendar before your business trip would be ideal but in many cases not realistic. Keeping track of your normal work calendar alongside your meeting schedule for your trip while being in different time zones can be tricky. If you work in a global team, this will even bring an additional challenge.
Cloud based calendars and collaboration tools designed for teams such as Google Calendar, Monday.com, Slack, Microsoft Teams or Calendly are widely utilised. However, managing your meetings and communicating across different time zones doesn't always go seamlessly. Plugins or separate tools to tackle this challenge can bring the solution. Team Timezone for Slack, Every Time Zone or the Time and Date app are examples that can help you to manage your calendar during your business trip. Best practice would be to install the tools and familiarize yourself with them before departure.
2. Arrange Accommodations
Most corporate companies focused on international business have a company travel policy in place supported by a booking management system. However, if your company's travel policy allows you to book your own arrangements or if you are an entrepreneur, it can also be interesting to look for alternative solutions besides known platforms such as Hotel.com or booking.com. Airbnb offers a solution suited for business travelers via Airbnb for work. Here you can find accommodation offering all the necessities for your remote work place, book accommodation for when you are travelling with a larger team and you can book activities through the platform if you wish to change up your basic business meeting.
In case you or your company booked an accommodation without a good desk or if you are looking for a more inspiring space to do your work, a co-working space on location could be your solution. Companies like Regus and Flydesk offer hybrid work and meeting rooms where you can reserve a private or co-working space to facilitate your needs.
If you have to travel to multiple locations on one business trip, it can be time consuming and challenging to keep track of all your itineraries. Luckily nowadays, we can use apps to help us out instead of having to print out all the documents.
TripIt is an app that can help organize all your hotel, dinner, and travel reservations in one platform. By bundling all separate itineraries in one overview, you can make your life easier. Apps like Wanderlog allow you to connect your email and create itineraries. You can also use the app to find local attractions and restaurants. Both apps are functional while being offline, preventing the need to log into possibly unsafe public WiFi while trying to receive your pre-booked reservations.
We also recommend doing research prior to your trip to understand your destination's transit system and transportation options. Many large cities have city-specific public transit apps that allow you to purchase travel passes and monitor bus and train schedules.
4. Travel & Wellbeing
Everyone who has travelled intercontinentally for work knows that it can be rewarding but also demanding. Sitting on the plane for long periods combined with busy schedules and time zone differences can take its toll. Health technology and apps can support self-management and provide you a guide to stay as fit as possible. The Jetlag-app developed by Timeshifter provides tips on actions to take or not to take based on your itinerary. Simple notifications on when to see or avoid bright light, not to drink caffeine or try to take rest can help you along the way. The app also works offline.
Keeping track of your sleep, mental wellbeing and other key health indicators while travelling can help you to take rest at the right moments or confirm that you are managing your calendar in the right way. The Oura ring can be the right travel companion on your business trip and if you wish, can be linked to your Apple Health or Google Fit app to bundle the data with other possible health or fitness trackers.
Day of Travel
Working while commuting can be challenging. Changing locations, slow WiFi, bad or cramped work spots to sit down and surrounded by a busy environment making it not your regular day in the office. How can you still make the most out of your day?
1. Work at the Airport
Most airports (especially larger ones) provide good office spaces and lounges. In general, these spaces can be booked if you are a member of a frequent flyer program. If you are not a member of any loyalty program, you can try out LoungeBuddy. Through their website or app, you can book airport lounges worldwide against a fee without being part of any loyalty program.
Purchasing lounge access, especially on long stopovers can be worth it considering that it often includes food and drinks and provides a good space to work. Some business lounges or airports in general also offer good facilities to relax such as saunas, swimming pools or golf simulators. Being able to wind down on your stopover can help you to arrive rested and ready for your business meetings.
2. Work in the Air
Working while flying is often far from ideal as it brings multiple challenges. However, if you need to travel long distances, a flight can quickly cover a workday. What can you do to stay productive while being in the air?
WiFi onboard is starting to gain traction and more airlines are adapting it against different pricing models. Airline WiFi offers a good list of airlines offering WiFi onboard including their prices. Do bear in mind that WiFi isn't always offered, especially not during short haul flights. If your flight doesn't provide WiFi or if the offered pricing doesn't match your wallet, then it's a good idea to think about possible files you wish to work on before departure. Most cloud based platforms such as Google Drive and Microsoft's OneDrive offer offline modes. Your edits will be automatically synced when you arrive and have an internet connection again.
Unless you fly business class including seats that provide privacy, you will be working with other travellers by your side. In case you are working with confidential materials, this might be an issue. In that case, you can consider placing a screen protector on your laptop or tablet which provides small viewing angles.
3. Find Your Way and Luggage
Before your flights, especially if you have to deal with stop-overs, research the airports you will be landing in to be more efficient. Most larger airports provide maps on their website that you can use to navigate from one gate to another or to the baggage retrieval point. Once arrived at the baggage retrieval point, depending on your arrival destination and baggage handler, it can take a significant amount of time before your baggage comes out on the belt. To utilise this moment to quickly check your emails, communicate that you arrived or look into your itinerary while not missing your baggage, tags can help you to focus without missing your baggage. Apple's Airtag, Samsung's Galaxy SmartTag, Chipolo one or Title tags all are supported with apps that can notify where your baggage is located.
Stay Connected While Travelling
Doing business as usual while travelling might be challenging without a proper internet connection. Especially if your trip takes place abroad, you might want to skip the high roaming charges of using your home operator. Public WiFi is always a choice, when you need to find an internet connection. Many cafes and restaurants provide free WiFi while you enjoy an afternoon snack. You can use WiFi Finder to locate the nearest WiFi in the city you are at. There are several apps available for this purpose and many of them can be used offline as well, but you need to download the map on your mobile device before you travel.
1. VPN Gives Safety
While public WiFi is a good option for many of us, it poses security issues that some might not know of. Dangers of public WiFi include for example theft of personal information and session hijacking. To browse the internet safely we recommend using a VPN service that encrypts everything you send and receive over a WiFi network. If you don't have a VPN on your mobile devices and computers already, consider downloading a good one before you leave.
2. Access High-speed Internet Anywhere
Another issue with public WiFi, besides security, is that it is not always available. From the minute you land or leave the comfort of your hotel WiFi, you could have time to answer a few emails, prepare for the upcoming meeting or would just like to read the news. While it is good to have a little digital detox every now and then, time is money and being out of reach of the internet is not an option for most business travellers. If you recognise yourself from this, then you might be interested in the Goodspeed app for iPhone and iPad, which provides secure and reliable internet globally.
Do Not Forget to Have Fun
One of the best things about business travel is that you get to have a change of scenery. Avoid cabin fever by planning fun and/or leisurely activities. There is no reason to not take advantage of the unique experiences your work destination has to offer. Turn your business trip into a "bleisure trip".
1. Get Around in the City
Google is a good friend when you want to research the attractions and restaurants in your destination. But if you want to find out which cafe has the best Macarons in Paris or what restaurant serves the best paella in Barcelona, you might want to check out apps like Foursquare City Guide and Tripadvisor.
If you are looking for inspiration on the go, then try out the AroundMe app that allows you to search for the nearest restaurants, ATMs or movie theatres.
2. Interact With Locals
The best local experiences are those offered by residents. They know the sights and delicious eats located off the beaten path that you won't find on your bucket list. Platforms like Meetup bring together people with similar interests all over the world. You can meet new people, visit a museum or hit a brewery tour, depending on whatever you are interested in.
Another way of finding experiences of the city you are in is booking one with local residents through the 'experiences' tab on Airbnb. You'll get a unique look at the city through the lens of someone who knows it best.
3. Enjoy the Outdoors
Sometimes the best way to have a break from work is to get a good dose of fresh air. Discover the best hiking trails or biking routes at your destination with Komoot. The platform has a big variety of trails for different sports, from urban paths to rural locations. You can filter the activities based on your fitness level and the time you have to spare.
The Power of Technology: Stretching Beyond Borders in Business Travel
Use technology to improve efficiency and fun for your upcoming business travel. Because whether you are on the ground or in the air, technology is there.
Use desktop and smartphone apps to schedule meetings, book hotel rooms, create itineraries, and establish dinner plans. Sign up for cloud-based work systems to collaborate in real time with team members.
For affordable and reliable data roaming while traveling, check out Goodspeed. We're available in over 80 countries and offer a couple of different plan options. Check out the rest of our site, and use Goodspeed for your next business trip.
- Michael & Susanna @Goodspeed