Despite the arrival of Skype, instant messaging and video conferencing, sometimes, business travel is unavoidable. As a small business owner, business travel can be the difference between closing that big deal or losing out to a competitor – so it’s important that you make the most of your travel time if you want to see a return on investment.

Unfortunately, business travel is not without its stresses. Between nearly-missed flights, unfamiliar surroundings and jam-packed itineraries, travelling for business can soon become a dreaded endeavour. While some things are simply unavoidable, you can take much of the stress away by following just 5 key steps – and, in today’s article, we’ll be taking you through each one.

1. Plan ahead of time

The key to destressing travel? Preplanning. It might seem simple, but preparing well ahead of time can provide you with peace of mind and prevent any unnecessary last-minute stress on the day. First and foremost, be organised: print off your travel itinerary, boarding tickets, hotel information and business documents in advance to avoid the unappealing prospect of paying a visit to your hotel’s ‘business centre’. If you need anything from the hotel during your stay, make sure you communicate that with them ahead of time. Whether it’s free high-speed WiFi or a hearty pre-meeting breakfast, ensure they’re aware of everything you need by calling or emailing them before you arrive.

Of course, you should pre plan effectively by ensuring your accommodation has everything in the first place – so whether you’re renting a villa in Lanzarote or a bayside suite in San Francisco, think ahead and contact your accommodation provider to remove any on-the-day issues.

2. Utilise technology

Travel technology has come a long way in recent years, with entrepreneurs inventing everything from ‘mood-changing’ wristbands to help get you through tiring flights and long meetings to virtual assistant tools that can book your travel and accommodation simultaneously. While a £150 calming watch might seem excessive, you can use other types of technology to assist you in destressing during your trips.

Use the wonders of the internet to help book and form your itinerary, utilising online services like Yelp or TripAdvisor to find restaurants near your hotel or SkyScanner to reduce overall travel costs. You could also remove the burden of carrying a stacked pile of receipts by using financial apps like Expensify to track your expenses throughout the trip.

3. Make sure you rejuvenate

While you’re away on business, staying productive while you’re working requires downtime – so make sure you work some social time into your schedule. Whether you treat yourself to a spa

visit at the end of a long day or you spend half an hour between meetings reading a book in a nearby park, make sure you switch off and relax so you can work better for longer when you need to.

Take advantage of those small spaces of time, like when you’re waiting in the airport or in those few quiet moments before take off, when you can be present and look away from the screens that surround us for most of the working day. Whether it’s turning off your phone or grabbing an early night, make sure you set some time aside for you.

4. Don’t overpack your itinerary

While you’ll undoubtedly want to make the most of your trip, it’s important to not cram too much into a short space of time. Working 12-hour days for a week is not going to be good for either your health or your mental capacity, so ensure you make time to rest between appointments.

Alternatively, mix up your appointment ‘types’ so that your brain stays active. You could book a meeting over lunch for example, giving you the chance to do business in a fresh environment. Plan smartly so that you’re not rushing around to different clients, suppliers or networking events. While you might think that organising back-to-back meetings is an efficient use of time, you’ll find that if you’re over-tired, you might miss the opportunities you travelled for in the first place.

5. Pack luggage smartly

Packing before your trip doesn’t mean you have to cram as many things into your luggage as possible. Be smart about the things you need to bring and leave out unnecessary items. A simple way to ensure you pack all of the right things (and leave out all of the wrong things) is to write a definitive list of only the essentials, ticking off each item as you pack. If there’s space left at the end, then pack any extras.

With important meetings and networking events taking place while you’re there, unnecessary stress can put you on the back-foot as you’ll not be working to your best ability. Whether you’re planning ahead or leaving yourself time between appointments, taking the stress out of business travel doesn’t have to be a momentous task. Follow our 5 tips and you’ll be well on your way to a stress-free trip on your next business endeavour abroad.

Nick Ball is Marketing Manager at Optima Villas and has lived on the island of Lanzarote since 2001.

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