If a manager can emulate a business owner’s approach to business travel then they will be sending a clear and positive message to their executive about their attitude.
Here are some of the things I do, and have always done when I travel:
1. I apply a common sense approach to business travel, I know it is necessary and helps me to grow my business … however each and every trip needs to be evaluated on its need and on maximising the return on that investment. Trips are expensive, each trip should be justified.
2. Travel takes me away from my regular routine, and therefore I try to maximise my use of time while still staying on top of my regular commitments. Here are some of the ways I do that:
I will try to maximise my workday in the time zone I am visiting. When I travel from Toronto to Calgary I will get as early a flight as possible, allowing me to land and be in the office as early as possible in the Calgary business day.
When I leave to go back to Toronto I try to catch as late a flight as possible to ensure I have as much working time in the Calgary office as possible. It means long days, early trips to the airport and late arrivals home … but my trip is as full of available time as possible.
Before leaving home, and before leaving the office to return home, I will load up on some “readable” items for on the plane. I can sometimes save up work for a few days and schedule to complete it on the plane.
3. I am also cognisant of the costs of travel and try to minimise them where possible. Here are some of the ways I do that:
I never travel business class for work.
I will try to book ahead and take advantage of special deals on airfares. I will also shop around between airlines, taking the cheapest flight rather than sticking with one airline so I can build my points/status.
I will also shop for hotels and take the best deals, never staying in the big name, big price places. I use memberships (CPSA) to get good rates, or will use Hotwire and other services to make sure I get a good rate.
I don’t eat at fancy restaurants as a general rule, but will entertain clients in appropriate manner whenever possible!
4. Travelling to another location should be all about them!
I try to keep my regular activities to a minimum.
I like to spend time with the management and staff at the other offices.
I love to get out with clients when I can.
Obviously there are times when things do not fall into place, but as a general rule I can maximise the effectiveness of my visits and minimise the costs of my visit by using the above guidelines.
Over the years there have been funny stories that I get to tell about some of the seedier hotels/motels I have found myself in and the airport experiences that I have had. I guess that is a side benefit of my frugality … I get to tell some good war stories!