Leaders Know How to Travel and Pack for Effectiveness

Perhaps this seems like a tangential post, but there is an overall relationship to the concept of “Leaders Meet Needs” here.

When you travel on business, travel and pack in such a way as to maximize your ability to meet needs and minimize the possibility of distraction.

After many years of business travel, here are some opinions (not facts) on the matter:

  • Minimize the possibility of letting others down by planning to arrive early enough to provide several hours or a full day of cushion, in case of car/plane mechanical trouble or weather delay. Related to this,
  • Work to pack light enough to carry on, so you will never have to contend with a lost bag, and/or waste time with checking or retrieving baggage. More on packing below…
  • Maximize your ability to be present and effective by making good eating, resting and drinking choices. Just because you can get 6 servings of vodka in Comfort+ seats on your flight, doesn’t mean you should. Flying dehydrates, so drink hydrating beverages. And,
  • get plenty of rest. If you’re in a town with an old friend, it’s rejuvenating and good for mental health to connect, but resist the temptation to stay up late and hurt your rest; if you’re like most, you don’t sleep as well in a strange bed. (I bring chamomile tea bags and drink a cup of that before bed.)
  • Save time and mental energy by eliminating choice. Decide what you’re wearing when packing at home, and bring only that. (I have a backpack that slides onto my briefcase’s extended handle, so I can move one-handed. I have 2 toiletry bags – one if I fly, and another when I drive. This helps make packing quicker and brainless. Also, I wear my most wrinkle-prone and/or bulky clothing on the plane when I fly. If I drive, I hang clothes in the back.)
  • Map and know exactly where you’re going, where you’ll get coffee, what traffic patterns exist (Google Maps now has the ability to route directions for specific times of day and takes usual traffic into account), and where you’ll park. (Recently, I botched this – I was told to park in the ramp “just south” of the client’s building. My definition of “just south” is “across the street,” but in this case, it was one block south and one block east, and it was a 10 minute walk once you navigated the steps and crosswalks.)

Again, it’s about meeting needs by being prepared, timely, and undistracted. What pointers do you have?

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