Traveling for work is fine, to a point. But after a while it can suck sitting in airports, spending time away from family and dealing with jet lag. But seasoned travelers know there are tricks to making it easier on yourself. Take some tips from a handful of super-travelers who say they've figured out how to take some of the pain out of traveling for business.
1. Leave and return at a normal hour.
"People might want to save an extra $100 or so by taking that red-eye flight, but it's not worth it because you end up so tired upon arrival. I always like to think about my travels with that final destination in mind and choreograph the plan so that when I step off that plane, I feel like I'm ready to take full advantage of the finite time I have to spend there. And throw out the guidebooks when you arrive, too. Experience the city like a local, not like an American tourist."
--Elliot Tomaeno, founder and CEO of ASTRSK PR, a New York City-based PR agency
2. Keep visits short to lessen jet lag.
"My cofounders and I moved our lives from France to San Francisco to build Tribe. Because of this, we are constantly traveling to different time zones for business trips or to go back to Paris see family. When I change time zones, I try to stay in that city for less than three days to allow myself to keep my daily rhythm. A big part of being a CEO is being on top of your game 24/7, so allowing myself to skip the jetlag hassles is a massive factor in deciding my travel schedule."
--Cyril Paglino, cofounder and CEO of augmented video messaging app Tribe
3. Use jet lag to get stuff done.
"Take advantage of your jet lag if you are traveling internationally. If I wake up super early in the morning, instead of being stressed, I will do some work."
--Sarah Zhang, business lead and head of developer partnerships of Segway Robotics
4. Find time to do something fun.
"Being the CEO of a startup means that my schedule can sometimes be unpredictable. I don't always have a lot of time for leisure, so I make an effort when traveling, even for work, to see what I can do for myself. I might have a speaking engagement in the morning but try to leave the afternoon free for a better work/life balance."
--Zhifei Li, founder and CEO of Mobvoi, the only firm in China equipped with its own Chinese voice recognition, semantic analytics, and search technology
5. Stop worrying and learn to love layovers.
"I've seen a lot of startups blow through their travel budgets because their teams insist on nonstop flights only. With Wi-Fi on planes and in airports, I don't think people are significantly less productive in transit than they are at the office, so spending $300 extra to avoid a 40-minute layover in Chicago is a horrible use of company resources for early stage businesses."
--Jamie Hodari, cofounder and CEO of national coworking provider Industrious
6. Always have a spare outfit in your carry on.
"Your suitcase might not be there when you arrive. Drink water and eat healthy food during your stop over. The jet lag will be much easier to overcome."
--Louis Verspreeuwen, cofounder of aroma diffuser company Pilgrim Collection
7. Keep your travel bag ready to go.
"Always have a pre-stocked 'go' bag with all adapters, plugs, toiletries, change of socks and underwear for that quick or unexpected overnight meeting opportunity. I ditch the roller for my favorite, the Timbuk2 Jet Pack which looks like a business bag and has quick access to the iPad or laptop. No more returning to the hotel or bellman."
--Greg Leekley, founder and CEO of the music app Vertigo
8. Be shamelessly inquisitive.
"Ask a cab driver where he goes for peace and quiet in the city. Ask a jogger where the best hiking trails are. Once you're there, interact with the people and the culture. On your first night, you should always go and watch live music if you can, it helps you get a feel for the soul of a place and to meet like-minded locals who help open up the city in a magical way. After that, turn off your phone and invest in your surroundings, keeping your eyes peeled, and immersing yourself in another culture is the only way to really see it. You can do that anywhere, in a city, on a beach. It's an attitude rather than a location. Get lost intentionally and let your intuition be your ultimate guide."
--Tom Marchant, owner and cofounder of luxury travel company The Black Tomato Group
9. Always choose overnight flights when traveling long distances for business.
"That way you can sleep during the flight and wake up on the correct timezone, feeling refreshed and ready to hit the ground running. It also helps to avoid major jet lag."
--Grégory Veret, founder and CEO of device management company Xooloo
10. Track your inbound aircraft.
"You'll often find out about delays much earlier than the airline notifies anyone else. Use an app like Flightview for iOS to find the flight number for the inbound aircraft, and then use Plane Finder to track where the plane is in the air. You're at the gate and your flight departs in one hour and it's showing on time, but your inbound aircraft just departed for a three-hour flight? Time to rebook while seats are still available."