Nevertheless, in a world of smartphones and rapid technological innovation, there have never been more ways for entrepreneurs to go it alone and get things sorted without the stress.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out from your business travel:
You don’t actually need a PA to handle your travel plans – these days, there are many apps designed to remove the pain from planning and keep your itinerary on track.
1. The hotel
Choosing a hotel needn’t be painful, but most people visit more than 35 websites before choosing a place to stay. That’s a huge waste of your time, and the problem we built Top10 to solve – our app uses your preferences to recommend just 10 hotels in each location, vastly cutting back the time it takes to make your decision.
When you’re not sure where to rest your head, the standard default can simply be to book out a familiar chain hotel. Nevertheless, this kind of hotel is unlikely to give you a sense of place – you could be anywhere in the world.
For repeat business travellers, something less clinical can be good for the soul, allowing you to enjoy the experience of travelling and get a sense of the country you’re staying in. In bigger cities, independent boutique hotels like the Ace Hotel in New York can actually be cheaper than the big chains – and pack a lot more character.
2. The flight
Never underestimate the power of forward planning when it comes to booking your flights. A well-timed, well-priced plane ticket makes all the difference when you’re travelling for business, especially when you want to perform at your best on arrival.
When looking for plane tickets, be sure to delete your internet cookies on your browser – some sites remember you if you’ve visited before, and will hike up prices as a result. There are a number of apps that can assist you in the flight booking process, so it’s worth having a look to find the format you prefer. If you’ve got multiple flights to organise, apps like Wunderlist are great for getting your to-do lists in one place, helping you to stay on top of the tasks at hand.
Pack like a ninja
The last thing you want to be doing between meetings is rifling through a crammed suitcase for that elusive notebook. Be realistic with your packing – if you’re only in town for a day, chances are you won’t be spending any time in the pool, spa or Jacuzzi, so you probably won’t be needing that spare pair of goggles.
For the ultimate packing tool, search for ninja packing on YouTube and learn from the masters – there are also handy apps, like TripList, to make sure you’ve got everything you need while you’re there.
Show jet-lag who’s boss
Jet lag can lose you countless hours of productivity, leaving you drained while travelling and even more exhausted by the time you’ve made it back home.
While there’s no cure-all just yet, there are ways you can lessen the blow ahead of time: if you’re travelling long-distance, try slowly shifting your meal times and bedtimes, if possible, a few days before you’re set to depart.
Resist the urge to stick to GMT hours while you’re abroad – you won’t be doing yourself any favours, and you may find that dinner options are rather thin at three in the morning. Although not yet available, help is on the way – startup LumosTech is developing a ‘smart sleep’ jet lag eye mask which, once available, might help reduce the red-eye back home.
If you’re breezing through a city for work, it can be easy to forget where you are in the world, and what the city or country has to offer. But business travel needn’t mean endless weak coffee and air-conditioned exhibition spaces.
Wherever possible, make sure to step outside the confines of the conference room – which tends to look the same wherever you are – and see the sights. A quick wander can be as good for the mind as an evening stuck cramming for the next day’s meeting, so it’s definitely something to consider – you might even find the solution to that problem you’ve been stuck with all week!
Tom Leathes is CEO of Top10, a hotel recommendation app available to download on the App Store.