Travel has become a necessary part of life, it seems, and not just for work, though that is important too. Increasingly, people have begun to understand that travel makes everything in your life better. It teaches you how to be more creative and flexible; it develops problem-solving skills; and it becomes a necessary component of relationship development. If you have an upcoming trip and want to make the most of your travel time, then you’ll want to pay attention to the following five tips. They’ll make your life on the road easier, whether you’re traveling for business, pleasure or both.
In the tech age, it’s nearly impossible to go on vacation without being connected to some electronic gadget. However, needing to be connected at all times, at all hours of the day flies in the face of everything that vacations are supposed to be about.
Granted, there are times when you do need to connect to work, even when you are on vacation. Trying to find the balance between beach and business can be more challenging than you might realize. Jason Borrevik, a consultant with Compensia, finds a few things helpful when it comes to unplugging on vacation.
First, try to leave the computer at home. While you may need computer access to check emails, you don’t necessarily have to get access from your own computer.
Internet cafes exist all over the world, particularly in busier cities in Europe, like Berlin or Prague. These Internet stops allow you to check email and be available when you need to be without having to carry your computer around.
However, there is some effort required to get to them and to use them. This factor actually works in your favor when you’re on vacation because you have to mentally break out of vacation mode to work. If the purpose of your vacation is to, well, vacation, then having a stopper like this in place allows you to spend more of your vacation time vacationing and not working.
To make this plan work, set aside some time to deal with business stuff, say first thing in the morning. Let your colleagues know that’s when you’ll check your email and deal with business matters that can’t wait. Once that window of time is over, leave the Internet cafe and go on with your vacation routine.
To find out where the local Internet cafe will be at your destination, do a Google search before you leave home to identify those stops along the way. If push comes to shove and there are no Internet cafes, then look for a hotel that has a business center
Copy Your Passport and Other Document
If you’re traveling abroad, then you’ll need your passport and other important documents, like medical records, says Jason Borrevik. The Nomadic Matt website suggests that travelers make copies of these documents to email to yourself. (You’ll want a very secure password on that email.)
If you lose any of these important documents, the emailed copy becomes the basis for a police report and replacement documents.
Batteries, Razors, and Toothbrushes
Losing your luggage is the worst. For however long it takes the airline to find your stuff, you will be out some important items, like a toothbrush or a razor or whatever else you need to complete your daily routine. To prevent the situation from getting the best of your travel plans, make sure important items like your toiletries go into your carry-on. Be careful however that you don’t pack anything in your carry-on that may be a security issues, such as nail clippers or tweezers.
The same could be said for a change of clothes, something that becomes doubly important if you have some sort of business event immediately after you land. Lost luggage will still be annoying, but it won’t ruin your day.
Learn the Language
Learning the local language and culture where you’re going does more than make ordering breakfast easier. It can also be a way to connect with people who can eventually become friends and even new business collaborators.
Here’s the thing about learning a language. No language develops in a vacuum. A culture develops with it. Cultural faux pas count as one of the big stumbling blocks for businesspeople.
For example, the work environment in German offices is different than it is in American offices. Why is this important? Well, Germans don’t work when they’re sick, according to the BBC. What’s more, they won’t feel guilty about staying home. This may conflict with the expectations that some cultures have about working regardless of how you feel.
Cultural and linguistic understanding help you negate the possible misunderstandings that come from the situation above (and others like it). While you may learn about these things at home via a home study program, there is no better way to really learn a language and a culture than by being there. If you have the opportunity to travel abroad, then make the most of it by learning about the language and culture.
Here are two tips that will save you a bundle of money when you travel. First things first, if you can stay at a place that has a kitchen, then do so, says Jason Borrevik. Think about it. When you’re at home, you don’t eat out every night. The tourists in your city may do that but you don’t.
By extension, when you are traveling most people in the city are not eating out in restaurants. They’re the locals and you’re the tourist. But if you want to save money, you don’t need to live like you’re the tourist. Live like the locals do, like you do at home. Eat most of your meals “at home” in your hotel. Go grocery shopping and cook for yourself if you have a kitchenette.
That said, if you must go out, then try eating your big, expensive meals during lunch. Most of the time, the meals will be less expensive, even if the menu is similar. Most places offer lunch-sized portions of your favorite dishes at a more economical price than their dinnertime counterparts.
Making the most of your travel time means that you develop new skills and new relationships, too. Taking simple steps, like making sure that you have a carry-on filled with items, like a toothbrush or razor helps to ensure lost luggage won’t be the thing that trips you up. Additionally, experienced business travelers, like Compensia’s Jason Borrevik, like to leave their electronics at home and work in Internet cafes and hotel business centers if he must do any work while they’re on vacation.
Finally, photocopying important documents, opting for cheaper meals, and taking the time to learn the language also take your travels to a new level. Lost documents are more easily retrieved if you have copies of them. Eating at home means you have more money to spend elsewhere, and learning the language means that you are ready to meet new friends and possible business acquaintances wherever you go.