If you have more than one office or remote team members, you probably want to stay connected with them. And even if you love videoconferencing — we sure do — sometimes you just need to meet up in person.
But when you take long flights and cross time zones for work, the experience can be draining. That’s why it’s so important to learn from the experiences of people who’ve mastered the art of international travel for business. They’ve figured out how to stay focused after 14 hours of flying.
So we went to Redbooth’s management team — many of whom know the route from Silicon Valley to Barcelona very well — and gathered their favorite business travel tips for keeping international business travel energizing and productive.
It all starts with packing your sneakers so you can…
1. Hit the ground running
“When traveling across time zones (especially trans-continental), plan to get a good run in when you arrive. By running 10K or more, I reset my body clock and cut down on jet lag!”
— Jon Sonnenschein, VP of Product
If you’re going to run, you’ll need to dress the part! On her blog A Runner’s Trip, Sarah Lavender Smith shares a runner’s packing list with serious runners who don’t want to fill up multiple suitcases with running gear. A world traveler, trail runner, and coach, she’s traveled the world with her family and figured out best practices and strategies.
One of her essential strategies: “Get used to doing laundry in the sink.” (Check out her post to find her favorite piece of specialized laundry gear for traveling runners.)
2. Bring a good book
“Bring along work-related books for the long flight. Haven’t had a chance to catch up on that leadership book? Your business trip is the perfect time to do so.”
— Carlo Beckman, VP of Customer Experience
Need a good book recommendation? Choose the right project management book for your personality style, or check out excerpts here on our blog from books that walk you through the process of coming up with fresh ideas, creating authentic organizations, or understanding the paradoxical traits of innovative leaders.
3. Take the fast track
“Sign up for Global Entry — the time you will save in the TSA pre-check line as well as the express line for US immigration is well-worth the $100 fee, which is good for 5 years.”
— Charles Studt, VP of Marketing
Global Entry is a program run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), but in fact it’s open to more than U.S. citizens and permanent residents: citizens of the U.K, the Netherlands, Germany, Panama, South Korea, and more are also eligible to apply.
Signing up takes some legwork: After applying online, you also have to get to an enrollment location for an in-person interview (and don’t forget to bring along the required ID). But once you’re all set, you can travel more efficiently, leaving you with more free time to see the local sites — or open up your laptop and catch up on work.
4. Get ready to work
“Planes are the ultimate productivity machines. Prepare your laptop for the trip and be ready to spend some good hours of uninterrupted productivity. No internet, no co-workers, nothing better to do. I specially enjoy preparing slides, writing essays, and of course programming that impossible feature.”
— Pau Ramon Revilla, CTO
Once your laptop is prepped and you’re on the plane, the next big question for extra-long flights: will you be able to power your productivity, especially if your laptop battery isn’t in its prime? SeatGuru digs into this question, explaining how to figure out if you’ll be able to plug in your laptop on the plane, depending on the airplane itself and where you’re sitting. You’ll also find a list of power adapters to consider.
For even fewer distractions while you write those essays, consider installing writing software that’s designed to help you focus: check out Gizmodo’s guide to distraction-free writing apps, including plenty that can be used offline for Mac or Windows.
5. Enjoy some peace and quiet
“A pair of noise-cancelling headphones is CRITICAL to enjoy some music, read without the engine noise, and be able to follow a movie or two during a long flight. I even sleep with the noise-canceling headphones switched on but without any music (actually have them unplugged).”
— Jordi Romero, VP of Business Development and Platform
If you haven’t yet experienced the peace and quiet that noise-cancelling headphones can bring to a long flight, you’re in for a real treat! Before purchasing a pair, explore these detailed and friendly roundups of noise-canceling headphones from The Wirecutter: your choice of in-ear or over-ear models.
If you’re a glasses-wearer, you’ll appreciate that author and headphone-tester Geoff Morrison even tried out each over-ear set while both wearing and not wearing his eyeglasses (yes, it makes a difference!). Rushing to catch a flight and price is no object? Pick up the pair of headphones that Geoff himself purchased — he says, “I wouldn’t leave home without them.”
6. BYO food and snacks
“Pack healthy food for the flight. It is guaranteed to be better than anything on your flight or at the airport. Keep it light and healthy to avoid feeling too full and slowing yourself down. In addition, you’ll eat when you want, not when an airline decides.”
— Dan Schoenbaum, CEO
We can’t all fly on one of the four airlines that Vogue has identified as having the best food out there. And with space and security constraints, bringing your meals aboard isn’t quite as simple as it used to be. But does this mean you need to be limited to what’s served on board — or in the terminal where you’re waiting to board? No way!
Get inspired by ideas and recipes from The Kitchn’s take on bringing food on your next flight…and from the 100+ reader comments that follow, many from experienced travelers who insist on brown-bagging it in style (one example: “I usually make croissant sandwiches with smoked salmon, creme fraiche, cucumber and dill”). And as one commenter reminds us, be sure to amp up the flavor in advance — your food really does taste different in the skies.