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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Three Tips For The Trip By Car
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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Three Tips For The Trip By Car - Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Three Tips For The Trip By Car

Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Three Tips For The Trip By Car

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation*, 95% of business trips of distances between 99 and 249 miles are made by way of the traveler’s personal automobile. When that distance is increased to between 250 and 499 miles, drivers still outnumber flyers, 67% to 31%, and why not? Traveling in one’s own vehicle means no airport stress, no rental car stress, and the availability to pull over and take a break for any reason and for any duration. Gone are the worries about carryon limits, the long wait at the baggage carousel, and the intrusion on your personal experience by crying children, loud snorers, or overly talkative fellow passengers.

With all the attention paid to the business trip by air, it seems that the specific needs of the business trip driver are not typically addressed, so here are three tips for that majority of us who take to the highways rather than the airways.

Mind Your Health.
One thing long flights and long drives have in common is long periods of sitting, which can be a real detriment to your health. If you’re driving to a conference two states over, you won’t have the ability to move about the cabin or do any of those keep-the-blood-circulating exercises you read about in Forbes. However, as Carole Margolis reminds us in Business Travel Success: How to Reduce Stress, Be More Productive & Travel with Confidence (Morgan James, 2012), you’re never far from the next rest stop, so whether you’re filling the fuel tank or pulling over for a bottle of water, take a few extra minutes to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Do a few laps of the parking lot, or take a few photos at a scenic lookout. If you’re playing any of the multitude of geolocation-based smartphone games, enjoy the novelty of checking in at as many new places as you can reach by foot without adding too much to your travel time.

Depending on the length of your drive and the duration of your stay, you might also take advantage of the extra space in your car by packing whatever exercise gear you’re into, such as a bicycle, tennis racquet, workout clothes, or home workout equipment. Of course you’re not in town to play games or visit the beach, but if those things are available and you’ll have the time, you don’t have to sacrifice your regular exercise regimen just because you’re on someone else’s turf.

Make the Most of Your Time.
For all the advantages driving offers, one disadvantage is the inability to get in a few hours of dedicated mile-high officing while in transit. Yet, while re-ordering those PowerPoint slides is out of the question, a certain amount of productivity can be found even along the black ribbon of America’s highways. Those pesky phone calls can finally be returned if you have hands-free options either in your car or via a Bluetooth headset. While text-messages are certainly a no-no when behind the wheel, voice-activated mobile operating systems are now able to convert voice commands and transcribe text messages as you dictate them. This is the kind of technology that you should be very familiar with BEFORE you use it on the road, so play around with it for a few days before your trip, until you can do it with absolute safety.

The hours on the road are also a good time for brainstorming, thinking through those sticky problems that you’ve been putting on the back-burner for the past few weeks, or even just setting your priorities, goals, and agenda for the day, Margolis suggests. Keep your voice-activated note-taking mobile apps at the ready, or save your ideas to jot down on a piece of paper at the next rest stop.

You might also use this time to get caught up on current events by way of the local radio stations, or the latest commentary in your industry via podcasts.

Be Safe.
Margolis reminds us that safety is first, and suggests a car-specific checklist of items you might need, such as basic tools, jumper cables, and a roadside emergency kit. You wouldn’t pack for a flight without an airport checklist, so don’t pack for a road trip without an automobile checklist, and make sure your vehicle is up for the trip, whether it is a short cruise to the next town or an all-day drive across four state borders. Make sure your insurance is up-to-date, and keep your auto club phone number in your phone. If you’re going to stop for a meal along the way, lock valuables in your trunk before you pull into the restaurant parking lot so that nobody knows what you’re hiding. If you’re traveling alone, as you almost certainly are, consider paying the extra for valet parking at the hotel, thus avoiding walking across dark parking lots in unfamiliar places. Margolis adds that some hotels offer solo female travelers valet parking at the self-parking rate. It’s definitely worth asking, at least, whether you’re female or not, for the reduction in stress this service offers.

America’s love for its cars has always been a two-edged sword, and for all its downsides, there are many upsides, including a generally car-friendly culture that makes business travel in one’s personal vehicle a better experience in multiple ways than travel by air. By making the most of the advantages driving offers, your trip can be productive without being disruptive of your work, health, or safety.


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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Three Tips For The Trip By Car - Executive Leadership Articles

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