Business Travel Advice

Random Observation/Comment #564: “There’s no place like”

I love to travel, so when I was offered a chance to run some workshops in APAC for two weeks, I emphatically agreed. Here were my series of reactions:

  • Celebration. Woohoo! I’m going to check-off Australia and Singapore!
  • My standard “travel research” routine. This basically consists of me indulging in travelporn destination photos, foods, cultures, and activities.
  • Business logistics.
    • Contacted our key people in those areas and asked for availability and advice.
    • Jammed my schedule with the regular litany of meetings and agendas.
    • Notified all my regular meetings in NY timezone of my travel and delegated to appropriate groups.
    • Prepped outline of random knowledge and objectives of what I wanted to learn from the trip.
  • Plan some boondoggles. I had two Sundays where I would have time to explore a bit of the city and have a few fun meals.
    • For Tokyo, I had the goal of seeing the Owl Cafe, walking around imperial palace, and eating some much needed authentic ramen and sushi.
    • For Singapore, I wanted to see the Marina Bay floating boat, Orchard Road for some street food, and the Supertree Grove
    • For Sydney, the Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens, and Bondi beach (my colleagues gave me a huge list, which would have likely taken a week instead of the 2 days I had)
  • Packing
    • Start-up business casual. For 11 days, I packed, 1 suit, 4 button ups, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 blazer, 1 sweater, 4 t-shirts, 6 white under shirts, 6 pairs of underwear, 6 pairs of socks, 1 pair of shorts, 2 pjs, and 1 pair of black dress shoes.
    • Critical laundry day at half way point. Even if Antony wasn’t awesome and provided this service while I stayed with him, I think this would be a necessity.
    • Folding/Rolling. Apparently, there is a wrinkle-free way to fold your jackets and suit pants:  – I wound up rolling the jackets and pants in many layers
  • Prep for writing
    • I expected to do the “what Sydney does well” and “what Sydney can improve” and “Sydney lessons learned”, but I don’t think I stayed long enough or immersed myself in enough of the culture to make those assumptions. Instead, I took a few photos and enjoyed my walking days.

What Worked?

What I wrote sounded awesome, right? Well, yes, but only in theory. The trip was a bit of a blur due to jetlag, long flights, and late night coding sessions to prep for the workshops. I didn’t expect the lack of sleep to get to me, but I wound up getting around 8 hours of sleep in 3 days. Luckily, the work I had prepared and the coverage from the NY team got rid of most of those late night calls.

What Would I Do Differently?

  • Book time for networking and relaxing. Don’t try to stuff too much in your schedule and make sure you stay social with your team to build the relationships
  • Don’t expect more than one boondoggle activity. Even though I had that Sunday, I wound up working and prepping for the multiple time zones anyway. I was able to do at least 1 fun thing at each place. See below.
  • Be disciplined with email checking. This can get out of control at night and it’s always easier to put up an away message and set a certain time to go through action items that require your review.
  • Remember to write home. It’s so much easier to connect with people in the digital age, so you have no excuse not to do it. I highly recommend writing an email every night before you go to bed so at least your family knows how your day was and that you’re okay.
  • Download audiobooks and podcasts ahead of time. I spent a lot of time alone while traveling, but found it very comforting to have a podcast playing in the background while exploring.
  • Sit in the aisle seat on a plane. I didn’t realize this about me, but if I don’t sit in the aisle seat, I will not take out my laptop. There’s something about having the laptop readily available that makes me really productive.

24 hours in Tokyo

This depends on where you’re staying, but I highly recommend spending Tokyo indulging on the cuisine. Eat ramen:

Eat sushi:

Pet an owl:

24 hours in Singapore

Go to the rooftop of the Marina Bay floating boat thingy. The inside is a huge casino.

24 hours in Sydney

Walk around Royal Botanic Gardens:

Pass by the Opera House for a beer and a few selfies:

~See Lemons Love Business Travel