Has anyone ever been an international road warrior?  It would be great if you could share how you handled some of it.

A buddy of mine (yep, really, a buddy, not me.  I wish I was up for this job) is on a short list for a job that will require intensive international travel for the first year.  Special marketing branding project. The plan is to travel to Asia from Toronto every other week for the first 6-9 months with an occasional run to Europe. 

So we were chatting about how you handle various aspects of the job.  Neither of us know anyone with this type of experience. 

So with all the travel and time changes, how do you handle communications back to your team?  How do you manage O3s?  Do you get a lot of lieu time to compensate for the travel time?  How does Jet lag factor in?  How much work can one really do in airports and on a flight?  Do you insist on executive class?  Sitting scrunched in economy for 15 hours would be brutal once, never mind on a regular basis.  Any insights are appreciated. 



dad2jnk's picture

I have done a fair bit of long-haul travel and it is always the most unproductive part of the trip.  Listen to the admin travel pod-cast for some really good ideas to mitigate this productivity chasm.  I usually print things out to work on instead of work on my computer screen.  Too many eyes behind you to work on anything sensitive.

Some things I have found while leading my roller-board like a dog down the street.

Nothing gets done in coach.  Too many eyes and not enough room.  If you are expected to be productive while traveling, fly in the front.

Get a Kindle (sorry Terri).  Keep it fresh.  Get a subscription to WSJ, Economist, or your favorite blogs.  Beats hauling around the latest 400 page tome.

Nothing gets done sitting in the lobby.  Too many loud cell phone conversations, too many people coming and going, and too much jet-lag induced ADD.  In many international terminals (Heathrow leaps to mind, but also AMS), you are not allowed to go to the gate until check in and then herded into the staging area like cattle. 

My recommendation follows M/M.  Get one airline you like, accumulate all your miles there, and then have the company purchase a year of the airline's lounge.  Delta and AA/BA have nice lounges with meeting rooms and privacy when you need it.

Fly a route routinely.  That way you know flight times and options, airport conditions, where to get a cup of decent coffee or a meal that doesn't come in a wrapper.  I fly through Detroit a lot and know there is a good Japanese restaurant in concourse A and a decent pub in C.  MSP has a few good places to eat.  ORD - not so much - stick to the snacks in the lounge.  AMS some good breakfast fare. 

O3s are the most difficult.  I try to keep up either early morning or late evening depending upon the time zone and jet lag.  Unless your boss is accustomed and buys into O3s, your cell bill will get some unwanted attention.

Executives never get lieu time to compensate for travel days. 

Eat right and don't drink too much.  I usually lose weight on trips, but that isn't the norm.  Find a hobby that get you outdoors.  I like geocaching because they are all over the world and don't have time constraints.  Running and walking work too.  Clears the mind.

I'm sure I have missed some things and others have good advice.

dad2jnk (Ken)

markwalsh99's picture
Training Badge

Learn to sleep on the plane.You may find that you don't get as much opportunity to do so at your destination if your schedule is full-on. I don't think you can get much done on the plane other than reading IMO, so it would be better to use that time productively. A VP I used to travel with seemed to be able to force himself to sleep almost instantaneously. I thought it was because he was old (!) but when I asked him, he told me that he'd trained himself to do so.

Time in lieu. Yeah right. The nearest I got to that was to organise my schedule on my return to make sure I got a bit of time to sort domestics. If I was travelling over a weekend at both ends of the trip, that was just tough. Although I always made sure I got 8 hours sleep back at home, regardless.

Business Class flights. Until I started doing it, I thought it was a perk, but it's a necessity. Sometimes, in a full-on schedule, the only place you get to have a bite to eat or just a sit-down not in a plane or in a meeting room is at the airport lounge. If you do have to travel economy, then allow a bit more time out to do domestic stuff either end of the flight. It's Managerial Economics 101; companies wouldn't pay a premium for Business Class flights unless they thought that it allowed their executives to be more productive.


asteriskrntt1's picture

Thanks for sharing Guys

Love the story about the old VP LOL.  I have listened to the travel casts.  Lots of great content. 

I passed your experiences on to my friend.  Much appreciated.