In my work at Hipmunk, I’ve observed a lot of would-be travelers—and I’ve noticed some patterns among those who identify as leaders. Great leaders, it seems, prioritize leadership qualities in all aspects of their lives. They uphold high standards, use time judiciously, plan ahead, and keep the big picture in mind. Even amidst the stresses of travel (whether for business or pleasure), successful employers cultivate leadership in a variety of ways—wherever they may be. Travel like a leader by keeping the following tips in mind.
1. Save time on trip planning.
Don’t let trip planning drain energy that should be spent prepping for an absence from work. Instead, use a travel-planning service like Hipmunk, one of the best tools out there (in my unbiased opinion) for easily comparing prices and amenities and booking flights, hotels, and car rentals all in one place (The service is also available as a free mobile app.)
2. Communicate and delegate.
Don’t leave employees in the dark while you’re away. Before departing, clearly communicate how long you’ll be gone, who’s in charge of what in the meantime, and how often (if at all) employees can expect responses to phone calls or email. Successfully delegating tasks will help ensure things run smoothly; it also signals to employees that you trust their abilities.
3. Prep electronics for travel.
While proper delegation will hopefully ward off any office meltdowns, unexpected issues can arise. Prepare to handle work emergencies from anywhere by syncing important files to a travel laptop, setting up remote login access to your office computer, equipping electronics for safe browsing on public Wi-Fi, and packing the right battery chargers.
4. Pack smart.
Prioritize efficiency while traveling by packing in accordance with TSA guidelines and the U.S. government’s travel checklist. Practice the 3-1-1 rule for carry-on liquids, leave prohibited items at home, have proper identification handy, and follow other tips for breezing through security at the airport. Instead of being addled by travel stress, you’ll arrive calm and collected at any destination.
5. Set personal expectations.
Some employers completely unplug while they’re away; others find they actually feel more stressed if they don’t check email occasionally. Be honest about your own needs and set reasonable expectations in advance in order to get the most out of traveling. The trip (and your team) will be better off for it.
Perhaps most of all, strong leaders recognize that seemingly minute choices can actually make a big difference. Using time wisely, giving employees space to impress, preparing for emergencies, and establishing appropriate work-travel boundaries will empower anyone—from managers to CEOs—to practice leadership anywhere in the world.