We live in a world filled with options. One trip to your local coffee spot and a barista can confirm this simply by asking: “Would you like that machiatto decaf or regular? Low-fat, nonfat, soy, almond, regular milk or half-and-half?” However, when it comes to packing for a business trip, the fewer choices you have, the better.
Combine today’s TSA screening with limited overhead space and propensity of airlines to taxi back to the runway canceling a flight, carrying light can sometimes feel like it is not an option. According to multiple travel experts & stylists, the average business traveler packs approximately two times the amount of clothing needed for a business trip.
I’ve traveled to more than 50 countries, and most of the time I can do up to a two-week trip with one roll-aboard carry-on. How?Try these four steps, and your next business trip will be both lighter in suitcase and more substantial in style.
This article originally appeared on Inc.com. Finish reading here.
Between business meetings, calls, teleclasses and speeches, I talk a lot, forcing me to keep my vocal cords in shape. So, when I feel the ice-cold draft of air-conditioning on a long flight or the seasonal sniffles coming on, the panic rises in my throat.
The average cold can wreak havoc on your vocal cords causing inflammation, soreness and a croaky sound that I imagine is what a frog playing a kazoo might sound like. Which just won’t do when you’re facing an upcoming public presentation or performance.
I interviewed Christina Hager, a professional opera singer for ten years and current presentation coach. She had some great tips for keeping your voice in tip top shape. Click the below link to find out how.
This article originally appeared on Inc.com.
An overflowing inbox. A full voicemail. Meetings. A crisis, or three. The idea of coming back from a summer vacation, or even a holiday weekend, can fill even the most organized among us with just a slight sense of dread. To get physically and mentally into the swing of things on your return, try putting the B.A.C.K. method in place: This article first appeared on Inc.com.
One of the great things about the global economy is that it leads to meetings and conferences in locations far and wide. In between the marketing meetings and business opportunities, many groups are looking for an activity that combines experiencing the culture, seeing the city, and improving team spirit. Here are a few short, easy, and fun team-building activities to consider on your next business trip abroad. This article originally appeared on Inc.com.
I was sitting in a charming cafe in the El Born area of Barcelona last week when my cell phone started ringing a mile a minute. The first message said, “We just heard about the van incident in Barcelona. Are you okay?”
I looked up to ask my friend if she knew what they were talking about. She, however, was too busy looking at the flood of texts she was now receiving. We shortly realized that a terrorist attack had occurred a mere 800 meters from where we were sitting. A van had plowed into a group of tourists, already killing 12 and injuring dozens of others.
Within a few minutes, the entire city was on lockdown. Taxi service was suspended, helicopters were flying over century-old churches searching for the culprits, shops were sliding their aluminum doors shut, and we were requested to move inside — and stay there. We had no idea when we would be able to leave, how we would get home, or even much about what was happening.
We quickly ducked into a hotel on the square and grabbed a spot in the bar lounge, where we sat sipping sangria for four hours. The roads back to our hotel were closed, so even walking back to our Airbnb was not an option.
It was a tense, emotional period of time, and honestly I wasn’t prepared for it, but I walked away with these six important tips about how to handle this situation when it occurs:
1. Find a spot inside a hotel bar or cafe ASAP.
Within ten minutes of our sitting down in an almost empty hotel bar lounge, tourists with nowhere else to go streamed in. Many were turned away.
So your best bet is to find a cozy chair, claim it as your own, and hunker down. While you’re at it, you may want to make dinner reservations nearby as well, since those fill up in a hot minute as well.
2. Update your Facebook status.
One of the things we soon discovered was that in the social media age, information travels around the world at the speed of light. To avoid the stress of getting back to everyone who reaches out, put a general status update on your Facebook letting friends and family know that you’re okay.
One other tip: Don’t burn out your cell phone battery texting and calling everyone back home. Instead, ask one key contact person to let other people in your important circle know how you are.
3. Make a hotel reservation for the night.
In these types of situations, the amount of time you may be stuck and unable to get back to where you are staying can be hours and — in extreme cases — even days. Hotels fill up fast in these situations, so it’s a best practice to Google a few of the hotels close by and start calling to book a room for the night. You can hopefully cancel the reservation if things resolve sooner rather than later.
4. Locate a walking route to where you are staying on your GPS.
As we soon learned, walking back to where we were staying was going to be the likely outcome. Your best bet is to locate a walking route on Google Maps. Make sure to snap a screenshot of it, so you can access it later even if you don’t have an Internet connection.
5. Make friends with your fellow travelers.
There is a wonderful musical playing in NYC that was nominated for a Tony called Come from Away. It’s the story of tk passengers whose planes were diverted during 911 to a small town in Newfoundland and the townspeople who took them in. We had our own mini-experience of this. During our lockdown we met and talked with people from all over the world. We shared drinks, stories, photos, and critically, cell phone chargers.
6. Keep a level head.
The final thing I learned about these situations in Barcelona last week was to keep it all in perspective.
At one point we went to eat at the restaurant in the hotel. The staff were gracious, but understandably stressed. Meanwhile, the couple at the next table were complaining that they’d had a hard time finding a taxi to the hotel and didn’t understand why no IPA beer was being served.
Was it inconvenient to be on lockdown? Yes. But compared to those hurt and injured, or the suffering of their family members, a few hours sipping sangria in a bar lounge on lockdown is a blessing.
This article originally appeared on Inc.com.
One of my longstanding traditions has been to leave a few days on either side of a business trip to a city, or country, I’ve never visited. But like most business travelers, I still experience the occasional pop-in visit, a short trip for a single meeting or daylong conference.
Even in those circumstances, I still try and get in a few hours of the local culture. On a recent trip to Barcelona, I discovered just how much one could sneak in over a short break in the action.
Here’s an easy two-hour itinerary to give you just a taste:
Start at the Placa de Catalunya.
Begin your short sojourn at the center of the city, the Placa de Catalunya. This central square is well known for its grand fountains, neoclassical and avant-garde sculptures, and the massive flocks of pigeons roaming about looking to be fed.
It’s the jumping-off point for some of Barcelona’s most interesting neighborhoods and important streets, and a great place to start when you’re short on time. A large Apple store sits on the corner of the plaza, so if you have any Mac or iPhone related issues while on the road, you can kill two birds with one stone. Estimated time: 15 minutes.
Stroll Las Ramblas.
Walk across the Placa de Catalunya and arrive at a tree-lined group of streets known as Las Ramblas. Here you can wander down the pedestrian-only center of the boulevard admiring the architecture.
One note: Avoid eating at restaurants directly on the street — the food is expensive, and touristy. If you’re hungry, don’t worry. The next stop will have your mouth watering. Estimated time: 15 minutes.
Snack at Mercat de la Boqueria.
Even if you are not a foodie, the sheer shock of color, movement, and crowds makes this a worthwhile stop. Located right off Las Ramblas, the Mercat de la Boqueria is where tourists and locals alike come to buy fresh seafood, fruits of all kind, and the Spanish staple: Jamón ibérico. Small stands are peppered throughout the market, where you can sample the wares or sit down and have a meal. Estimated time: 30 minutes.
Marvel at Casa Milà.
No trip to Barcelona would be complete without a viewing of at least one of Antoni Gaudi’s world-famous buildings. Gaudi, Spain’s most famous architect, is best known for the Sagrada Família church–but it’s a bit far afield if you only have a few hours to spare.
Instead, catch one of the many taxis available in the city and go straight to the Casa Milà — also known as La Pedrera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hot hint: Be sure to buy your ticket online beforehand so you won’t have to wait in a long line of tourists to get in. Estimated time: 30 minutes.
Have a rooftop drink at Hotel Majestic.
Having had your fill of culture, walk a few blocks down from Casa Milà and duck into the Hotel Majestic. Head straight for the rooftop bar, where you will be rewarded with a well-made cocktail, a strong cup of café, and an uplifting view of the beach shoreline beyond.Estimated time: 30 minutes.
Find yourself with a bit more time? If you’re lucky enough to have an entire day to spend in Barcelona, add these great finds to the above itinerary.
Shop in the El Born neighborhood.
Tucked away in the narrow alleyways of these backstreets are some of Barcelona’s most stylish shops. The El Born area plays host to boutiques featuring unique home ware, clothing, gourmet foodstuffs, and more. If you’re looking for a special something to bring back home — this is the place. Estimated time: 60 minutes.
Visit the Joan Miró Museum.
Barcelona plays host to several great museums, but my favorite by far is the Fundació Joan Miró, located on Montjuïc overlooking the city. The building houses a comprehensive collection of Miró’s paintings, drawings, sculptures, and works on paper. Save time by taking a taxi there and getting your tickets ahead of time online. Estimated time: 60 minutes.
Dine at Cera 23.
I can think of no better ending to the day than the pleasure of dining at this local Spanish restaurant. Cera 23 is located down a small alleyway in the El Raval neighborhood, this eatery’s food has a great depth of flavor made from simple ingredients.
So if foie gras ravioli with cream quince sauce or black squid-ink paella with saffron cream sounds appealing, then this might just be your idea of heaven. And as it is with all great restaurants, the mouthwatering food is matched only by the excellent service. Estimated time: 2 hours.
We’ve all read the articles on how to spend three perfect days (or 39 perfect hours) in a city. While that’s always optimal, more and more businesspeople find themselves in and out of a place within a 24- to 48-hour period.
In a city like Barcelona, it’s a shame not to at least take a few minutes to stop and smell the café.
This article originally appeared on Inc.com.
This past week marked the official start of summer — and vacation season is in full swing — but a new survey from Accountemps found that 54 percent of workers say they plan on checking in with the office at least once or twice a week while on vacation. That’s up from 41 percent in 2016.
According to the survey, there were four top reasons people gave as to why they felt compelled to check in.
- Gaining peace of mind that things are under control (54 percent)
- Keeping projects moving along (53 percent)
- Avoiding coming back to extra work (47 percent)
- Preventing colleagues from feeling undue stress (34 percent)
If any of these sound familiar, here are a few strategies for how you can overcome these vacation time stealers and get away for real — goodness knows you deserve it.
Plan out specific projects vs. general to-do lists.
The key to knowing that you won’t come back to a plateful of problems is to create a list of “must do” projects that need to be dealt with, and a checklist of what specific items must get done, while you are away.
Agree with your colleagues ahead of time as to who is going to cover what. You might also want to consider assigning someone as your proxy to ensure that all work on the projects is being done on time and plan.
Create an information cheat sheet.
Provide the people who will be filling in for you with a one-stop cheat sheet Google doc of information they may need including:
- Where to find important files
- Policy and procedure notes
- Location of critical project information
- Tips they might find useful in dealing with specific people and/or situations
Use a freelancer.
Natasha Bowman, author of the book You Can’t Do That at Work! 100 Legal Mistakes That Managers Make in the Workplace, recommends sites like upwork.com, which can provide freelancers who offer peace of mind while you’re away on vacation.
“I simply provide the freelancers with pertinent information about the project,” says Bowman, who adds that freelancers are exceptional at developing presentations, drafting communications, and formatting data into Excel.
Set up your first day back now.
Avoid scheduling any meetings or phone calls for at least a day or two after your return to the office. Mark those dates off your calendar now, and make sure everyone knows those are your catch-up days.
A good formula is that for every day out of the office, you will need an hour of catch-up. So a one-week vacation requires an entire day to just find what has gone on while you were gone, and address any issues which arose in your absence.
Keep your fingers lightly on the pulse.
In an ideal world, you would be lying on a beach, your fingers wrapped around a fruity drink — rather than furiously typing texts to your colleagues. Realistically, you will have to check in to the office once or twice.
To minimize your touch-base time, use an online project management system such as Slack or Basecamp. This way you can quickly check the progress of important projects and then get back to the pressing work of hiking, biking, snorkeling, or whatever floats your vacation boat.
This article originally appeared on Inc.com.
Years ago I went to visit some friends who lived in South Lake Tahoe. As I came over the crest of the hill, the panoramic view opened up before me. White snowy mountains, a deep blue lake, and crisp green pine trees–I was hooked.
So hooked in fact that I decided to buy a cute cabin in a quiet neighborhood a few short blocks from the lake. As part of my ownership obligation, I was advised by my local realtorto make my new home as “cabiny” as possible. The reasoning behind this was that renters apparently expect a Tahoe cabin to look, well–like a Tahoe cabin.
When I inquired as to what exactly comprised this mountain-esqe decor, I was shown images of log furniture, pinecone ornamentation, and anything with a moose on it–moose placemats, moose lampshades, moose pencil cup holders, and yes, even a moose toilet paper holder.
Despite the fact that no actual moose have been seen in South Lake Tahoe for decades, the moose theme is so synonymous with cabin life that my friend Lynette and I coined the term “moosey” as a kind of shorthand to represent all things South Lake Tahoe–decoration-wise, that is.
Essentially we had transformed the word “moose” from a noun to a verb. For example, my cabin did not need an interior design update. Rather, it was in need of a moose-i-fication makeover and some moose-ing up.
The slang name for this process is “verbing.” The official term, according to etymologists, is “anthimeria,” meaning a functional shift in the use of a word.
Successful brands do this all the time. Google has now become so associated with the activity of searching the web that regardless of the search engine you may be using (Yahoo!, Bing, YouTube, etc.) the common expression is “I’m going to Google that.”
Hoping to turn a noun into a verb in your business? Bear in mind that this requires a fair amount of fate–one communications professor, Scott R. Hamula of Ithaca College, says it’s “more aspirational than achievable and involves a lot of serendipity.”
Regardless, here are three steps you can follow to help lady luck moosify (so to speak) your brand:
1. Replace a sentence for the action with a single word.
Brands that become verbalized replace sentences that represent actions with single words. For example, people don’t say, “I will Gmail that” because a word for that–“email”–already existed. They do however say, “I’ll Uber,” because prior only a sentence such as “I’m going to call a car service to get home from the party,” could convey the idea.
- What actions do people take when they use your service or product?
- Is there a current word that exists for that? If not, is there a single word you can extract to represent the action?
- Are you the first to bring this to market? If not, is there an aspect of what you are doing that is first?
- Is there a way we can make our brand an “ing” so that it is a thing?
2. Keep it to two or three syllables.
A Skype call, Google search, Photoshop image, or FedEx package. All of these have one thing in common: They’re simple to say and contain very few syllables. In general the shorter and sweeter you can keep the term, the greater the chance you have that it will catch on.
3. Socialize it.
The more you can use your noun as a verb in your marketing collateral and conversation with your customer base, the stronger the possibility that it will become verbalized. For example, Twitter created and promoted the idea of “tweeting”–and now even presidents do it.
One word of warning.
Turning your company brand into a verb can potentially endanger the trademark, if it becomes the generic term for the product or service; i.e., Xerox (for copies) and Kleenex (for tissues). Barbara Findlay Schenck, coauthor of Branding for Dummies, points out that Rollerblade inline skates spends heavily to educate consumers that rollerblading isn’t a sport; it’s a specific brand.
Consider the trademark case where Windsurfer applied for a wind-propelled, surfboard-like apparatus patented in 1968. The term was presented as a verb (windsurfing) to describe the sport of sailboarding, and the courts found the mark to be generic and no longer protectable.
If all this has your head spinning and you feel like you might need some time to step back and think about how to verbalize your brand, I’ve got a nice cabin in the woods that’s all moosed up and ready to go.
This article originally appeared on Inc.com.
I don’t know about you, but as a frequent overseas traveler, I’ve been watching the news lately and wondering if I’m taking every precaution I reasonably can to protect my safety when traveling abroad this summer.
I reached out to some industry experts and full-time travelers for their top tips on how you can stay safe from terrorism, theft and other threats when traveling overseas.
Here are the five best pieces of advice they gave me:
1. Worry more about theft than terrorism.
“While terrorism captures the headlines, you’re far more likely to be the victim of petty crime while abroad,” says Ian Wright, founder of British Business Energy and a frequent international traveler.
Eva Doyle, who travels extensively for business, recommends the following: “If you need to check a map or the GPS app on your phone, step next to a building. Not only will you not be obstructing foot traffic, you’re also less likely to be a target of pickpockets.”
2. Dress the part.
“You may not be able to blend in, but try not to stand out,” says Matthew Hulland, who runs The Travel Blogs. The key, says Hulland, is to be aware of your surroundings. For example, if you are on a business trip to a developing nation, wearing a $10,000 watch on your wrist could make you a target of theft.
Other ways to blend in and avoid being robbed, or worse, include:
- Don’t advertise yourself as being American. Avoid wearing overly patriotic T-shirts, hats, college sweat shirts, U.S. sports team apparel, etc., recommends FBI Special Agent Executive John Iannarelli, the author of How to Spot a Terrorist Before It’s Too Late. Yes, we love our country and we are proud to be U.S. citizens, but given the state of the world, all the experts suggested toning down identifying clothing.
- Leave the Louis Vuitton purse at home. Depending on where you are traveling to (i.e., Paris vs. Senegal), expensive designer purses and clothing can highlight you as a target.
3. Duplicate your documents.
Leave a copy of your passport and your itinerary at home with someone safe. Whether it’s a colleague or relative, keep your information with a trusted source who can help in times of need, and make a copy of your documents to have with you.
In addition, Sheryl Hill, the Executive Director of Depart Smart, suggests you save a copy of all your documents on a secure cloud drive that you can easily access.
4. Inform your embassy.
Full-time traveler Collette Stohler, co-founder of Roamaroo, suggests applying for the government-run Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). The site allows you to enter the details of your overseas itinerary on the website, and you will be automatically connected to the corresponding embassy at your destination.
If there are any updates on security, you will receive an email or text with the relevant information. In addition, the in-country embassy will know where you are in case of emergency.
5. Keep score of your travel safety smarts.
Depart Smart, Hill’s website, offers a free 10-item quiz that scores your travel safety readiness. I’m sorry to say that despite my worldwide wanderings, I marked no on nine out of ten questions.
Many of the items were things I had never even thought of, including:
- Could you ask for help and identify your location in the local language?
- Is your personal health information translated into the local language?
- Do your emergency contacts have Power of Attorney and active passports good for six months beyond the date of your return?
- In the U.S., the emergency phone number is 911. It is different in most countries and can be separate numbers (e.g., fire, ambulance, police). Do you know the emergency number(s) for your destination country?
Once you’ve taken the quiz, the site will send you a comprehensive safe travel checklist to fill out along with your packing list to prepare you to have a secure trip.
And finally, almost every expert I heard from gave this sage advice: Don’t do drugs or get really drunk. Thanks, Mom. I’ll call or text to let you know I’ve arrived safely.
This article originally appeared on Inc.com.