At work, we just booked our flights to Toronto for the PPPC National Convention in January 2016. I'll be traveling with my team from Botanical PaperWorks seed paper to exhibit at the show and to accept an award at the Image Awards (we've been short-listed in the eco promotional products category!).
I've been traveling for business for many years and I've learned a few things about how to make my time away as productive and fulfilling as possible. In the spirit of sharing what I've learned and helping younger business people who are venturing out on their first trip, here are four tips relating to food and beverage consumption.
1) Don't eat the meeting cookies
Every afternoon at most board meetings and trade shows, the hotel brings out a huge platter of cookies (like these ones). Large, soft, often chocolate chip, peanut butter or white chip and macadamia nut. They look yummy and they taste delicious but that's where the fun ends. Eat one of those babies and you'll be feeling gross all afternoon.
Maybe you have an iron consistution and this doesn't apply to you. But I've asked around and lots of people struggle with post-cookie regret. It's the fat, the sugar and the sheer enormity of size that makes the meeting cookie a food to avoid. So if you don't want to spend the afternoon in gastro-agony, don't eat the meeting cookies.
2) Do eat the croissants
Being away from home means that you do have access to some tempting treats. I recently came back from Montreal and the chocolatine, also known as pain au chocolat or chocolate croissants, are to die for! I feel it's my duty to enjoy some of the delicious regional treats, so while in Montreal, I eat the croissant. In moderation of course.
What does this mean for you? While in Chicago, eat the deep dish pizza. While in Nova Scotia, have the scallops. Enjoy some of the regional specialities. Carpe diem! You're working hard on this trip, you deserve an indulgence.
3) Caffeinate strategically
You got up at 4:30 am to catch the 7 am flight out. You're in a time zone two hours ahead. You need to be strategic about your caffeine consumption. Too much and you'll get the jitters. Not enough and you'll be yawning your way through supper.
I suggest a slow drip of coffee during the morning, a top-up in the afternoon and if you're barely staying away by late afternoon, a cup of decaf - there's enough caffeine in that to be helpful. You know yourself best but be careful and measured with your caffeine consumption and use it like a tool.
4) Careful with alcohol
On some of my business trips, there's quite a bit of alcohol flowing in the evenings. It's a tricky balance - I want to join in and hang out and network, yet I want to have a good sleep and be bright-eyed the next day because, after all, I'm here to do business.
You know yourself best, but let me tell you what works for me. I join my group at the bar for a pre-dinner drink. I choose something good, because I want to really enjoy it and make it count. These days, I'll order a Negroni.
Then at dinner, I have one glass of wine. When the server comes around to top it up, I decline. I want to know when I've come to the end of my glass and when servers are topping up constantly, it's easy to lose track of volume consumed.
My energy, concentration and interest levels are affected by what I eat and drink. If this rings true for you, I hope these tips help you have a health and productive business trip.
Share your tips and tricks for making business trip more enjoyable by leaving a comment or reaching out on Twitter.