5 Ways to Pass the Time on International Business Trips

Christine Jorgensen (before and after reassignment surgery)
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The Artist Rapsody posing in chair
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A coffee and calendar on a table

When you run your own business, any type of downtime can feel like an eternity; after all, you want to keep wheeling, dealing and creating — and it’s certainly a challenge when things fall out of your control. Certainly one of the biggest culprits of time sucks is international travel and, more specifically, managing the stresses of traversing through a busy and chaotic airport.

From checking luggage and dealing with layovers to getting through customs, international travel can certainly provide unwanted headaches and stress. Dealing with matters that are out of your control is certainly no picnic. But you can certainly make the most of it by following these five tips that should provide you with better peace of mind.

1. Enroll in a Fast-Pass Program
If you routinely fly for business, you undoubtedly want to get through security more quickly and efficiently — and enrolling in offerings like TSA PreCheck or Clear will certainly do the trick. With a five-year, $85 membership, TSA PreCheck allows you to get through security without having to remove your shoes, laptop, belt, light jacket and liquids in your carry-on luggage.

Meantime, Clear is a similar “fast pass” program that instead uses biometric technology — either a scan of your fingerprints or an iris scan of your eye — to confirm your identity and get you through airport security more quickly. While you’ll still need to be screened by TSA personnel, Clear allows you to get bumped to the front of the line at 24 participating domestic airports.

To enroll in either service, you’ll need to use your smartphone and appear in-person for screening. So why not take care of it on your next layover?

2. Do Some Much-Needed Work
While an airport may not be the most effective place to conduct business, waiting in a long customs line or killing time before your connecting flight departs should provide an opportunity to get things done. Most airports have Wi-Fi, and many airlines’ executive lounges offer this perk in a more quiet and relaxed environment.

With that in mind, using your laptop or a smartphone like the iPhone 8 Plus will allow you to check your email, work on projects, develop concepts, and chat with fellow colleagues in a rather seamless manner.

3. Make Workplace Collaboration Easier
With the iPhone 8 Plus, you can take chatting with colleagues to the next level. For instance, use FaceTime to interact with co-workers in real time from anywhere in the world or to share your Mac’s screen. You can also collaborate with colleagues through iCloud Drive, allowing you to work on projects concurrently, provide feedback and new strategies, or tweak your efforts before meeting with your supplier, client or investor before landing at your destination.

4. Download Some Handy Travel Apps
Still looking for different ways to kill time? Both Android and iOS devices offer free travel apps that make layovers and long waits in customs easier to manage. For example, LoungeBuddy can help you find which airport lounges fit your needs. From napping areas and cell phone charging kiosks to catered food and drinks, you’ll be able to find exactly what you need to enjoy yourself while killing time. Additionally, MiFlight allows you to view estimated wait times at various airport security checkpoints.

5. Brush Up on a New Language
As the old saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” With that in mind, it would certainly behoove you to brush up on your foreign language speaking skills, especially in countries with which you’re unfamiliar. That’s where your handy dandy smartphone can do wonders in helping you to learn a new language.

Free apps like DuoLingo and Memrise make learning a new language easy and fun. Learn a few key and important phrases, and you’ll be able to start practicing your new skills in the airport by saying “hello” to the locals.

The Whole World is Literally in Your Hands
Dealing with a long layover or flight delay doesn’t necessarily have to spell stress or boredom. While your digital devices are perfect for catching up on the news and listening to your favorite tunes, you can certainly use your time in better ways.

Indeed, as a business professional, this may present the perfect opportunity to get some much-needed work accomplished and/or research some of the great ideas that previously came to mind. Then again, you can take this time to enroll in airport “fast pass” program or learn a new language; after all, you have everything you need in the palm of your hand.

 

 

 

 

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