Traveling with coworkers can be a reward experience that furthers your career.
Traveling for work can be a stressful experience, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. The same can be said when business travel is done along side co-workers from your office. Traveling with anyone can be tricky, but the stakes are much higher when work relationships are on the line. Being a good traveling companion in these situations can make your workplace connections blossom, or it can sever ties completely. Here are some tips for making the most of your time away together:
Be a stellar travel companion
You don't have control over whether your co-workers are good people to have around on a trip, but you can earn that reputation. Make sure you have a complete and thorough knowledge of your itinerary – try to have hotel names, flight times and other useful information memorized. This will have two effects on your trip: It will make everyone's life easier than if you all have to constantly double-check plans, and it will help your co-workers see you as someone to turn to for answers – a valuable reputation to have in an office environment.
One of the most tedious things about traveling with other people is that making decisions becomes more difficult. No one wants to hurt anyone else's feelings or step on anyone's toes, so even a simple choice becomes a long, drawn-out process. When it comes to choosing a restaurant or whether to hail a cab or walk, dub yourself the decision maker. Listen to what everyone has to say, and if no one has a clear preference, make the decision. If someone does object, then it's worth having a longer conversation. The odds are good, however, that everyone will just be relieved that the matter is settled.
You should always be dressed professionally when you're traveling for work, but you might be a little more lax when you're going alone. If you're catching a flight or taking a ride with co-workers, however, you need to look professional at all times. This means no sweat pants or yoga pants on the plane, and reasonable pajamas if you're sharing a room. If you're not sure if something is appropriate, it's better to err on the conservative side: You're never going to make your roommate uncomfortable by wearing longer PJ's.
Traveling with your boss or peers is the perfect opportunity to build a stronger connection. Because you're spending so much time together, you'll have more chances to get to know each other as people. This kind of bonding will help you hold on to the relationship even after you're no longer working together. Having these kinds of strong professional connections is one of the best ways to find great opportunities down the line, so don't underestimate the importance of getting to know your co-workers.
Discuss alone time
"Schedule times to recharge."
If you're going to be on a trip that lasts longer than a weekend, you're definitely going to need some alone time at some point. Although there's plenty of advice out there suggesting you dive into a book or wear headphones to hint that you're not up for talking, your best bet is to actually communicate your needs. Before you head out, talk to your co-workers about how you'll handle time to recharge. Maybe you'll schedule a specific day during your trip during which everyone will do their own thing after hours, or decide that people can't be reached after a certain time each night. Whatever you decide, if you have a plan ahead of time, you're less likely to get annoyed with your co-workers for not getting your hints. This will help the whole trip go much more smoothly.