The Digital Media Exec Travel Survival Guide

Digital media execs spend a lot of their time on the road and in the air. Many travel hundreds of thousands of miles in any given year, attending pitches, meetings, conferences, awards shows and industry boondoggles. We asked a range of industry execs for their secret tips that make business travel that little bit easier, quicker or more productive. This is what they said:

Weather Company global chief revenue officer Curt Hecht traveled over 200,000 miles last year but said doing so would be hard for him without his aviation-friendly travel bike:

“I’m a huge advocate of exercise translating into workplace productivity, even when I’m traveling. I’ve competed in athletics seriously since I was ten, so getting up at five or six to work out is routine. Racing bicycles requires being in shape, so I travel with a bike and will ride before morning meetings. It takes me 20 minutes to build and hit the road, and I’ve found if I ride alone I’m often inspired with new ideas. It’s often a great way to see the cities I’m visiting, too. Also, no sport is more impacted by the Weather. Connecting passions has played a huge role in my career and well-being. In total, I rode over 10,000 miles last year and flew over 200,000 miles.”

Gamify your travels
For GroupM’s global chief digital officer Rob Norman, traveling isn’t about ease; it’s about value. He’s devised a point system that helps him get the most out of his business travel, from both a productivity and cultural standpoint:

10 Points: 1 point each for visiting the point of sale of ten or more your client’s brands, maximum of ten.
9 Points: a city or life tour from a 20 year old.
8 Points: using public transport.
7 Points: attending a sporting event that pretty much only takes place in that country.
6 Points: never eating a single meal in the hotel you are staying in.
5 Points: ordering a food item that you have never seen, eaten or heard of before, preferably from a menu you can’t understand.
4 Points for dining in someone’s home.
3 Points for tipping housekeeping daily at least double the price of a Big Mac in the country concerned.
2 Points for reading a local newspaper ( 3 bonus points if you can understand it if it’s in Latin characters; 6 point bonus if not in Latin characters.)
1 Point for watching U.S. news coverage on Al Jazeera.

Never Unpack
The best way to ensure you’re prepared for a business trip is to always be prepared for a business trip, says Barbarian Group co-founder and current Tumblr revenue consultant, Rick Webb.

“Never unpack, ever. I haven’t unpacked my suitcase in seven years. What’s the point? Buy a luggage rack, and leave your suitcase in your room just like you would a hotel room. You can throw in some underwear and socks and pack in 2 seconds. You’ll never forget an essential.”

Go paperless
Edelman Digital managing director David Armano said it’s essential to travel paperless. Ditching the print-outs in favor of mobile devices is a must:

“I put all my travel information in notes on my calendar, which I access on iPad and phone. Addresses, phone numbers, links or any information that helps you get you to where you need to can all live on your digital calendar. Flight track is also an awesome app that keeps track of flight statuses and updates, and it also syncs with your calendar. It’s an essential tool for the road warrior — or sky warrior. I also like using Instagram connected to Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare not only to take pictures but also as an effective way to let people in my network know where I am. It often results in spontaneous meetings.”

Take airport shortcuts
Time is of the essence when traveling for business, so the shorter you can spend at the airport, the better, says KBS+ chief digital media officer Darren Herman:

“I absolutely recommend Clear, TSA Pre-Check and a pass to the Delta Sky Lounge or Admirals Club, depending on your airline of choice. Getting through security lines quickly is always difficult, especially at SFO and JFK, so a shortcut via TSA Pre-Check is valuable.”

Apps make life easy
360i’s VP of emerging media David Berkowitz says mobile apps can help make travel both quicker and easier:

“Three things in particular have been really helpful for me lately. One is that some apps like TripAdvisor, Triposo, and Guidepal have downloadable city guides, which come in really handy when the wireless reception cuts out. Next, airlines such as American and Delta now let you save mobile boarding passes in Passbook on the iPhone, so they’re much easier to find and scan when arriving at security. Lastly, any international traveler must sign up for Global Entry, which saves so much time and often makes domestic travel more of a breeze by including the TSA Pre-Check program with it.”

Image via Shutterstock

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