1. Planning the trip
Delegate: "Prior to leaving the office, nominate a person who you trust and can pass the ball to if tasks come up that you can't deal with remotely."
Choose wisely: "Pick one air carrier and one family of hotels and stick with them; the more you travel, the better they treat you. Always book the cheapest rate, then beg for upgrades."
Domestic airlines had an on-time arrival rate of 78.4 percent in March. The airline with the highest on-time arrival rate? Hawaiian
Airlines, with 91.5 percent. (Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics)
Go-go gadgets: "Gadgets are a must for flights. You need a power adapter for your seat, noise-canceling headphones and a prescription for Ambien."
3. In the field
You aren't in Kansas: "Table the expectation that this is going to be a vacation. The reality is you'll often be hunkered down in conference rooms and offices, and that's it."
Eye on the prize: "Be goal-oriented on your trip, and continually assess whether you've achieved your purpose. Keep track of all the new tasks that emerge from meetings, and think about how to delegate them on your return."
4. Keeping in touch
Family time: "Put anchors in your calendar. Schedule definite times to call your children or video-chat with your spouse. Otherwise your family could start to resent your business travel."
Just like home: "Comfort utilities can make life easier: Slingbox lets you watch TV shows recorded from your home DVR; webcams are great for families; laptop data cards let you communicate during downtime or in transit."
5. The return
Red-eyes: "Take a Thursday night red-eye and stay home the next day or lay low. Never fly back on Friday morning then head into work."
You had to be there: "Always assess why you travel. It all comes down to connecting to customers in the most efficient way. Sometimes that's remotely. Sometimes you just have to be there."
Jason Daley lives and writes in Madison, Wisconsin. His work regularly appears in Popular Science, Outside and other magazines.