Photo: Damir Bosnjak
Travel has never been more accessible than it is now. Or, more important. As companies continue to expand their international reach, having a curious and open-minded approach to the world and its people helps your career to take off. That’s why adding more miles to your upcoming year is a smart resolution for any professional. As career expert Jill Tipograph explains, travel opportunities are growth opportunities.
“A person who has experienced a variety of cultures internationally, or regions domestically, develops an understanding of differences,” she explains.
If you didn’t have the chance to study abroad while in school — or ahem, it’s been a while since you graduated or brushed off your passport — consider making a resolution to explore further and wider. Whether you make a vacation a chance to connect with international executives or you bargain your way into a sabbatical, here are some ideas to spark your wanderlust:
Get up earlier
If you’re already one of the lucky ones who has the chance to explore various regions of the world, you might be burnout. Traveling is taxing on anyone, especially if you’re constantly zig-zagging through time zones or across the country. Career expert and author Lauren Berger suggests switching up your routine to reignite your spirit. This could be as easy as taking advantage of that jet lag and starting your day with enthusiasm and purpose.
“When you go to remote locations and meet different team members, wake up early. Take them to coffee or breakfast, ask them questions and learn about their career path. This is a great opportunity to network internally and take a deeper dive into your business,” she explains. “Creating these relationships with remote colleagues can enhance your ability to work with them in a smoother way.”
Seek out opportunities to travel for work
Perhaps you’re in the opposite situation, and you’ve never trekked somewhere for work. Make 2019 the year to change that by creating a business case for why you need to hop a flight. Tipograph suggests paying particular attention to growth opportunities for your company since that will be more convincing to your manager (and his or her boss).
If you work in marketing and the London office needs extra help connecting with customers or influencers, you could explain how a week spent advising them would move the numbers. Or perhaps the Sydney team isn’t doing so well with their office dynamic, and your human resources expertise would make a difference.
Whatever the purpose, be direct and create tangible, measurable goals to improve your odds of approval.
Find time to meet with visitors
For whatever reason, travel isn’t in the cards for your right now. You can still build international relationships by keeping an eye out for visitors. Tipograph suggests finding out who is coming to your location from other cities or countries in the coming months and actively seek out a way to see them while they are in town.
“If time doesn’t permit a meal or coffee, ask if you can just take a few minutes to meet them face-to-face when they are in your building,” she suggests. “The bond formed by directly interacting with people is invaluable.”
And if you get those five minutes? Tipograph says to make them memorable, whether you express appreciation, seek advice, ask questions or connect with them in another impactful way.
Make vacations an opportunity
After talking about it — forever — you’re finally making your way around Europe with your number one or your best friend. You want to spend as much time enjoying the weeks off, but if you happen to be passing through a city where your company has operations, it could be worthwhile to meet with colleagues.
As Tipograph explains, even a casual happy hour meetup or a drive-by the office could help someone remember your name — and importantly, your face.
“People love to share the dos and don’ts of places and will often offer to meet up in person if you can arrange it. Even better, post when you will be where and suggest those in the area reach out to you to connect in person,” she suggests.
Bargain for a sabbatical – or a remote work option
Though the concept of a sabbatical used to be reserved for extreme cases, or after 20 years of service, these days, it’s definitely more frequently utilized. It’s also defined differently, meaning it could last a month, three months or half a year.
If you have been at your company for a while and you’re in need of a break or inspiration, talk to your manager. Whether you decide to take the time off sans-pay or apply for a remote work program that allows you to take your responsibilities on the road, giving yourself permission to see the world is smart. And hey, could change everything about your career, as you gain a new perspective and approach to success.