Mastering the Life of a Traveling Superintendent: Tips for Smooth Sailing on the Road

Being a traveling construction superintendent or manager presents a unique set of challenges, from navigating unfamiliar cities to ensuring the safety of tools and vehicles. However, with the right strategies, you can turn these challenges into opportunities for success. Traveling as a superintendent is not just about work; it’s also an exciting opportunity to explore new places, meet new people, and see interesting sights. In this blog, we’ll explore essential tips and tricks to help you thrive on the road.


1. Stay Organized:

Probably the most important tip… Stay Organized! Keep a detailed itinerary of your projects, meetings, and travel plans to stay organized. Utilize digital tools like project management apps to track deadlines and create checklists for packing and site inspections. There is a lot of uncertainty when traveling, things like subs not showing, change orders calling for longer time away from home, etc. Keeping yourself organized will help streamline any bumps that come up. 


2. Accommodations with Adequate Parking:

Ever show up to your housing location or hotel, only to find that there is limited parking, only street parking requiring you to walk a mile after a long night shift, or worse, nowhere to park at all regardless of the time of day… with a truckload full of tools. Tackle this obstacle ahead of time! Prioritize places with ample parking space, especially if traveling with work vehicles or equipment trailers. Look for hotels with dedicated parking to ensure the safety of your vehicles and tools.


3. Secure Tool and Vehicle Safety:

Once you find a good place to stay with solid parking, it doesn’t mean it’s time to sit back and relax, at least not yet. Make sure that you don’t lose the investment you’ve made on your tools and supplies. Invest in quality locks and security systems to protect your tools and vehicles, especially in unfamiliar cities overnight. Keep an inventory of your equipment for easier tracking.


4. Get Food that Fuels You and Try Meal Prepping:

Maintaining a healthy diet on the road is crucial. Go for food and make you feel good, instead of a quick drive through meal options. It will make all the difference and give you a little piece of home, away from home. Consider meal prepping (it’s not just for stay at home moms on Tik Tok) before you hit the road to save time and money while ensuring healthier options. Invest in a good cooler to keep your meals fresh while traveling. Use your per diem for grocery shopping, not fast food diving. 


5. Build Relationships:

Networking with local contractors and suppliers can be invaluable. Establishing rapport fosters smoother collaborations and access to valuable resources and support. This will pay off in the long run. You will have a smoother project outcome if you take the time to build relationships with your local contractors and subs. People work hard for those who know, care, and appreciate them.  


6. Prioritize Self-Care:

This may sound very 2020 cliche but it will make a difference. Make time for relaxation, exercise, and mindfulness to maintain a healthy work-life balance. If you work out at home, then make sure you do so on the road as well. Bring along a small weight set or other type of equipment to ensure you stay active. Set a time to focus on your health and wellbeing. Being on the road is stressful, taking time to ensure you are healthy will go a long way. Also, remember to ensure you get enough sleep and stay hydrated to keep your energy levels up.


7. Night Work Safety Precautions (for those late night jobs):

Working an open store job at night can be its own can of worms. Planning will be critical when thinking about things like cleaning up before the location opens in the morning, staying safe if in an unfamiliar area, adjusting to a night/day sleep schedule, etc. Provide training on nighttime safety protocols to prepare your team for any situation. This will alleviate a lot of uncertainty with your team as they look to you for guidance and support. 


8. Adjusting to an Ever-Changing Schedule:

Remember… stay flexible and adapt to last-minute changes by staying in constant communication with your team. Utilize digital tools for real-time updates and develop contingency plans for disruptions. Working out of town will ALWAYS have its challenges, with an ever changing schedule as one of the major ones. Staying organized and flexible will help to alleviate much of the stress that comes with schedule changes. 


9. Efficient Time Management:

This one can’t get said enough… manage your time well!!! Prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance, utilizing time-blocking techniques to allocate dedicated time slots. Avoid overcommitting yourself to prevent burnout and maximize productivity. And remember, part of time management is allowing yourself a bit of down time which helps if you schedule it. 


10. Explore the City:

So, you scheduled your downtime, now what? Take advantage of your travels by doing a little sightseeing or exploring the new city you’re in. Whether it’s visiting local landmarks, trying out new restaurants, or immersing yourself in the local culture, taking time to explore can enhance your overall experience on the road. 


By implementing these tips, you can make your life on the road as a traveling superintendent easier and more fulfilling. Embrace flexibility, prioritize safety, and take care of yourself to ensure success and well-being on your travels. Safe journeys!