7 Tips for Your Upcoming Business Trip
today at 7:32 am
Unlike leisure trips, business travel doesn’t allow much room for flexibility because delays can negatively affect you, your superior, and the company as a whole. It can be a stressful endeavor to make sure everything goes according to plan and accomplish all the goals of the business trip. So we asked experienced business travelers what advice they would give for someone who has never done it before and this is what they said:
#1 Have a clear picture
Once the business trip is assigned to you, start to plan it step-by-step, as far in advance as possible. Download apps to help you plan your route, organize your schedule, and keep track of all reservations. Synchronize the tool with your email and calendar, so you will never risk forgetting a meeting. Also, create a detailed list of your activities and specific places you want to visit.
Most importantly, you should always have in mind the goal of your business trip. What is the ultimate aim? Who are the key people you need to meet? How much time do you have to fulfill all of your tasks? Address these questions early on so you can prioritize your time and make the most of your business trip.
#2 Put Together a Detailed Itinerary
As soon as you find out about your business trip, no matter how far in advance, you should immediately start organizing your itinerary. Complete a day-to-day schedule with all information including transportation times, contact details of your associates and addresses of your hotel and meeting places. When you finish preparing your schedule, check if you left enough time between appointments so you won’t run late and that you also gave yourself time to eat and rest.
#3 Arrange Travel and Accommodation
Arranging travel will look different for every company, but it’s usually up to you to decide how you will get to the airport – by car, taxi, or public transportation? For many business travelers, driving to the airport is the easiest option but parking at O’Hare Airport can be a hassle. It’s better to make a reservation online so your parking spot will be waiting for you when you arrive.
When it comes to flights and accommodations, you may not have many choices depending on your company’s travel policies. Many businesses have exclusive deals with certain companies, so you don’t get to pick the hotel or airline that you prefer.
However, if you have some flexibility with your travel plans, then it’s a good idea to compare your options in advance. Check the legroom, add-on conveniences, and luggage requirements for the airlines. For your hotel room, book one that is in a convenient central location and offers amenities like breakfast, health club, sauna, and pool.
#4 Packing List
When putting together the list of what to pack for a business trip, the first thing you should consider is the length of the trip. Of course, packing light is always smart and handy. You don’t need more than what you’ll end up wearing. You already know what the dress code is in your field, so you should know what’s expected for you to wear. Keep your ID or passport, other travel documents, tickets, cell phone, and laptop or tablet in a safe place at all times. Don’t forget your work-related documents or presentation kits, too. In fact, those should be the first items you pack in your bags.
If you are attending a group meeting or conference, then you should do a bit of research on the people you are meeting with before the event. Start networking before your business travel, so you can connect with them when you finally see them in person without losing precious time.
With networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, and other social media platforms, you can contact these people and let them know that you’re going to be there as well. Tell them about the company you’re representing and share some personal information about you to give a more intimate touch to your conversation.
If you’re traveling abroad, it’s best to learn about the local customs and social etiquette so you don’t insult someone without realizing it.
#6 Keep Track of Expenses
Most of the time, your company will compensate you for expenses, such as transportation, accommodation, and food but will require you to keep track of expenses. Take pictures of all receipts and organize them into an album on your phone.
Also, if you are a regular business traveler, then you should start looking for membership programs at hotels, rental car companies, and airlines that offer promo codes for business class customers. You can also ask the human resources department of your company if there’s a credit card that grants travel expenses points. Membership programs can make travel a piece of cake, and they also provide other benefits for as long you remain a loyal customer.
#7 Deal with Unexpected Delays
Becoming an experienced business traveler is a self-taught skill. Unexpected situations and delays will happen but it’s all about how you deal with the things that are outside of your control. Whether it’s a late train or heavy traffic, you have to keep your cool and adjust. If you are running late for a meeting, then notify them immediately and thank them for their patience when you arrive. Over time, you will learn from your mistakes and grow as an individual and as a business professional.