Business travels can take you all around the world and serve as invaluable lessons. Alas, newcomers often struggle to grasp the ins and outs, and their adventures turn into nerve-wrecking ordeals. There are various moving parts to keep an eye on, such as brushing elbows with high-profile clients, scheduling business launches, figuring out the flight itinerary, keeping the receipts, etc. Through it all, one has to be self-reliant and maintain sound daily routines. But, rest assured that there is a way to take the stress out of the process and it involves quite a bit of preparation.
A game plan
There is a great deal of stuff you can do before you actually hit the road. It’s highly advisable to kick off planning well ahead of time and leave nothing to chance. Carry out a research to familiarize yourself with the destination, proper etiquette and protocols, local customs and business culture. Sort out travel and accommodation arrangements. The longer you wait, things like hotel rooms become less available and more expensive.
Moving on, create an itinerary that lists your flight and ground transportation information, as well as hotel detail, meeting times, scheduled entertainment, restaurant locations, reservation number, etc. Make a copy of a travel plan and give it to your colleague or assistant. That way, even if you lose your copy, your trip will not turn out to be a train wreck.
The art of packing
Packing is one of the most dreaded aspects of traveling, but it can go a long way. To do it right, put together a list of essentials and try to pack light. You don’t want to forget your laptop, cell phone, chargers, portable batteries, office supplies, toiletries, clothes, shaving kit, cosmetics, and medication. Having the appropriate luggage is paramount. A rolling carry-on and a shoulder bag are usually the best option, unlike large checking luggage.
It goes without saying you need to prepare all the documents. Check the expiration date on the passport and your visas. Consult a physician about necessary vaccination and medical issues. Have an identification that allows you to drive. Frequent business travelers should consider getting an international driving license. Also, make sure your ATM card is going to work because you are going to need destination currency readily available.
First things first
While on business travels, you are the face of your business. So, you have to dress the part: nice, formal attire is a must. To take advantage of networking opportunities, you should carry a batch of business cards with you. In addition, have some promotional products at hand. Some would say that custom USBs are the perfect choice for the business travelers in the digital age.
Once you reach the hotel, hang all your clothes to minimize the wrinkling. If you have time, iron and restore them to their former glory. Next, it’s time to test your small-talk skills. Business trips often require you get out of your comfort zone. Don’t over-indulge, especially when it comes to alcohol. Business always comes first. Nurse a beer and leave chugging to others.
Enjoy yourself only after finishing important obligations and meetings. Free time in the schedule can be allocated to going around the city and getting to know the locals and their culture. Just try not to blow the budget and give your employer headaches. Eat cheap when alone and reserve 5-star restaurants only when you want to impress the clients. Hold onto all the receipts from hotels, restaurants, and taxi rides because most companies reimburse the expenses.
Hitch your wagon to a star
For novice travelers, business trips are more of a daunting challenge than a joyride. To navigate the international waters with winds in your sails, you have to remember that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Preparation is the key to having a safe and productive trip. You represent your company, so put the best face forward. Gather all the information you can about the destination. Make a packing list and travel itinerary. Dress for success and get your priorities straight. Make the most of your time spent abroad: maximize success before diving into the fun side of traveling.