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Business travel: prepare and make the most out of your business trip

woman business traveller with a suitcase
Photo by Matthew Hurst

In the era of technology, communicating across different time zones is no news, and it’s become faster than ever. However, when it comes to sealing a big deal or starting an important business relationship, there is nothing better than a face-to-face encounter. Planning a business trip can sometimes be a stressful responsibility. Just think about it: on top of the typical travel duties, you have to think about and prepare the business aspect of the trip. Here comes the good news: business travel doesn’t always have to be stressful. There are two things that you can do in order to ensure your trip goes smoothly and entertaining: plan and prepare. 

What is just as important as planning the business trip itself?

Whether it’s only for a few days, or a much longer period of time, you must not forget to take care of one of the most important things: finding your home in the same state as you left it. So, grab your phone and dial some numbers even before you book your accommodation.

Watering the plants

No person would like to come home after a trip to find their plants all dried up and in a cry for help, right? This is why one of the first things you should do before even planning a business trip is to find a person who would take care of your house or apartment while you are gone. We don’t even have to say that this should be a close person you can trust, since you will be confining them a key to your home. Don’t forget to write a whole ‘to do’ or ‘how to take care of the plants’ list and leave it in a visible place. 

Are you a pet owner?

Leave your pet in good hands while you are away. Whether it’s a close friend or a relative, make sure they will have all the necessary instructions on how to take care of your little furry friend. So, whether you plan on leaving it home with a pet sitter, leaving it with a pet hotel, or taking it to the home of the person who should take care of it, don’t forget to provide them with food supplies and everything your pet needs. 

Expecting a delivery?

Don’t worry, there is a solution for that as well. Different companies have different delivery policies. In most cases, once they see you are not home on the first delivery, they will try to deliver the goods one or two more times in the following days. If you still aren’t available to receive it, then they will either leave a code, contact you, or they will take it back and provide a refund. Anyway, they already have your contact information when you placed the order, so there is nothing to worry about and you can always get in touch with the company.

You just took care of 3 important things, what’s next?

1. Make all the necessary travel arrangements in advance

What is your destination? Find out more about it.

Some countries require special documents, visas and vaccinations. If you are travelling internationally, securing all of these special accommodations should be on your priority list of things to do. 

Book your travelling ticket

airplane in the sky
Photo by @Gellinger

Will you be travelling by air, train, car, or even a boat? Consider every option, depending on the time and allowed company budget you have in hand. It would be helpful if you book a ticket that will get you as near as possible to your business trip destination. Other things you should think about is how you will be commuting during your stay and how you will get from the airport to your accommodation or nearest railway station. And don’t forget to bring your loyalty card with you; some airlines offer frequent-fliers great promotions. 

Find accommodation

This might be one of the most difficult and essential things to do when preparing for your business travel. First of all, after you know where the meeting will be held, you should search for a hotel that is near that location. That should save you precious time that would otherwise be spent in traffic. Use the maps on your smartphone to guide you at all times. You will especially need them to calculate the time needed from the station or airport to the hotel. 

Always check the amenities that hotels offer. You would probably appreciate an early breakfast, free Wi-Fi and a good room service. Plus, you might want to have more than a few powerpoints to charge your electronic devices, right?

2. Stay in control of every important detail – put together an itinerary

Write down important dates and times

What time is your flight and when do you arrive? When are you checking in and out of your hotel? What time are your work-related meetings scheduled at? Start with these and then you can plan and use any possible extra time to relax and use it for yourself.

Write down and highlight the priorities of your business travel

Use markers or any types of highlighters and stickers to mark all the meetings and        work-related events in your itinerary. Trust us, you won’t regret spending time doing this. 

Write down the name and address of your hotel

You never know when your phone might go dead. This is why it’s always a good idea to have the address of the place you are staying at written somewhere. Needless to say, we recommend carrying a power bank for your phone just in case you run out of juice when you most need it. 

3. Prepare for your trip

Check your travel documents

It has happened to all of us at least once in our lives: not checking our passports on time. So, our advice is to make sure it’s valid in advance. Otherwise it would result in a canceled business trip. Check it a few weeks in advance because sometimes it can take more than a few weeks to be issued a new one. Even if you aren’t flying international, you will need a valid ID for any domestic flight.  

Pack lightly

Packing for a business travel might be a bit different than packing for a regular vacation trip. If you are going on a short trip, try to avoid checking more than what qualifies as hand luggage if that’s possible. Luggage can rarely be lost, but it still happens, and you wouldn’t want that to happen to you on your tight-scheduled business trip. So, business attire, clean shirts for each day, and one or two outfits for a casual combination sounds like all you need for the perfect trip. 

Tip: You might consider investing in a garment bag, as these are ideal for a short business trip. They come with hangers for your business attire and enough pockets so everything is compact and practical. 

Samsonite Travel Garment Bag - cabin approved
Samsonite Travel Garment Bag View on Amazon

Tip: If you decide to pack only a hand luggage, make sure you check if there are any restrictions on certain items such as some types of sporting goods, sharp objects, alchohol, etc. 

Prepare for your meeting

Perhaps this bullet should have been on top of the list, since all of the aforementioned preparations will go down the drain if you aren’t well-prepared for your business meeting. Whether it’s a presentation, tables, analyses or any contracts, make sure you have practiced or checked it at least twice. What is the equipment you’ll need to deliver your presentation?

Pay attention to this, and if you have enough time before the trip try to learn at least the salutation phrases or how to say ‘thank you’ in the language of the country you are visiting. You will leave a positive impression to whoever is on the other side of the table.

Don’t forget electronic devices

woman in a taxi writing on a laptop
Photo by @mentatdgt

You would probably make sure to have these packed first but let’s repeat it again. Your telephone, laptop or tablet and their chargers are considered as essential to your business travel.  

Tip: Back up your data, and transfer all the important work-related stuff on external drive (encrypted USB drive or in the cloud). This way you can be certain your work doesn’t go to waste even if something happens to your electronic devices. 

And last but not least – don’t forget to enjoy

We understand that this can be pretty challenging. You are away from home, and your business travel destination might not be the place you would otherwise choose to visit. However, it would be nice if you ‘steal’ a few hours of your business travel and dedicate them to yourself. If you are into travelling, an ordinary business trip can be turned into a wonderful experience. Even though it might not be your ‘typical’ holiday destination, trust us, every place tells a story. Search for sightseeing spots and interesting places to eat and capture with your camera, or simply schedule a spa day at your hotel. 

See? Planning a business trip doesn’t have to be dull and stressful!

Business travelling can sometimes be very exhausting and challenging, especially if you haven’t had the time to prepare for it. If you want to avoid the stress and risk of problems a business travel can bring, it’s very important to plan your trip. Don’t underestimate the power of perfect planning, and enjoy arriving at your destination relaxed and well-prepared!

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