Generally speaking, business travel is not very glamorous, can be quite stressful, and is full of unknown variables and surprises. There are some things to consider that can make your business travel experience more enjoyable, and allow you to take away some personal growth and satisfaction from the journey.
Get organized – This may seem like a no-brainer, but thinking about the trip as you are packing, and the logistics of when you will need certain items can make the entire process run smoothly. If you are traveling by plane, remember bag size restrictions as well as airport security. Wear shoes that can easily be removed, do not pack liquids or sharp items in your carry-on bag, and make sure to have your ticket information and proper identification readily available.
Know your destination – By doing a bit of research ahead of your trip, including where you will be staying, you can prevent surprise disasters. Once you feel familiar with the amenities where you will be spending much of your time, take time to find out what some local points of interest may be. If you have any free time during your business trip, take the opportunity to take in some local sights. Become familiar with the culture and local customs so that there is not any confusion during your interaction with locals; this is especially important if traveling abroad.
Carry cash – It is a good idea to have some cash on hand. Even if the company is paying for the trip and you carry a company credit card, cash is easier in the way of tips or taxis. The research you do ahead of time will keep you informed of public transportation and should help you to get an idea of how much cash to carry.
Be considerate – If you are wrapped up in business on the way to your destination, it can be easy to forget that there is a whole world around you headed in a different direction. Maintain confidentiality if discussing business on a cell phone by finding a people-free space when on the call. Be cautious if doing business on your laptop or tablet, as others may pass their time by looking over your shoulder.
Use your time wisely – Travel often involves long periods of waiting, whether it is in a car or on a plane. This time can be used to check office email, prepare reports, or brush up on presentation notes. You could even read up on the latest business trends that pertain to your trip by picking up a business journal.
Make time for you – While the main purpose of your business trip isn’t for your own vacation time, be sure to try and squeeze in a bit of time for personal growth. You can do this by seeing some sights, eating some local food, or even just relaxing by the pool. Allowing some down time on your trip will help you stay relaxed and focused when you are doing business.
By making the most of your time with a bit of research and planning, you can avoid most potentially sticky situations that may occur in business travel.