Traveling is an exciting activity, no matter why you’re doing it. After all, you’re stepping out of your comfort zone and jumping into a new environment. And while many may think that traveling is primarily a leisurely activity that has nothing to do with the other aspects of your life, we’d beg to differ. Businesses nowadays are investing more and more into business travels, which helps them expand connections and reach their organizational goals further.
But like with leisurely traveling, business traveling is no piece of cake. It’s packed with small but crucial details that you can’t afford to neglect if you ever want to make your business trip a success.
Whether you’re a first-time traveler or you’ve been doing this for some time now, it still applies that there are some traveling secrets you could use to make your business trip a success. After all, this kind of trip is more situation-sensitive, as you’re representing your company and not just exploring a new place as a mere traveler.
Here are our top secrets to make your business trip a sure success!
1. Pack smart
One of the basics when it comes to traveling is to make sure you’ve packed everything you need, but it’s much more essential to pack smart and pack with a plan. Bringing a large suitcase for a short stay will only tire you out, plus it will cost you more with your baggage fees. Also, it helps not to forget anything, and we all know you aren’t in luxury to just head back for it in a snap, right?
Unless you’re traveling for a couple of days and have multiple events you must attend, try to limit yourself to a carry-on bag. This way, you’re less likely to lose your bag – and your essentials along with it. If it’s unavoidable that you use a suitcase, make sure you have a contingency plan if it gets lost by having your most important belongings in your carry-on.
Consider what activities you’re sure to do during your trip and try to pack items that can be used for multiple occasions. For other essentials such as toiletries, unless you use specific brands or have urgent needs for it, you might find that you can opt to check the local convenience store and purchase your toiletries from there. The same goes for medicine.
2. Have a separate copy of your documents and T&E policy
Having multiple copies of your relevant documents, such as passport, visa, credit cards, IDs, any documents that you need for business meetings, and even your Travel & Expense (T&E) Policy, ensures that, in case you lose them, you can immediately:
- Report to the authorities and provide them your complete details so they can quickly offer solutions (in the case of passport, visa, cards, etc.)
- Have another copy you can immediately use if you don’t have the time to run to an internet café and print it out (for business documents, T&E Policy, etc.)
You can also use the copy of your vital identifications in place of the original, so you’re less likely to lose them outside or have them stolen while you’re on the streets. You can leave your passport and other IDs in your hotel room and feel safe that they’ll still be there when you get back.
3. Plan ahead – way ahead!
Things can go wrong during travels, and they will. The only way you can circumvent this is by having backup plans for when they do go wrong. Think of all the ways that the journey can inconvenience you – from lost luggage, stolen essentials, delayed flights, loss of contact, getting lost in an unfamiliar place, wardrobe malfunctions, and more. If you manage to plan for these disasters before you head off to your destination, things are guaranteed to flow smoother.
If this is your first time traveling long distances, you can check in with other, more experienced travelers on what you can expect, what has gone wrong with their trips before, and how they managed to solve their problems. Travel wisdom often comes from experience, and those with multiple ones are sure to have some valuable advice for you.
4. Dress appropriately
Long flights or road trips can be unbearable for comfort when you’re wearing stifling clothes, but you shouldn’t also look like a total couch potato, especially if you’re expecting your client soon after a flight. This can be especially disastrous if your airline somehow manages to lose your luggage, and you’re stuck with whatever you’re wearing during the trip.
Business attire can be uncomfortable during your trip (especially if it’s a long one), so you can opt to wear smart casual clothes. Something like a maxi skirt with a presentable blouse or a comfortable button-down and professional but comfortable pants should do the trick.
5. Make reservations early and confirm them
Reservations are useful for making sure that your appointments will be conducted smoothly and on time, as you aren’t always sure that you’ll be accommodated immediately if you ask for a table in a popular restaurant or if you hail a chauffeur service for a rush ride. You may have to wait a long time, or not get your service entirely. Make reservations ahead of time to ensure that things can go smoothly.
But like we said before, if things can go wrong, they will. There’ve been multiple instances when people found out that their reservations don’t exist in the system despite booking in advance because of negligence, and only knew about it when things are too late and they’re already at the front doors.
So, make sure that you check in with your reservations in advance to make sure that they aren’t lost or weren’t encoded in their systems. You wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself and your client by having to demand your reservation on the day itself or scramble to fix the issue at the moment. Call a day in advance, and if things are already going wrong, at least you have the time to fix the problem.
6. Know the place you’re traveling to
Going in blind to the place you’re visiting is a recipe for disaster. You can easily get lost or wander into unsafe parts of town, which can cause you undue stress. It can also cause you legal troubles if you do not know the rules and regulations of the place and end up breaking them unintentionally.
Before you go on your trip, research the vital details you should know about the place, such as what you can and cannot do in public; the different routes to take depending on your destination; which places to avoid; where your Embassy is (and how to get there); essential contact details in the place (such as emergency services), and even where the stores you need are.
Researching also helps you figure out which places you can go to for a bit of a break and relaxation – after all, you’re away from your typical work environment and in a new place, so why not check out the local scene while you’re there? You can also augment your experience by learning some of the most common phrases and where you can mingle with locals and fellow travelers.
With these secrets in mind, we hope you have a successful, eventful, and memorable business trip! Ensuring you’re well-prepared and are ready physically, emotionally, and mentally will surely make the trip worthwhile.