Beginner’s Guide to Business Travel

By | Posted June 14th, 2012

If you’re about to embark on your first business trip, it’s normal for you to be both anxious and excited. Don’t let your nerves overwhelm you—preparation and knowledge are the keys to having a relatively stress-free corporate trip. So what is it you need to know? Here’s a look at some important tips that can help you make the experience smoother, more successful, and more enjoyable.

Before You Go

Don’t wait until you’re 500 miles from home to start thinking about what to wear to your first meeting or how to present your PowerPoint. Knowing how to pack is essential. You don’t want to overpack, but you also don’t want to forget any components vital to your professional standards.

According to USA Today, one downfall of your suitcase being stuffed to the brim is that it could lead to your clothes wrinkling, which isn’t the best way to make a good first impression. However, underpacking can be just as detrimental because clothes have more space to move and shift around. The article suggests putting shoes at the bottom of the suitcase, then putting socks and underwear in the corners, and placing belts along the edges.

Additionally, it might be worth investing in some devices that will help keep your clothes in order and give you more peace of mind. For example, you can purchase a shirt folder, which keeps your work shirts free of wrinkles and stored away and protected in your luggage, CNN informs us.

Aside from packing, you’ll also need to plan out your spending. Sure, you won’t know everything you’ll need to plan for financially, but it’s almost a sure thing that you’ll need some sort of payment method (and you can’t always rely on your company credit card).

For example, traveling involves a lot of tipping—you’ll have to tip taxi drivers, bell staff, shuttle service drivers, etc. You’ll need cash, reports Forbes, so keep fives and singles with you. Also, don’t forget to alert your credit card company that you’ll be in a new location so there won’t be any suspicion of fraud.

Taking Your Office Along

Just because you’re out of the office doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared to do work and make presentations just like you would back home. Luckily, technology these days makes it much easier to have an on-the-go office than ever before. Think about the things you usually need at the office and figure out how they can be made portable.

Does your company have an online faxing service? Do you have a lightweight laptop and chargers for your devices? Does the hotel you’re staying at have printing capabilities? These are all things to consider and potentially acquire so you’re ready to set up quickly and conveniently.

To make your trip easier to manage but still sophisticated, consider using an iPad® or another tablet for presentations instead of your laptop. Give it a test run while you’re at home, and you might be impressed by its graphics and its light weight. Also, to have more of an office feel, CNET recommends you bring an external keyboard and mouse to make working at a hotel feel more familiar.

When it comes to actually getting down to work at the hotel, you might find that your hotel room just isn’t the best environment to concentrate or feel comfortable while on the computer, especially if there’s no desk. GigaOM suggests exploring other parts of the hotel—like empty, available conference rooms or the tables in the breakfast area—that have fewer distractions and are a more work-like environment.

Conclusion

Even if it’s your first work-related trip, you can still be prepared like a pro. It’s possible you’ll encounter road bumps along the way, but anticipating them can help you deal with the problems as they come. Improvising might leave you scrambling and thus most likely looking unprofessional.