Today’s technology is constantly allowing us to connect an communicate effectively, despite different time zones, culture and language.
But sometimes a video conference just doesn’t do the trick and face-to-face interaction is essential in maintain long-lasting business relationships. When leaving for a business trip, planning ahead and taking care of as many things as possible before travelling is essential, as things can get a little hectic on those type of trips. Follow these steps to make sure every important detail of your travel is covered and you will have time to focus on what’s really important there – your meetings.
Make Travel Arrangements
Planning a business trip may seem easy, but it’s way different than preparing for a personal trip or weekend getaway. Before beginning to plan out every single detail of the trip, make sure you are familiar with the company’s travel policy, as you will be travelling for your company’s interest. The company policy contains important details such as travel purpose, transportation expenses or medical expenses, as well as bill reimbursements for meals or business meetings.
The first thing you need to do is book your travel. You will have to consider every step you will have to make to travel from point A to point B. Will you be travelling by plane? Will somebody come pick you up from the airport? Will you have to rent a car to use throughout your stay? Consider every detail before departure, to make sure you won’t be wasting time struggling to find a cab in a crowded airport. Book plane tickets ahead and check the distance between the airport and your accommodation. Find out what the best transportation method is, to meet both your needs and your company’s budget restraints. Taking care of as many details as you can before leaving will help you feel much more relaxed and confident during your trip and meetings.
Decide on Accommodation
After making sure every travel detail is in place, the next thing on your list should be choosing the appropriate accommodation. Depending on how many meetings you have planned and where they are scheduled to take place, make sure you book accommodation nearby. Choosing an apartment or hotel room that is 50 minutes away from your meeting place may not do the trick, especially if you will have to face rush hours in a crowded city.
Check your company’s policy regarding accommodation to see if there are any preferred options available and what the cost limits are. When booking your stay, make sure to compare prices and choose an option that is fairly priced. While it may be hard to believe, there are other alternatives to Airbnb for short corporate stays in the area.
Taking into consideration the amenities of the place you will be staying at is also important. Will breakfast be included? Will you be having free Wi-Fi so you can work from your room? Will room service or cleaning be available at any time? Make sure you find the best option, considering your itinerary.
Create an Itinerary
Think of your itinerary as a blueprint that ensures your trip’s success. Schedule your meetings and write down all the important details, such as meeting hours, names of the people you will meet, important addresses and phone numbers. If you are constantly stuck to your phone, there are many apps that can help you plan your itinerary, with alerts that can be set to 30 minutes before the event and many other different hacks to help you stay organized. If you are relying more on pen and paper, make sure you write down every meeting and all the useful information about it. Leaving a copy of your itinerary to someone at the office may also be a good idea, so they won’t be interrupting any important meeting in can they need to contact you. One day before you leave, check the itinerary and make sure all changes have been added to it. In case some meetings have been delayed or postponed, you will want to have that written down.
Research the Destination
Get familiar with the city you are going to stay in. This will help you feel more comfortable when arriving and avoid trouble. Reading some local news on the plane or on the train may help you familiarize with the city even better and will serve as good conversation starters in between meetings. If you are travelling to a country with a different culture than yours, avoid embarrassing situations by getting accustomed to their culture and habits. For example, tipping the waiter the correct amount at the end of a business dinner can earn you some bonus points in front of your potential clients. Learning a few basic phrases if you are visiting a country where English is not the common language can really make a difference. Find out how to pronounce some simple sayings like “Hello!”, “Goodbye!”, “Please” and “Thank you” for a good first impression.
Pack Only the Essentials
When packing for a business trip, bring only the necessary items. Avoid overpacking by planning your outfits based on how many meetings you will be attending. Pack some casual clothes as well, as you may get the chance to find a few free hours and explore the area. To avoid any issue, pack a spare change of clothes in your carry on in case your bags get misplaced and you will have to wait for them to be delivered.
Don’t forget your travel documents. Depending on your trip, you may need to print out travel tickets, have a valid passport and sometimes even a visa. Make sure you research exactly what types of documents you need in order to travel safe. Make sure you keep a photo ID with you at all times, as you may need it to clarify you are the ticket owner.
When packing electronics, remember to bring the correct adapters too, to avoid running out of battery and roam the streets in search of a type B plug-in adapter.