Heading On That First Business Trip? Here’s Some Practical Advice

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The following is a partnered post…

Your first business trip is an exciting milestone in the story of your career. No matter where you’re going, who you’re going for, what you’re doing and how much your expenses limit is, going out into the world as an ambassador can be an adventure.

For this reason, it’s important to prepare correctly. Travel can be arduous, and so in order to give the best account of ourselves, plans should be made in advance. If you’re lucky, the business you work for will have sorted most of your trip beforehand. This might include flights, a rental car, a hotel room, and an expenses card. 

However, there are still some preparations you can make to ensure everything is to hand.

Pack Smart & Light

Remember that this isn’t a vacation, and it’s wise to pack efficiently. A carry-on bag and a small suitcase should be fine for most short trips. Remember to include enough clothing items that can be mixed and matched so you don’t have to think about formal or comfortable outfits, as well as any necessary tech gear like laptops and chargers. Also, don’t forget essentials such as business cards, a notepad, and any documents you might need for meetings or presentations. This way, you’ll have everything to hand but won’t feel burdened by carrying your entire office or wardrobe with you at once.

Stay Connected & Organized

Keeping in touch with your office and staying on top of your schedule is pretty much essential during a business trip. Luckily, you can download helpful apps for travel, such as flight trackers or local transportation guides to make things just a little easier and simpler. If the hotel has an app, download it, it might let you check in and out without even bothering the front desk. 

Moreover, you can make sure your phone plan includes data allowances for your destination, or look into portable Wi-Fi options like a WiFi stick. Also, VPN for PC software can protect you while on public WiFi. It’s also a good idea to have a digital and physical copy of your itinerary, including flight details, hotel information, and meeting schedules just so you always have something to refer back to. Setting up a few calendar reminders can be helpful too.

Keep Track Of Those Expenses!

Managing your expenses properly is usually a requirement of the business you’re working for, because it’s important to have everything you need to hand for reimbursement, and proof of payment there. You can familiarize yourself with your company’s expense policy before you leave to make sure you don’t spend way too much on an item that isn’t included.

So, keep all receipts, even for small purchases, and consider using a mobile app to track your spending too. Some companies might have an app you can scan receipts from to upload them to the accountants back home. If you’re given a company credit card, make sure you understand the guidelines for its use so as not to cause any issues. They’ll appreciate it.

Balancing Work & Self-Care

Sure, you’re here to work, but that doesn’t mean you need to operate flat out from morning to night. Try to maintain some semblance of your usual routine if you can, such as exercise or meditation in the morning and evening respectively to prepare or wind down from a busy day

If possible, schedule some downtime to explore your destination or simply relax. It will help you avoid overthinking or becoming overly excited despite the new environment. Maybe you’ll have a few hours to see a local landmark, or just eat in a nice restaurant or deli. Sure, you’re not here to sightsee and have fun at your company’s expense, but having a little time to ground yourself is fine. Even if you just use the hotel spa and eat a good breakfast, that can be enough.

Moreover, balancing your time is a good habit to get into. You’ll be on the clock, so if you have an hour to spend resting productively, that can help you think more readily the next day. We’d recommend staying away from any screens except for just work. Taking a book along with you, enjoying a nice riverside walk, or heading to the local museum if you have some of the morning free can be nice methods of clearing your head.

With this advice, we hope you’ll have a great time on your business trip and no doubt achieve much more than you had anticipated. Good luck!