Planning a getaway to a sunny, warm state like Florida or a vivacious, lively city like New York is an exciting way to use up vacation days and escape the pressures and stresses of the reality of the daily grind.
What’s not to like about sunshine and sand, or bright neon lights and world-class shopping? Well, lots of things, if you are traveling because you have to instead of because you want to. Traveling for work can be a completely different experience than traveling for pleasure, but there are a number of things that you can do to make the experience more pleasant and enjoyable.
Here are the top five tips for traveling for business:
1 – Consider Checking A Bag
It is definitely tempting to just try to stuff your suits, shoes, shirts, and other earthly possessions into one tiny carry on, or worse, a personal item, but an important meeting half way around the country is not the time to pinch pennies. If you’re traveling for work, you probably are meeting with people you either have not met or do not see often, so you will want to make a good impression.
Wrinkled clothes or a forgotten hairbrush will not help you achieve that. Splurge and use the extra space to make sure you have everything you need to present yourself well. Often, you can purchase your extra bag in a “package deal” with other perks like choice of seating and priority boarding options.
If you have work to get done while you are traveling, this is a great deal. Choose a seat with extra leg room to stretch out and get comfy, and priority boarding so you can get yourself settled and get a little more work done while you are waiting for the rest of the plane to board.
2 – Invest In TSA Pre-Check
If you travel for work more than just once or twice a year, TSA pre-check is an enormous time saver. No more waiting in long lines, taking your shoes off, or fumbling to remove your laptop from your personal bag.
Just show them your pre-check indication on your boarding pass and go sailing through to your gate where you can check emails in peace until your boarding time.
3 – Make Sure Your Company Card Is Ready
If you plan on traveling outside of your region- across the country or out of the country entirely- you should notify your business credit card company and let them know where you are headed. Cards with particularly high security sometimes flag transactions occurring out of your normal purchasing area as possible theft and can freeze your card, so letting them know ahead of time that you will be traveling can prevent a headache. Alternatively, you can use a service like Remitly to have money wired to you, which is especially helpful for international travel.
4 – Learn The Local Business Customs
Since you are traveling to another country for business, it’s important to find out what the business customs are in that country.
For example, is it considered rude to be just a few minutes late to a meeting? What type of clothing are you expected to wear at a business meeting? Are small gifts expected when meeting someone or when coming to someone’s house at their invitation? These are the kinds of questions that you will need answered.
5 – Remember To Have Fun
Just because you did not book your trip for fun does not mean you are not allowed to enjoy yourself. Get up early and ask the hotel concierge for local breakfast places you can walk to- that way you get some exercise and a little local culture. Or perhaps your lunch with clients can take place somewhere unique, like a local museum cafe instead of the routine Panera.
If you are in town for a convention or trade show where no one is from the area, asking other attendees for sightseeing suggestions or to go sightseeing with you is a great way to break the ice and network.
Traveling For Work
While traveling for work is certainly not as fun as planning your own vacation, it does not have to be stressful and unpleasant. Spending a little extra time and money for a few extra conveniences can save you money, productivity, and convenience in the long run. Enjoy business travel for the experience it allows you- time out of the office to shake up your routine and try something new!