Did your boss just inform you that you will be going on a business trip? Are you confused about what you need to carry or preparations you should make in advance?
It may seem like you’re under a lot of pressure right now, but with the right planning, your trip can be both productive and enjoyable. We will give you an ultimate guide on how to prepare for your business trip to ensure it goes off without a hitch.
If this is your first time, be sure to read through to the end. There’s a good chance there are some things you haven’t considered in your list that are crucial.
So, let’s gets started.
Do You Have a Passport? Is It Valid?
It may seem like one of those obvious things, but trips tend to be chaotic, and you end up forgetting the simplest things.
If you have a passport, see that it is valid for six months from the travel date. This is a general rule of many airlines, and you may be denied travel permission if you don’t meet these criteria.
Don’t hope for the best if you don’t have six months left on it. Instead, apply for an urgent passport renewal. Make arrangements and bookings as soon as you realize your passport needs renewing.
You may have to travel to the passport office, but in return, you can often get your passport the same day.
Read the Company’s Travel Policy
If this is your first time going on a business trip for your company, you will need to read through the business trip agreement.
Some of the things that you should focus on include:
- What expenses the company will cover for your trip.
- Will your pay using a company credit card, or will they refund the money later?
This will help you utilize any offers that you may be missing out on. It also helps you prepare for your next trip.
Get Travel Insurance
Some companies offer travel insurance for their employees, but not all.
You can’t afford to assume your company is one of them, so if you’re not sure, go back to the company travel guidelines and confirm. It doesn’t hurt to ask other colleagues who have gone for business trips before.
Some people don’t understand why they need travel insurance when they feel they are already insured. If you are in this state, ask yourself one question: Does your insurance cover all cases of travel as well?
If the answer is NO, which is the case for most people, it’s wise to apply for one. Using comparison sites to shop around can help you find the best deals available.
No one plans on losing their possessions or getting into an accident. However, these things do happen and you don’t want your life (or your career) on the line.
While you’re at it, take additional precautions when it comes to your safety while travelling. Hiring security pros to escort you during your travel can dramatically reduce the chance of being conned or stolen from.
How Much Will You Spend When Going on a Business Trip?
Before you decide to go booking hotels and flights – you need to determine how much you are willing to put into the trip.
This will set the pace of the amount you spend on your ticket and hotel. Again, it is good to refer to the business policy to know how funds are allocated. Most companies have a Per Diem budget that tells you exactly how much you’ll be covered per day.
You may also want to include other extra expenses, like shopping for your family gifts. There is nothing that kills the mood of a great trip faster than a lousy budget. If you find your budget is tight, make room in your personal expenses to fully enjoy it.
Book Your Flight in Advance
It is always important to complete official things in advance. This gives you time to resolve anything that may go wrong. Booking a flight is one task that should always go on the top of the list.
You may realize that the airline you were planning on using is fully booked, and if it’s the last minute, it will only add to the frustration.
If your secretary is in charge of the bookings, confirm to see that he/she does it early enough. If an office travel assistant will be making the plans then be sure you clearly communicate available dates and share copies of travel documents ahead of time.
Sign-Up For Frequent Flyer Programs
If you feel like traveling is something you’ll do often in your position, sign up for a frequent flyer program for your favorite airline.
This is especially effective if you only use one airline for all of your business trips.
If not, you can sign-up with multiple airlines. This will give you a window to enjoy the perks no matter who you fly with. This means you’ll be able to cash out on the reward points, even if you didn’t pay for the actual flight.
Book Your Accommodation and Flight Together
If you have any control over how your hotel and flight will be booked, try to book them together. Many online booking agencies will give a significant discount when your hotel and flight are purchased as a package.
Be sure to consider factors such as how far the hotel is from the venue of the meeting. Will traffic inconvenience you?
In some cities, a hotel that’s a fair distance away may still be okay due to low traffic levels.
Also, compare the prices of different hotels to ensure you get a fair deal. Be sure to check the reviews as well because you don’t to be stuck in a room that will make you uncomfortable.
There’s also a chance your company is associated with a specific hotel program, so you’ll need to look under their umbrella of hotels first.
Keep All Your Documents Organized
Imagine getting to the presentation room and finding out that one document is missing? Devastating, right?
Even after organizing them, there’s always the chance of leaving important work documents behind.
Confirm you have everything before flying. Scan all documents and have them backed up to a cloud-based program to ensure you can get to it no matter where you are.
This may help you easily get photocopies in case of any accidents as well.
Take Your Time to Pack Everything You Need
Take the time to consider each day of your trip. Imagine what you’ll need from the moment you wake up until the time you go to bed and pack accordingly.
You also want to plan for the unexpected. You never know when you might’ve impressed a client and the offer of dinner or cocktails will arise. Whether you are going for a one-day trip or days, a packing list comes in handy.
This is What You Need in an Official Capacity:
Travel Documents: Have your hotel reservations, airline tickets, and rental car confirmations in one place. If you have all this in your tablet or phone, put them in one folder to avoid any frustrations.
Laptop Bag: You will need to remove your tablet or laptop from your luggage during the security check. It’s therefore critical to be prepared to avoid panicking, which may lead to the loss of essential gadgets. In the bag, remember to include thumb drives and power cords.
Business Cards: You never know who you may meet. Therefore, print and pack your business cards on every trip. You may be a card away from your dream client.
10″ x 13″ Envelopes for Expense Receipts: This is important for storing all the receipts you are using. Include the dates, expense amount, and why the spending was necessary.
Having them in order will make it easy when you are submitting the required receipts. Sometimes, losing the receipts may mean paying for the expenses, and you don’t want that.
If your company uses a budgeting or financial platform this is often one of the features included, making life much easier!
Here is What You Need in the Attire Department
Basic Bottoms: You may have heard that many successful people wear the same outfit every day, to ensure they don’t use their energy thinking about it.
When it comes to traveling for business, this is one tip to live by. It will help you pack light as you won’t need different shoe colors and belts. If possible, carry dark colors (black, brown, blue), as they don’t show dirt or wear fast.
Blazer or Jacket: Again, you don’t want a whole closet in your suitcase. Choose one or two blazers that match your bottoms.
Sweaters, Tops, and Blouses: Please choose a few whose prints can easily be mixed and matched with your bottoms and blazer.
A Travel Outfit: If you are going to be stuck on a plane for many hours, you don’t want to arrive at the destination feeling (or looking) tired. Choose comfortable clothes and shoes to wear during the trip.
While you may want to dress to impress, you want your comfort to come first.
The Right Shoes: Choose one or two heels that match with your outfits. If you are going for fieldwork, you may prefer carrying stylish flat shoes for tough times.
Extra Socks and Underwear: Carry enough for your trip and then add two pairs of each. Travelling can be exhausting, and you might need to freshen up at any time. You want to have enough when that time comes.
Workout Clothes: If you have been trying to keep fit, missing a few days may have a huge negative impact on your routine. Carry some light clothes that you can wash in the sink.
Toiletries: Remember that all gels and liquids should not be more than 3 ounces and should be packed in quart-size plastic bags.
You will, therefore, need to choose what you carry carefully; you need shampoo, face cleanser, hair spray, toothbrush, razor, and conditioner.
Pack all of these in an extra bag or outside pocket of your suitcase as you will need to remove them for inspection.
Tiny Umbrella: You may carry this in your purse just in case you land and it’s raining.
PS: Take time to read about the weather at your destination to be sure about the kind of clothes and shoes you will need.
Waiting until the last minute to exchange your money can result in a much higher exchange rate. If possible, convert some money before the trip.
You will not be the favorite customer/traveler if you produce a $1 or any other different currency to the shopkeeper.
Have a few notes for small emergencies. You can also order larger amounts through your banks ahead of time.
Make Communication Arrangements
Don’t be the type of person who travels and forgets all about their family and friends.
Know how you will communicate with your loved ones, especially if you are going to a remote area. If you will need to buy a local SIM card, set aside funds to see it happens.
It’s also essential to invest in a wi-fi connection. This can help you save a lot of time working on the plane. Although your hotel will probably be offering wi-fi, real travel pros know it’s wise to use your own internet connection to avoid viruses.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Are there any vaccinations that you need? Research and ensure you go through with them if need be.
Also, once you are there, don’t be tempted to live on junk food. This may make you foggy and tired, and you need to be on top of your game.
To prevent this from happening, research local places you can eat around your hotel.
Travel can be a stressful experience for many, harming your immune system. Be sure to take plenty of vitamin C while traveling and see if you can get in a quick meditation session or a relaxing walk each day.
Putting Your Best Foot Forward
Going on a business trip doesn’t have to be an exhausting experience, but you’ll need to be prepared.
Reviewing the list above and gathering whatever you can ahead of time can help you stay ahead of the game.
Is there anything you think we left out? Kindly comment below and help out the next person who lands on this list: sharing is caring. And feel free to check out our additional blogs on business and travel.