10 Tips to Master Your Business Travel Nerves
By Carola Van Zyl
Being Properly Prepared
- Take Advantage of Airline Miles
If you are making your flight bookings yourself – use a credit card that offers free miles when you purchase tickets (e.g. American Airlines Citicard or Capital One Rewards) and use these on future bookings.
- Pack Light
If your trip is only for 2-3 days – try to pack everything you’ll need in a carry-on. Pack a few basic clothing items in neutral colors, which you can rotate out. Take travel-size toiletries, and minimize the number of extra items you take with you, such as books and bulky electronics.
- Master your Itinerary
Organize your trip itinerary into a tracker that will arrange and simplify your travel plans for you. For example, TripIt synchronizes with your calendar, as well as weather reports and maps as you travel. Remember you can use this whether you or your company booked the trip.
- Avoid Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Steer clear of spending unnecessary time and effort on compiling your travel expense report – keep all your receipts in one place, like an envelope, your wallet or a folder in your briefcase. By having all your business expense receipts together, you can keep better track of your business expenses and eliminate having to pay for items out of your own pocket.
Business, Then Pleasure
- Careful Scheduling
Be sure to schedule your meetings and appointments with enough time in between to ensure you don’t accidentally overbook yourself. When working out your schedule, consider “unpredictabilities,” such as traffic and unpleasant weather, and allow yourself enough travel time so that you always arrive expediently. Also, arrange your dinner plans slightly later than normal until you can navigate the city comfortably.
- Be Aware of your Limits
Keep in mind that you are on a business trip and therefore are representing your company. Save your excitement and new city adventures for a leisure trip. Business comes first, and you should know your limits on a night out, as any misconduct on your part will reflect badly on your company and may be reported to your CEO. Remember to keep it professional, and don’t allow yourself to get out of hand as if you were out with your friends.
- Skip the All-Nighters
It is vital that you get a decent night’s sleep before you start a day of meetings. When you’re out enjoying the nightlife, don’t forget about your morning agenda. Cut the evening outing short when you know you have a big day ahead.
Room-Sharing with a Colleague
- Split the Space
It might feel uncomfortable and like an inconvenience to have to share a room with a colleague, but the best you can do is make it work. Respect their privacy, don’t take too long in shared spaces (such as the bathroom), avoid awkward encounters by offering to exit the room while they dress/undress and hope they do the same – otherwise get ready in a private/closed space.
- Plug it in
Make sure you have fresh earplugs to offer your colleague if you know you snore or have a pair for yourself in case your new roommate is a snorer. Alternatively, use your headphones, and ensure you get a good night’s rest.
In the event that your room only has one bed, suggest that you rotate between the bed and the couch. If your colleague offers to sleep on the couch for most of the trip, express your gratitude by taking care of the housekeeping tip or buying them breakfast.
Make any business trip worthwhile and uncomplicated by keeping these tips in mind, wherever you may travel.