Traveling for business is a bit different from traveling for leisure. You’re on someone else’s schedule, and often someone else’s dime. Plus, you want to prove that you’re a professional to clients or associates.
To help you out, here are five tips that you can use to look like a business travel expert, from someone who’s been there before.
Be Prepared for Bad Cell Service
You never know when you’re going to find a service dead zone, especially if you’re traveling internationally. To make sure you’re always prepared, take pictures and screenshots of your travel documents while you’re still on the office Wi-Fi.
Snap quick images of hotel and flight confirmations, addresses and maps to any business or conference locations, and contact information for anyone you may need to reach. Also, download local maps before you get there, so that you can use GPS navigation without a wireless signal. Showing up late to the big meeting because Google Maps wasn’t working is not a good look.
Prevent Roaming Charges
It may seem crazy in 2019, but roaming charges are still a thing when you travel internationally. Even if you try to stick to Wi-Fi while traveling, third party apps running in the background can skyrocket your data usage.
The best way to keep access to your phone and prevent a shocking phone bill is to add an international plan for the duration of your trip. The major cell carriers (Verizon, T-Mobile, & AT&T) all have temporary international plans that will let you talk, text, and use data for $10 per day or less. Believe it or not, Sprint actually has free global roaming for anyone with an LTE/GSM enabled smartphone.
If you’re traveling to a business conference, scoring tickets to the event is only the first step in planning your trip. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the last minute to book your accommodations.
Conferences can pour thousands of people into a city, and hotels will book up fast. You don’t want to be stuck miles away from the convention site, racking up huge Uber bills and staying far from networking opportunities.
Book your hotel as soon as possible, and stay close to the action. The ability to say “yes” to a late dinner or cocktails with an important client can mean the difference between a successful trip and a wasted travel budget
Leave Yourself a Travel Time Buffer
Air travel is unpredictable. Make sure you leave yourself a time buffer in case things go wrong.
If you have a 9:00 AM meeting, do not take the last flight out the night before. There’s always a chance your flight could get canceled. You won’t be able to get re-booked until the next day, almost guaranteeing that you won’t make your meeting. We all understand that planes get delayed, but meetings often cannot be rescheduled, and important business decisions will be made with or without you.
Leave yourself plenty of time between arrival and your first event so you can get to your hotel, get checked in, freshen up, and do any last-minute preparations. However long you think you’ll need, double it. You want to arrive at your event calm, polished, and professional — not half-crazed from sprinting through the airport.
Skip the Checked Bag
I spent years as an over-packer. I would pay to check a bag because “you never know” if you’ll need an extra undershirt or half a dozen extra pairs of dress socks. Over the years I’ve learned how rarely I’ve actually been in need of the extra clothing, and it’s more than likely that any major city will have a clothing store within walking distance, should disaster strike. Stick to a carryon, if at all possible.
Checked luggage can go missing, which is an extra stressor that you don’t need on a business trip. You’ll also save time by not checking a bag and waiting for it when you reach your destination. Just make sure to keep your liquids below the TSA’s 3-ounce limit.
Business travel is all about being prepared. Learn more about business travel and how to be prepared by checking out 50+ Business Travel Stats That Will Surprise You. By taking a little time to plan before your trip, you can take the aggravation out of business travel and keep your head in the game!