While technology has made communicating with business partners overseas an easy, everyday task, there are bound to be circumstances which merit a trip abroad. Certainly, going on a business trip could be potentially disruptive on both your personal and work schedule. However, if you know how to plan a business trip, you could make it into a pleasurable and productive one.
Here are some ideas which could help on your next business trip.
#1 Make your travel arrangements as soon as possible.
The moment you are advised of your trip’s schedule, start making your travel arrangements. Look at the different modes of travel available to you. Plan your routes, making sure you opt for the most efficient connections. A layover in a city you like might save you some money. But if it means eight hours of waiting time, and the possibility of a missed connection, it may not be worth it. Keep in mind too that the longer you take to book your airline tickets, hotel rooms, and car rentals, the more expensive your trip’s going to get.
#2 Make a plan for each and every day of your trip.
When planning a business trip, it’s important to chart a schedule for every day, and if possible every hour, of your trip. Map out your itinerary. Know exactly where you’re heading at any given moment, how you’ll get there, and how much time you’ll need. Make a doable and realistic schedule which covers time for work and a bit of play.
#3 Get ahead of your workload.
Keeping up with your workload is going to be challenging when you’re on a business trip. Prepare ahead of time and anticipate the demands of the business while you’re away. Advise your team of your schedule, pointing out periods when you may not be easily available. Allot times when you can catch up with your team. Delegate tasks whenever possible. Prepare an out-of-town-message, tagging a point person who can act on your behalf.
#4 Pack right.
With your itinerary down pat, you know exactly what you need to pack for your trip, from clothes and accessories to toiletries and medications. Make a checklist for your work paraphernalia as well, from gadgets and chargers to brochures, contracts, and other documents.
Packing right also means getting all your documents in order. Passport, visas, international driver’s license, credit cards, the right currency — you must prepare all of these in advance. Give your bank a heads-up as to when and where you’ll be traveling to ensure your credit card’s availability.
#5 Check out some travel apps that you can use.
Take advantage of technology by downloading some useful apps. TripCase can help you map out an itinerary and share it with family and colleagues, too. Another app, TripIt, automatically syncs your itinerary with calendar apps like Apple iCal, Outlook, and Google Calendar. It also has a Traveler Profile section where you can store document information and contacts. A bonus: The information is encrypted. Meanwhile, TravelBank helps you track all business expenses, allowing you to avoid any hassle related to reimbursement.
Check out your mobile provider’s roaming plans as well, so you can stay connected through text, call, email, and chat apps while you’re away. For instance, Globe myBusiness has a daily mobile data roaming flat rate of P599.
#6 Familiarize yourself .
You will be less stressed, and infinitely more productive, if you familiarize yourself with the town, city, or country you’re visiting. Take some time to review your itinerary with a local like the hotel concierge or a friend or work colleague based there. Find out where the best place is to grab a quick snack or a hot cup of coffee. Ask about the state of traffic and public transportation. Read up on local customs and traditions.
#7 Squeeze in self-care time.
When you’re on a business trip, you are not only there for yourself but more importantly for your organization. Whether you’re representing your organization in a series of meetings or a global conference, you must always put your best foot forward. And you can only be at your best when you take good care of yourself. Being on a business trip doesn’t mean staying out all night or junking your diet. Stick to healthy habits so you have the strength and stamina for a rigorous schedule. Find pockets of time to decompress. Go to the gym. Visit an art gallery or a museum. Take a walk in the park. See the sights. Do some souvenir shopping.
#8 Enjoy the ride.
Unfortunately, however best you prepare, you are bound to encounter some mishaps. A delayed flight, a misunderstanding over bookings, a meal not-so-friendly with your tummy — these could wreak havoc on your plans. It is during these times that you must look at the big picture. You have a purpose for going on that business trip, and you shouldn’t let a minor nuisance deter you from achieving your goal. Breathe. Stay calm. Focus. All will be well in time.
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