The client is ready. The project awaits. It’s time to hit the road to get to work. But if this is your first time planning an extended stay out of town for your job, you may be wondering: How do you actually prepare for a business trip? Or maybe you’ve just returned from another business trip and are thinking: There’s got to be a better way.
Here’s the scoop: The keys to executing a successful business trip are careful planning and moderation. You want to travel light – but not too light.
In this article, we will cover:
- – Booking travel and lodging
- – The business trip packing list
- – Choosing and packing your luggage and travel accessories
In a nutshell, we’ll tell you what you need to know to prepare for a business trip the right way.
Reservations and Lodging for Business Trips
Many large corporations have somewhat automated systems or they partner with other organizations to handle their flight, rental car, hotel and corporate housing reservations. If your company does this, follow existing protocols or seek an exemption (if you have good cause). You want to make sure you don’t incur out-of-pocket expenses that won’t be reimbursed.
If your company does not have established protocols for booking business travel, begin your search for flights, cars and corporate lodging as far in advance as possible. When booking, ask for the corporate rate, or ask if the provider offers a discount to business travelers. Most established corporate-run companies that cater to business travelers will have a discount.
As you prepare for a business trip, beware the inflexibility of booking through some travel aggregators. It’s great to save the company 80 bucks on a flight, but if your client on the other end reschedules, you may have to write off that ticket and buy a new one.
The Essential Business Trip Packing List
Depending on the length of your trip and the whether where you’re going, your packing list could be so short that everything will fit in your carry-on bag, or so long that you’ll need to rent a cart to haul everything. If you will need product samples for your trip, check into having them shipped ahead to your customer’s place of business or to your corporate lodging..
For presentations, you’re going to need:
- – Your deck
- – Visual aids
- – Your laptop
- – Your tablet
- – Chargers and power supplies
The rest of your packing list should include:
- – Toiletries in travel-sized bottles
- – Workout clothes and/or a swimsuit
- – A business outfit for each day you’ll be in meetings and presentations
- – Dinner wear (if you’ll be taking clients out)
- – Casual clothes for travel days and for relaxing at your hotel or corporate apartment
Of course, you can save space in your suitcase by checking ahead with your accommodations on what will be provided. If you’ll be staying in corporate housing, for instance, your apartment will be fully furnished and serviced and may have a business center and even conference rooms.
Two More Business Trip Considerations
Of course, if you can get away with one rolling suitcase, small enough to fit in an overhead luggage compartment, do so. Waiting for lost luggage to catch up with you is a drag, even under the best of circumstances. For a corporate traveler, lost luggage has the potential to ruin a business trip.
Also, keep in mind that resting while on the road may require extra tools. If you are a light sleeper, you might want an eye mask, a white noise device, and a neck pillow. They could make the difference between closing the deal and yawning your way through a presentation.