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Business travel – love it or hate it – can be a big part of many people’s lives. It is an indication that you are moving up in your career. The doors to newer opportunities, clients, and projects are opening up for you. It can be an amazing and rewarding experience.
Some business travelers love the idea of exploring with (almost) all expenses paid. Others find the constant travel and time away from home a big challenge. It is especially true if you’re a first-time business traveler. You have a ton of questions making rounds in your head.
- How do I pack for a business trip?
- What should I wear to meetings?
- How can I make the best use of my time on the road?
If you find yourself on the road for work more often than not, it’s important to know how to make the most of your time and maximize your productivity.
Here are a few things every first-time business traveler should keep in mind:
Schedule the Flight for a Time that Works for You
One of the best things about business travel is that you can usually control your flight schedule to some degree. Travelers with the option (and authority) to do so must keep two things in mind – their work commitments at the destination and the time difference. It is best to book a flight that arrives a day before an important meeting. This way, you can avoid travel fatigue and be fresh for what awaits you (probably meetings and some more meetings).
Know Enough Details
It can be confusing for first-time business travelers to get everything right and clearly understand their itinerary. The key is to know just enough details about your trip – starting from the airport you’ll be landing at to the mode of transportation you’ll be using to get around town. It will help minimize any chances of getting lost or wasting time figuring things out. For instance, if you’re landing at JFK and have to travel to Manhattan, you’ll be able to pre-book a car service from JFK to Manhattan instead of trying to figure out the subway system. Similarly, if your destination airport is in Los Angeles, it might be helpful to know in advance what Los Angeles car service options are available to you.
Be Smart About Packing
You don’t need to pack your entire closet for a business trip, no matter how long it may be. A good rule of thumb is to pack clothing that you can mix and match to create different looks. Choose a color palette and stick to it. It will help you save space in your suitcase and keep your outfit options open.
In addition to clothes, don’t forget to pack your essentials like a toothbrush, deodorant, and any medications you may need. Also, keep in mind your “free” personal item allowance if you’re flying. It is usually a small bag or purse that can fit underneath the seat in front of you.
Sort Your Transportation Options in Advance
How do you plan on getting around once you land at your destination? Most travelers use an airport car service that can take them from the airport to their hotel or wherever they need to go. If you want an option for your daily commute, look for the best car service in the USA so you can be sure to have a comfortable and safe ride. Depending on your group size, you might be able to hire SUVs, mini-coaches, or limo buses with reasonable hourly rates. And if you’ve forgotten to make any arrangements, you can always turn to Google and look for “car service near me” to find yourself a suitable ride.
Plan Your Trips
Do you plan to pair your business travel with leisure (at your expense) to make the most of your time? If yes, then start planning early. Nothing is worse than being jet-lagged and trying to figure out what to do in a new city. Once you have your business itinerary sorted, look up tourist attractions and list places you would like to visit. It could be a museum, a historical landmark, or even a nice restaurant with good reviews.
Keep Your Schedule Free
When traveling for business, your time is not entirely your own. You might have to attend meetings or client dinners that run late into the night. That’s why keeping your schedule free as much as possible is important. If you’re traveling with family or friends, make sure they know your commitments and are okay with exploring the city independently. Most business travelers plan leisure activities after their business responsibilities are out of the way.
Don’t Compromise on Business Stature
Just because you’re traveling for business, it doesn’t mean you should compromise on your business stature. Make sure you have everything you need for your presentation or meeting, including business cards, a notepad, and pens. First impressions matter; you don’t want to be caught off guard. If your company has entrusted you to make arrangements for a meeting with a VIP client, make arrangements that align with your organization’s reputation. From hiring a stretch limo service in NY to organizing a five-star dinner, don’t cut corners when it comes to your business.
Make Use of Airport Lounges
How much time do you have before your flight? If you have a few spare hours, use the airport lounge. It’s a great place to catch up on work or rest before your flight. Most airport lounges have comfortable seating, Wi-Fi, and various food and drink options. And if you have an airline credit card, you might even get access to the lounge for free. Check with your credit card company to see if you’re eligible for a complimentary lounge pass.
Honestly, almost every employee wishes to travel first-class, dine in five-star restaurants, and stay in luxurious hotels. But the sad reality is that most business trips are far from glamorous. Nevertheless, with a little planning and preparation, you can make the most of your business trip and maybe even enjoy yourself along the way.
So, don’t expect your first business trip to be a vacation. But if you keep these travel tips in mind, you can minimize the stress that comes with business travel.