Make the Most of Your Boring Business Trip
In the past month, my wonderful day job has sent me on two business trips to England - one for training and one for building client relationships.
I’ve have planned several trips for client, friends and of course, myself. I have mastered the art of being practical while allowing for whimsey and adventure. I’ve always been an avid holiday planner and I often I plan trips that I’ll not be taking any time soon. While doing this, I spend a lot of time on Google Flights, Pinterest, and all the travel deal sites like Secret Flying and HolidayPirates.
In organising business trips for myself and for clients, I’ve found that while planning a business trip is typically less intensive than booking holiday, it's just as important to spend time planning and organising the details to ensure that the trip goes smoothly.
You want to make sure you build in time for travel delays, at least one great meal, and to ensure that the purpose of the business trip is successful.
Planning Tips for ALL travel:
Master the use of Google Flights which is an extremely user-friendly site that allows you to track flight prices and comparing loads of similar flights. For example, you can add multiple departure or destination airports.
Use my favourite app of all time, TripCase. It tracks all of your trips, itineraries, bookings & reservations. It also keeps you up to date with any changes to your flights and automatically emails updates to people you designate.
Use Pinterest to find guides for 24 hours in a city. Pinterest is such an aesthetically pleasing search engine, that can help you find 2-3 perfect travel blog posts in a few minutes.
Download your flight entertainment. Whether it be a film, an ebook or a couple of podcasts you are going to want some options for staying entertained on your flights.
Packing Tips for Business Travel
Basic medications. A simple painkiller, an antihistamine, and a heartburn/digestive aide can work wonders if, heaven forbid, you aren’t feeling well and can help keep you focused on your important business.
External battery & chargers are essential when you are on the go and far from home. This will mean you have the battery to phone a taxi, or look up directions, or take a call from the office while you are away.
Multi-use items. Think of the scarf that can be used as a blanket or to carry things, toiletries or makeup that have multiple uses. Pack a shirt and trousers or a dress that can be dressed up for your meeting and dressed down for when you are just walking around the city.
Solid toiletries can make all the difference! You can pack all that you need without needing to worry about airline liquid restrictions AND have the added benefit of the fact that most solids come in more eco-friendly packaging or no packaging at all. It’s a win-win-win!
I asked some friends and colleagues who’ve also recently been on business trips what they wish they’d known or done differently:
Knowing the company and airline policies for compensation for flight cancellations, flight delays, lost luggage, and such. Knowing the procedure for making a claim with the airline, your company or the travel insurance.
Having an easy way to organise/track travel expenses. There are multiple great apps, travel wallets, and spreadsheets out there to get you started. Communicating with your company to find the best solution will allow you to keep everything easily sorted - instead of just having pockets full or receipts.
Having a photo or scan of travel documents can be critical if your originals are lost or stolen.
Be careful of wearing white on a business trip as it can easily get dirty and look dingy and unprofessional which can be awful when you are trying to put your best foot forward for the business.
Take a water bottle to fill after you get through security - like this collapsable one.
Sleep on the plane if you can, especially if you have an intensive day of meetings you’ll need to stay focused on. This can be extra important if you have a really early flight!
If you are checking a bag, take at least one change of clothes in your carry on. Should your baggage be lost or delayed having a spare shirt and set of undergarments can make a world of difference.
A little preplanning and automation can help the limited time you have on a business trip far less stressful. This should give you a bit more time to enjoy the perks of a paid for flight to a different city. So on your next business trip, you can look forward to enjoying a great meal, seeing the city, going to a museum, or doing a little shopping!