Jetting off to an international location at the company’s expense might sound like a dream come true to many employees – but seasoned business travellers can tell you it’s not as easy as it sounds!
Business trips can put you under a lot of pressure, knowing that your company is trusting you to represent them, and expecting results. The stakes are high, and every meeting, presentation and client interaction requires careful planning.
International travel can take its toll on your health, and the added pressure of your company’s expectations can leave you feeling stressed out and run down. Here are a few smart ways to make sure you’re prepared for the challenges of your next business trip.
Prepare Your Papers
If you are responsible for making your own travel arrangements, be sure to book well in advance. Reserve your tickets and accommodation, as well as a rental car if needed. Find out which documents you need (such as passports, visas or an international driver’s license).
Put together a detailed itinerary for your trip, including the following:
- Details of the hotels and car rental company you will be using;
- Dates and times of all business meetings scheduled;
- Contact information of all the people you are meeting (in case of delays or emergencies).
It’s also a good idea to find out if your home country has an embassy or consulate in your destination country, in case you run into an emergency or a dangerous situation.
Start making a list of what to pack a few weeks ahead, and gradually add to it until you’re ready to start packing your suitcase. Start with essential items such as your laptop, reports and contracts, and travel documents; then move onto clothes, toiletries and extras. This will help you to avoid leaving anything important behind.
Just in case your luggage or laptop goes missing, be sure to back up your information, presentations and documents onto a flash drive or external hard drive. Store this drive safely and separately, either in your carry-on bag or on your person.
Confirm whether you need to have vaccinations or specific medications (like malaria pills) before your trip. Make sure you get all the right vaccinations in good time, and book a general health check-up as well if necessary. Some travellers also find it helps to take immune-boosters before their flight, to protect them from catching troublesome bugs.
If you’re on any medications, ensure that your doctor prescribes you enough to last for the duration of your trip.
Find out about your company’s travel expense and reimbursement policies. Keep track of what you spend, and keep all your receipts. This will protect you against unexpected personal costs while travelling.
Make sure you have enough of the right currency for use while you travel, and confirm that your bank card can be used at your destination.
When you’re travelling to a different country, especially on business, it pays to be informed about the local culture and etiquette. Certain behaviours, phrases and physical gestures can be interpreted very differently from one country to the other.
Because you’re representing your company, you want to make sure you create a good impression and avoid offending anyone. Do your research before you set off.
When you’re properly prepared, you’ll find it much easier to relax and enjoy the excitement that comes with visiting a new destination.