When you embark on your next corporate travel adventure, it’s essential to be prepared. This won’t only make you look professional, but it will make your trip easier.
We created a comprehensive list of tips for your business trip, categorized for all the stages of your traveling: before, during and after. That way, you can be sure you won’t miss any important aspect and you can simply focus on your networking and job.
Tips for preparing for business travel
We recommend you start preparing some of these tips a few weeks before your travel date. That way, you can be sure you cover all of them and you won’t need to worry about any last-minute preparations.
1. Know your company’s business travel policy
Before booking a business trip or doing anything practical, you should read through your company’s business travel policy. This way, you ensure you’re doing everything right and by the book.
2. Check with IT if you’re all set to work remotely
If you’re not used to working remotely, it’s a good idea to check with your company’s IT services whether you’re all set to work from a different location. This might mean you need a VPN to connect securely to your network or activate roaming on your phone.
A few cyber security recommendations when traveling for business are:
- Keep your firewall on when using a public network
- Make sure your antivirus is up to date
- Use a screen privacy protector on your laptop
3. Pick your accommodation carefully
If you’re traveling for work, a good business travel tip is to pick the accommodation that suits your business needs.
Also, it’s worth checking if your company collaborates with any hotel chains or if you can access free upgrades through loyalty programs. That way, you can get extra comfort at the same cost.
Here are some other elements to take into consideration:
- Check if your company’s travel policy has any criteria you should respect when choosing your accommodation.
- Consider whether it’s preferable to stay close to your working location or close to the airport.
- Make sure the hotel or apartment you’re staying at has a reliable Wi-Fi connection.
- Check if the accommodation has a laundry service (especially for a longer stay).
- Opt for accommodations with included meals, so you can save time and money.
- Read a few reviews and make sure your accommodation is quiet during the night.
- Pick an accommodation that has round-the-clock reception service, in case your flight is delayed.
4. Book a direct flight
One of the most common corporate travel tips is to try avoiding layovers by booking direct flights. This will minimize the possibility of missing your connecting flight and being late for some important work appointments.
If you can’t avoid layovers, we recommend leaving enough time between two flights so you won’t miss an important connection.
5. Research the time difference and be prepared for jet lag
Speaking of flying: always check the time difference, so you’re prepared for jet lag. Unfortunately, the symptoms can be very harsh and if you don’t take preventive steps, you might suffer from insomnia and headaches for the whole duration of your business trip.
6. Pack smart
You can save time and money if you only opt for carry-on luggage. You can also skip the check-in and baggage claim steps, and avoid the risk of your bag getting lost.
You can check out a basic traveling packing list for your business travel and pack smartly for your upcoming trip. Some fundamental elements are:
- Charging adapters for the destination country
- Small toiletries (preferable under 100ml)
- Any gifts you might have for your colleagues
- The right clothes for the weather
7. Make sure your identity document isn’t expired
You don’t want to miss your business trip because of an expired identity document, so check regularly when your ID or passport’s expiration date is approaching.
It’s also a good idea to always have a copy of your identity document with you, as it will facilitate the administrative procedures in case of emergency.
Also, be sure to check before traveling if you need a visa to go to your destination. In your company’s travel policy it should mention if they’ll help you apply or not.
8. Prepare all your business documents beforehand
A business trip is the perfect opportunity to create new connections, acquire clients and resolve any corporate difficulties. That’s why you should have all the documents you might need ready before departure, as well as printing any necessary contracts or resources.
9. Plan how you’re going to get to and from the airport
You can plan on reaching the airport via public transportation, taxi or private/rental car. In any case, it’s good practice to check for your itinerary beforehand.
If your company covers the cost, make sure you have your taxi to and from the airport booked before your trip. If booking a taxi isn’t the best option because you want to have more freedom, renting a car might be the way to go.
Business travel tips to follow while traveling
Once you reach the airport, your business travel officially begins. Some good points to keep in mind are:
10. Enjoy your time at the airport
If you can, opt to spend your hours before departure in the airport lounge. There, you can enjoy free food and drinks, do some work if you need to or simply relax before your flight.
11. Use travel apps
Travel apps can help you make business journeys easier than ever before. If you download all the apps from this comprehensive list, you won’t need to worry about your corporate travel experience.
12. Keep track of your expenses
If you don’t have a company credit card and you need to pay upfront, make sure you keep all your receipts. Not only that, but uploading them in an expense tool or taking pictures to keep them as a copy would make sure you can keep track of all of them.
Before spending any money that your company might not reimburse, make sure you read through the company’s travel policy to know how much you’re allowed to spend on meals, drinks etc.
13. Exchange money at the airport
If you’re traveling for work to a destination that has a different currency than your own, it’s easier to exchange money at the airport or opt for cards that have multiple currencies.
If you opt for cash, be sure to have small bills you can offer as tips for any meals you grab. Of course, check in advance if tipping is popular at your destination to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
14. Try to add a bit of leisure time
Business travelers might have noticed the rise of bleisure: a combo of business and leisure time. You can also focus on relaxing and enjoying the new culture you find yourself in, while also traveling for work.
15. Don’t forget about your health
A corporate travel tip a lot of travelers bypass is to focus on your health. Either by opting for an accommodation with a gym or taking many breaks to stroll around, you can’t ignore this important step.
To make the most of your business trip, pay attention to the following:
- Make sure you get enough sleep
- Mind what you eat
- Drink plenty of water
Also, don’t forget to pack your usual medicine (be ready to present your doctor’s prescription if needed) and supplements so you can keep your daily routine.
16. Be mindful of the cultural differences
Once you arrive at the office and start having your meetings, keep in mind that you’re a guest in another country and another office. Follow the best practices you’ve been taught before leaving or follow the lead of your colleagues.
Business travel tips for after traveling
Once you return to the office after your business trip is over, there are a few things you should do to make sure you end your trip the right way and capitalize on the connections you made.
17. File your expense report
Once you’re back at the office, don’t delay filing your expense report. The more you wait, the more you might forget about things or even miss a submission deadline.
Make sure to file your report properly:
- Input the exact amount, don’t round up
- Attach copies of receipts
- Don’t submit personal expenses
18. Stay in touch
Have you met new clients, coworkers or potential partners during your trip? Just because your business trip has come to an end doesn’t mean the work for you and your company stops there.
Some ways you can stay in touch:
- Send them an email to thank them for their time
- Share some notes about your meetings and underline any action items or ideas you agreed upon
- Connect on LinkedIn
19. Give feedback on the travel policy
The easiest way to learn is by doing. If you notice any discrepancies between the reality of traveling for work and the company’s travel policy, be sure to inform the person responsible. That way, you can ensure travel compliance from other business travelers.
20. Debrief on your findings
Traveling for business can teach you a lot about the business, but you also need to share that information right back. Organize meetings to debrief about what you learned and best practices you witnessed to help strengthen your company.