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 also make your trip easier.

We created a comprehensive list of tips for your business trip, categorized for all the stages of travel: before, during, and after. That way, you can be sure you won’t miss anything important and just 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 to 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, read through your company’s business travel policy. This way, you can make sure you’re doing everything by the book.

2. Check with IT that you’re all set to work remotely

If you’re not used to working remotely, check with your company’s IT services that you’re ready to work from a different location. You might need a VPN to connect securely to your network or to 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. Choose your accommodations carefully

If you’re traveling for work, a good tip is to pick accommodations that suit your business needs.

It’s also 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 for the same cost.

Here are some other things to consider:

  • Check if your company’s travel policy has any criteria you should respect when choosing accommodations.
  • Consider whether it’s preferable to stay close to your working location or to the airport.
  • Make sure the hotel or apartment has reliable Wifi.
  • Check if the accommodations have laundry services (especially for a longer stay).
  • Opt for accommodations with included meals to save time and money.
  • Read a few reviews to make sure your accommodations are quiet during the night.
  • Pick accommodations with round-the-clock reception services 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 important work appointments.

If you can’t avoid layovers, we recommend leaving enough time between flights so you won’t miss any connections.

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 harsh – if you don’t take preventive steps, you could suffer from insomnia and headaches for the duration of your trip.

6. Pack smart

Save time and money by opting for carry-on luggage only. You can also skip the check-in and baggage claim steps, and avoid the risk of your bag getting lost.

Check out a basic travel packing list for business travel, and pack wisely for your upcoming trip. Some fundamental things are:

  • Charging adapters for the destination country
  • Small toiletries (preferably under 100ml)
  • Any gifts you might have for your colleagues
  • The right clothes for the weather

7. Make sure your ID isn’t expired

You don’t want to miss your business trip because of an expired ID, so regularly check when your ID or passport expires.

It’s also a good idea to always have a copy of your ID with you – it will facilitate administrative procedures in the case of an emergency.

Also be sure to check before traveling whether you need a visa to go to your destination. Your company’s travel policy should mention if they’ll help you apply.

8. Prepare all your business documents beforehand

A business trip is the perfect opportunity to create new connections, acquire clients, and resolve corporate difficulties. That’s why you should have all the documents you might need ready before departure, and print any necessary contracts or resources.

9. Plan how you’ll get to and from the airport

You can plan to reach the airport via public transportation, taxi, or private/rental car. In any case, it’s a good idea to check your itinerary beforehand.

If your company covers the cost, book your taxi to and from the airport before your trip. If booking a taxi isn’t the best option because you want 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 trips 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 need to pay upfront, make sure to keep all your receipts. Even more, uploading them in an expense tool or taking pictures to keep as copies could help you keep track 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 to a destination with a different currency than your own, it’s easier to exchange money at the airport or opt for cards with multiple currencies.

If you opt for cash, get 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. 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 tip corporate travelers often skip is to focus on your health. Opt for accommodations with a gym or take breaks to walk around, but don’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 medicines (be ready to present your doctor’s prescription if needed) and supplements so you can keep your daily routine.

16. Be mindful of 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 travel

Once you return to the office after your business trip, there are a few things to 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 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 is over doesn’t mean the work for you and your company stops there.

Some ways to stay in touch:

  1. Send them an email to thank them for their time
  2. Share some notes about your meetings and underline any action items or ideas you agreed upon
  3. 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. This 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 back. Organize meetings to debrief about what you learned and best practices you witnessed to help strengthen your company.

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