Hotel accommodation and transport arrangements are not the only important things you need to plan while planning to go on a business trip. To make the most of the opportunities to you, you need to be organized and ready to explore every contact and sales lead.
Before you leave home, there are a couple of tasks you need to undertake to ensure your peace of mind and to be sure that you haven’t forgotten something important.
Here is a list of a few things you need to look into before you leave for your trip:
- Confirm that your IDs are up to date: Before you leave, ensure that your driver’s license and passport are up to date. Making sure that your driver’s license is up to date will save you the trouble of not being able to get a rental car if you need to. If your trip is abroad, make sure that you check the expiration date of your passport well ahead of time, remembering you need at least six months before expiry to enter most countries.
- Do the necessary research on the city/state/country: You need to learn about the location that you are traveling to. This means you know what to expect when you arrive. It will also ensure you are savvy on basic facts which will come in handy when speaking to an audience. Also, find out the exchange rate of the country you will be visiting and take note of how much money in the local currency you would need to take out when you visit a local ATM upon your arrival.
- Clean yourself up: Get a good haircut to look smart and presentable.
- Get enough rest: A well-rested body and mind are your best-negotiating tools. Before leaving for your trip, give yourself a treat and ensure that you go to bed early. Cut back on your caffeine and alcohol intake and exercise the night before your trip. Showing up energetic and enthusiastic will win you the first round towards achieving your goals.
- Check your phone coverage: Check your phone plan and make sure that your phone will work in the country you’re traveling to and that data won’t cost a fortune.
- Refill your prescriptions: Make sure that you have enough prescription medication to last through the length of your trip without running out. To be sure that you are on the safe side and are prepared for any contingencies, you should consider taking a copy of your prescription.
- Get dry cleaning done: Visit your dry cleaner and get the clothes you will need for your business trip cleaned. Make a list of the attire that you will need on your trip to make sure that you do not forget anything while packing, especially if you have specific functions to attend.
- Get insurance: It’s not rocket science; make sure your employer has arranged adequate travel insurance.
- Notify your bank and credit card company of your travel: Notify your bank and credit card company of your trip and provide the list of your travel dates and locations to their customer service department. It often happens that many banks and credit card companies will freeze your card is used in unexpected locations.
- Pack your travel documents: Ensure that you pack all the essential documents that will be needed on your trip. Documents such as passport and driver’s license, reservations, confirmations, travel insurance and medical insurance information should not be forgotten.
- Make arrangements for any IT needs: If you will not be going on your trip with an IT person, it is advisable to contact the IT personnel that will be at the venue of the business meeting or conference. This is important if you intend to make a digital presentation or if the event involves a webinar, video conferencing, or any other situation involving technology. It is not advisable to rely on your own technical expertise unless you are an excellent computer wrangler.
- Verify the travel arrangements: If you will be taking flights, it’s likely that your company or the partnering company will take care of your flight arrangements. Save yourself the trouble of showing up late or being inconvenienced by checking every step of the arrangements made. From cab to the airport, shuttle to the hotel, check every link.
- Finish existing projects: Try to wrap up any unfinished work or projects before you leave. You don’t want to go on your trip and hold up other people while they wait for you to finish tasks.
- Back up your files: Do a complete back up of all documents and files which you might need during the business meeting/conference.
- Make sure your Visa has room for travel: Make sure you have enough funds in multiple accounts in case one of your cards is not working upon your arrival. It wouldn’t be a good thing to run short of funds during your trip.
Make travel and accommodation arrangements. Car rentals, airline tickets, train reservations, and hotel rooms don’t get any cheaper the longer you wait, and they don’t become more available. When you’re planning the dates of a business trip, either nationally or internationally, consider religious and local holidays because businesses and restaurants could be closed.
Put together an itinerary. In this itinerary, list flight information; ground-transportation information; the hotel name, address, telephone number, and reservation number; meeting times and places — with telephone numbers, if possible; hostnames, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail addresses; meal arrangements; and scheduled entertainment.
Make sure someone knows your trip plan. Give a copy of your itinerary to your assistant or an employee, and give another copy to a friend or relative. If something goes wrong, and you don’t arrive back when you say you will, someone will be able to initiate a search with accurate information about you.
Get your documents in order. No matter where you go, take identification that allows you to drive. If you are a frequent overseas traveler, consider getting an international driver’s license; it’s quick and easy to obtain from the U.S. Department of State. If you’re traveling out of the country, double-check the expiration date on your passport. For passport info, turn to the U.S. Postal Service.
Have the right currency on a business trip. If you’re taking a business trip overseas, be sure to stop in at your bank ahead of time and get enough currency from your destination country to pay for small expenses before you get a chance to go to a hotel’s or bank’s exchange window. Also, ask your bank or host whether your ATM card is going to work for getting your destination currency at the hotel where you’ll be staying or at a nearby bank.
Pack only what you need. Leave everything else at home. You have to take your laptop, cell phone, reports, contracts, brochures, clothes, and shaving kit or cosmetic bag. Don’t forget your medication and your lens prescriptions if you wear glasses or contact lenses. Take a credit card with an open balance and cash if you’ll be in a rural area. You may also want to bring traveler’s checks