So you’ve landed your first job, have been putting in the hours, and are finally being sent on your first business trip. Congrats! For some of us, traveling with your boss and representing your company can be a whole new ball game. I was a newbie at my company just a few short months ago, and when packing for my first trip, I was STRESSED OUT to say the least. So… I’ve put together a list of business travel do’s and don’t’s for you. Hopefully this list makes planning and packing for your first business trip a little easier! If I’ve left out any important tips, feel free to share below. 🙂
Do: Pack light. Long check-in lines, security, car rentals and/or finding a taxi can be stressful, and you don’t want to have to pull your 40-pound bag throughout the middle of chaos. Remember… Your hotel room will probably have a hair dryer and the front desk will have any “extras” that you forgot (or didn’t have room) to bring!
Don’t: Pack in a duffel bag. While we’re talking about luggage, let’s talk about that paisley Vera Bradley and/or athletic sports bag that you’ve been using as a suitcase for the last four years. Sadly enough, it’s time to say goodbye. Investing in a simple, black, rolling suitcase will be your best bet for business and for convenience.
Do: Pack and dress appropriately. Even if you’re leaving at 5 am on a Saturday morning, it’s still a business trip; therefore, you can plan on leaving your jeans and North Face at home. Dress professionally, yet comfortably, for the actual trip. If this means buying a new jacket, so be it. I guarantee that you’ll be wearing it more than once. And check the weather for your destination before you leave! There’s nothing worse than trying to sleep on a hot, three-hour flight in your stiffest jacket…
Don’t: Wait until the last minute. Do your research ahead of time. Know where your hotel is located, how you’re getting there, and allow yourself some extra time (especially if you’re traveling by yourself!)
Do: Be organized. Bring a file with all of your important travel documents. Print boarding passes, hotel information, agendas, and even important emails ahead of time because you never know when that smart phone is going to die on you.
Don’t: Be afraid to take a nap. Whether you had to be at the airport really early or have time to kill between meetings, there’s nothing wrong with dozing off. In fact, my boss fell asleep before me on the plane! The entire trip doesn’t have to be business… And if you need to sneak a nap in the hotel room between meetings… Go for it.
Do: Order a drink. If you’re boss and/or colleagues order a drink when you’re all out to eat, then you should be safe to order one for yourself. But — don’t order more than anyone else, get buzzed, or even close to drunk.
Do: Keep receipts. Who knows what you can be reimbursed for? I didn’t. You’re better off keeping every receipt from the trip to make filling out the expense report much easier when you return.
Don’t: Forget to say thank you! Whether you met with potential clients, worked with new colleagues, or participated in a conference or training, I’m sure there’s at least ONE person that you met on this trip who could use a little “thank you” email. It’s a small and trivial task… Send your emails while waiting for your flight the next day!
Do: Enjoy yourself. Whatever the occasion, be sure to enjoy yourself. It’s a day out of the office and a new experience for you.
Any other tips for first-time business travelers? Send them our way @20sTweet!