Don’t get me wrong, being away from the office is always better that being stuck in a cubicle. Someone else does the dishes, makes the bed and even the laundry if the trip is long enough. All you do is pack and go. Right? Sounds like a paid vacation to me? Well…it really isn’t. Sorry to burst your bubble. Work travel isn’t the same as vacation travel.
Firstly, you represent a company and may have to be in uniform…that’s no alcohol at the lounge boasting a very visible logo for wide-eyed passers-by to see. Also, it’s may not always be a train or car ride away. Flying puts the ‘f’ in frazzle for flying from the delays, shoe box rooms, and lost luggage if you carry your entire house everywhere you go (like I do sometimes).
So if business trips can be a bummer, how do we prepare? Here are 3 essential tips (there are many more but these are lifesavers):
- Don’t carry your entire wardrobe for a 2-day conference. Be smart carry the bare essentials and travel size everything. At least have a change of clothes and your main presentation in your carry-on in case of lost luggage. To keep suits looking fresh, opt for a suit carrier which can attach to your luggage (thank me on your next trip). And don’t forget to mix and match and always carry a spare shirt or dress in case you have an unknown business meeting. Keep it smart or business causal depending on the event.
- Plan, plan and then plan again! From the flight itinerary, gates, rental car to the amount of time it takes to get to the hotel and conference the following day. Having a comprehensive plan will help you easily map out where you need to be and how you intend on getting there. Don’t worry about delays etc, cause the best made plan should have room for the odd delay.
- Let’s face it. We may have to interact with a co-worker on the same trip so to keep your cool and not throw them off the 20th floor, set some boundaries from the onset. They are not your friends so you don’t have to do vacation-like activities with them especially when it involves alcohol. Tell them…albeit in a polite way. The last thing you need are crazy stories that could land you a meet and greet with human resources on your return.