While some first-time business travelers relish the prospect of their upcoming trip, others are less enthusiastic. Whatever your feelings might be, there is no doubt that your first business trip is a great opportunity to prove yourself. This guide is here to help you to understand how to perform your best and enjoy your traveling experience as much as possible.
Be Aware of Local Customs
During your business trip, you represent your company, so it is important to ensure that you are always acting with decorum. Before traveling to another country for a business trip, it is useful to research the local customs. To ensure you are always being respectful, you will need to understand the particular ways in which the local culture shows respect. For example, business cards have a much greater significance in Japan than they do in Western culture. When you are meeting with a business contact in Japan is it customary to exchange cards (meishi ); this is an honorable practice that should be met with respect. It is also important to remember that the way you dress is an instant representation of you, so remember to dress smart. Learning a few key phrases in the native language is also a great way of showing respect.
Save Time at the Airport
Once you become a seasoned business traveler, any novelty associated with airports completely disappears. The main aim quickly becomes getting in and out with as much expedience as possible. There are many ways to cut down the amount of time you spend at an airport, for example:
- Use parkon.com to reserve your parking space online, so you are not wasting time searching for a spot to park
- Pack light and only bring a carry-on case to beat immigration and baggage queues
- Check-in before you arrive at the airport
- Pre-pack your liquids in a plastic bag so you can go straight through security
Check Your Expenses
A business trip is not an opportunity for you to max out your expenses. It is always worth checking what types of expenses are acceptable to claim and which are frowned upon. It is also worth creating a system for storing receipts, which might be using an application that allows you to photograph and store the details of your expenses. It is also worth remembering to make a note of unclear receipts, such as a taxi ride.
Review Your Documentation
Imagine you are all set for your business trip and have prepped for this opportunity for months. When you arrive at the airport, all set to go, you are told you cannot board the plane because your passport has expired. Check the date on your passport before you leave as well as other documentation such as your travel insurance policy and any extra security details for your flight (e.g. COVID-19 tests).
Traveling to different time zones can be hard on the body, and this is likely to impact your ability to perform during meetings when you arrive at your destination. To avoid the worst of jet-lag you should try and get as much sleep as you can on your long-haul flight. If you struggle to sleep on flights, remember to bring an eye mask, earplugs, or noise-canceling headphones. You might also want to consider purchasing a business class ticket or an extra legroom seat.