Make your next business trip the best one yet by taking a few simple steps before you even set foot in the airport.
Schedule an itinerary that ensures you have time on the ground to conduct the maximum amount of business without having to stress to get from one meeting to another. This may require getting on people’s schedules weeks — or months — in advance, but can eliminate the need for a follow-up trip if you can’t fit everything in.
Also vital in this step is setting aside time for possible delays, traffic jams and preparations. Some cities are notorious for crowded freeways, but traffic is a way of life almost everywhere today, so add some buffer room when getting from point A to point B. You can always spend any extra time in a nearby coffee shop going over your presentation if you are early.
Be sure to learn your company’s travel policies before you book, so you don’t end up footing the bill for items it doesn’t cover. This is also a good time to see if you qualify for any loyalty programs or other perks. Even if it doesn’t help with the price of the current trip, it could reduce the bill down the line.
If your company doesn’t have a booking service and there are no benefits to booking direct, save them some money — and yourself time — by bundling. Instead of comparing dozens of sites that rely on the same data for flight and hotel information, pick a comparison site and stick with it. You can always play with days, times, hotel, car and airline packages and other variables to find the best price — all without having to enter credit card details multiple times.
You will be asked to submit an expense report when you return, so plan ahead and track everything as you go. Manually log prepaid expenses such as plane tickets and hotel reservations with taxi and meal receipts, marking the purpose on the back as you go, or use an app to reduce the paper.
Let everyone know where you are, how long you will be gone and how they can reach you. This can include creating out-of-office emails, phone messages and public calendar notes. It is also good to check in with your team while you are gone so you will be caught up when you return.