Learn some business travel tips for global business success
Traveling for business can be exhausting. At the same time, it is also very inspiring and can bring great opportunities for your business and career.
In fact, business travel can be very rewarding. Conferences, networking events and business meetings overseas are all part of the adventure of being an international entrepreneur and business person.
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Personally, I travel frequently and I know it can be bittersweet. I enjoy the adventure of travel and take every opportunity to travel to a new place. Right now I am in Portugal. Apart from stressful situations–like slow ticket counter service when you have to catch your train from Lisbon to Porto–it is great seeing the sun, having good food, meeting new and interesting people, and exploring the city.
Being in a different country or city makes you see things from a different perspective. Suddenly, the deadlines and problems don’t seem so bad, after all. Getting to know interesting people and learning new things inspires me and gives me new ideas for my business.
However, the trip and the preparations are often overwhelming: the new climate, the crazy traffic, a language I don’t know well, and the different work environment, not to mention the stress of planning the trip and the time pressure.
So, how can you make the most of your business trip without getting too stressed? Planning your trip well is really important, and so is prioritizing your health and following up after the trip. Here are some useful business travel tips to keep in mind if you want to make your next business trip a success:
Plan well beforehand
- Pick an accommodation based on your needs. There are more and more hotels specifically for business traveler needs, e.g. CitizenM is a new chain of hotels with services for business travel. Or maybe you prefer to stay in an apartment with a local. Personally, location is important to me. I like to walk, so I usually look for an accommodation within walking distance from the office or any appointments.
- Look for rewards programs. There are many loyalty programs that offer discounts for business travelers. You can earn points during your travels with frequent flyer programs, e.g. Miles and More, and other travel rewards. For example, the Accor Business Loyalty Program has a wide range of hotels worldwide with discounts for business travelers. If possible, choose 1-2 programs only to keep an overview and get the most rewards.
- Pack several bags. Instead of one big bag, it can be very practical to carry a bigger one and a smaller one which can be put inside the bigger one. It is also useful to pack an extra outfit in your carry-on luggage for emergencies. With business travel, you really never know what can happen.
- Bring a scarf. Especially for the ladies, a scarf is a must. It is stylish and versatile. It can always get too cold on a train or plane and you can use it as a pillow, blanket, or wear it around your neck.
- Track your business travel expenses. You will have to monitor everything you pay for during your trip – whether for your own accounting or your company’s. Apps such as TripCase make it easy for you to track the expenses during your trip. You already have enough to worry about, so
- Make the most of technology. Download some useful travel apps that make your trip better.
- Stick to a routine as much as you can. Unfortunately, a jet lag can (and probably will) disturb your routine. But your daily routine and your habits give you focus. Try to schedule meetings around your normal routine and go to the gym if you can, so that you can be as productive as possible during your trip.
- It should be your priority to drink water and sleep well. Business travelers are more at risk of getting sick, so you should drink a lot of water and no or little alcohol. It is really important to stay hydrated because you will probably sleep better and get rid of your jet lag better.
- Wash your hands as often as possible. There are germs everywhere and you will be in a lot of different places: public transport, airports, airplanes, public spaces, offices, etc. I usually bring hand sanitizer and a travel-size soap bar with me, so I can wash my hands whenever.
- Avoid eating carbs. One of my favorite parts of traveling is trying new food. However, food in other countries is often heavy and has many carbs, such as rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, and doughs. To stay in good shape on your trip, try to avoid eating too many carbs and heavy foods. Pack some healthy snacks, such as raisins, nuts or fruit, so you will not get hungry.
- Be good to yourself. It is so important to have a little bit of ‘wellness’ in your travel schedule. In between a busy conference schedule and being surrounded by hundreds of interesting people and dozens of inspiring talks, try to find time for yourself. Bring a travel-sized face mask to relax, some essential oils to calm you, or simply a good book or audiobook.
- After you return, keep in touch with the people you met. Send new contacts a quick note to thank them and pave the way for successful collaboration in the future. Who knows what opportunities can arise from those new contacts!
- After the trip means before the trip. Travel is most likely a part of your job, so it makes sense to reflect on the past trip to prepare for the next. What went well and what can be done better next time? What did you learn? Which places did you like and where would you go next time? Write down the most important ideas and experiences in your (digital) notebook. I keep all my important notes digitally in Evernote, which is always with me. Take time to find out what works for you. Over time, you will become a business travel pro!
Safe travels to your next destination!
Now, I would like to hear from you
What are your favorite business travel tips? Tell us by commenting below!
Further reading: Essential Global Business Customs