The perfect tips for your first business trip!
Wow! First business trip! You must be over the moon in excitement, right? Not to mention, maybe also a bit stressed, at the same time? This is after all a first big responsibility, and you want to make sure you make it all smooth, deliver well, and make an impression!
So are you all set? Well prepared?
Objectives: Understand the expectations of your manager and the company from the trip, what are the specific objectives and desired results, so you can ensure you get maximum value for this trip and all upcoming ones.
Itinerary and travel information: Business trips usually pack in a tight schedule, so be aware of the various meetings, activities, dinners, so you’re well-prepared and not caught by surprise. Going low-tech and keeping a printout of your full itinerary may also be a good idea, in case your smart gadgets decide to conk out any time. Also make sure you have the basic necessities like visas, enough local currency.
Stay connected: Business trips can get hectic and you may not have time to respond to emails. So before you leave, set an out-of-office message on your email, letting people know the date by which they can expect a reply.
Traveller miles: If you know you might be travelling often, using a particular airline or hotel, you might want to enroll as a member, to start earning points when you travel, which may be helpful for upgrades or free flights later! For example, on Singapore Airlines, you can book a return flight from Singapore – Bali for only 15000 miles.
Travel light: Avoid check-in luggage, in to avoid mishaps of it getting lost,and to make it easy for co-workers who are fellow travelers. However, no matter what your industry is, keep some formal clothes, as being well-dressed always makes a good impression, at least on a first trip.
Connect: Good relationships with colleagues and having their help are key to delivering high quality results in an organization, and what better way to build those than by in-person communication on a business trip, rather than email or phone?
Debrief: Once you’re back, it’s always professional to let everyone know the results of the trip. What was expected and what was achieved. If the relevant people are not free for a direct meeting, just send a short note and presentation summing up the basics.
Manage expenses: File all your expenses with the corresponding invoices while it’s still fresh in your mind. Trust us, after even a week, it’s sometimes hard to remember why you spent what you did, and who was with you.
Respond: Once you’re back, it’s time to attack that pile of emails which have flooded your inbox. Try to respond and clear your inbox as soon as possible, because otherwise they might get lost way down in the list.
There! Those are, in a snapshot, some quick checks on managing your 1st business trip. But most importantly, just put your best foot forward, learn, and enjoy!