15 Travel Tips for First Time Business Travelers

Business trips are intense (because you have no home to go to) and come with high expectations on what will get done (to justify the cost). Approach it thoughtfully to make it less-stressful and more impactful.
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What are some Business Trip 101 tips, especially for first time business travelers?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.


Answer by Ellen Vrana, Former consultant, writer

Business trips are intense (because you have no home to go to) and come with high expectations on what will get done (to justify the cost).

Approach it thoughtfully to make it less-stressful and more impactful.

Make packing a breeze

1. A week before the trip (when your mind is relaxed) make a packing list; glasses, socks, lip balm, tampons -- whatever you think you might forget. Be comprehensive so you don't have to think later.

2. Travel items should never leave the suitcase. I keep a pair of flats, a nightgown, chargers, compression socks, and a dopp kit prepacked with toiletries, make-up, vitamins, pills in my suitcase, always. I restock/launder when I return.

3. Pack practical, versatile, efficient fashion. Dark separates that can mix and match, wrinkle-free if you can. 1 pair of comfy shoes for airport and 1 pair of work shoes. For 5 days I'd bring 2 pairs of pants, 1 jacket, 1 sweater, 3 blouses and varied my jewelry and scarfs.

Travel in comfort

4. NEVER check luggage. Roller bag and laptop bag under the seat. Make sure [electronics] are charged before the flight.

5. Automate all frequent flier numbers online and sign up for hotel points. Get airline status where you can and TSA Pre-check status or Global Entry if applicable.

6. Eat healthy before, during and after plane. I cannot stress this enough. Salad, juice, fruit, veggies, and tons of water.

7. Do not sit next to your co-workers on the plane, especially if they are your boss. Super tacky to have business conversations in public, especially if you are in client services. Use the plane ride to gather your thoughts, focus on trip goals, catch up on email or read.

Making the most of your week

8. Focus on what you are there for, this is not a vacation. Don't sight-see, try all the restaurants, souvenirs etc. unless it directly impacts your work.

9. If you regularly exercise, keep it up. A normalized routine helps. Set times to call home, Skype with kids etc. Try to stick to your regular diet, it's not a vacation for you or your health.

10. Know your company's per diem and what is covered. Movies? Room service? Minibar snacks? Taxis? Dry cleaning? If it's covered and it would help you be more efficient, use it, that's what it's for. Use a corporate card to avoid expense forms.

11. Don't be afraid to break up the team. Business teams have this weird psychology, after hours they think they are on vacation and should hang out (and drink) all the time. Team bonding is great, but don't do it just because colleagues are unused to being alone.

12. Make the most of the face to face and integrate yourselves to your hosts' culture. Whether it's a client, partner, or even a different office of your firm; you are a guest. If they are casual, be casual, don't talk about going home at 5 if they stay until 10, ask questions, get to know people. Develop relationships.

Post- Trip Recap

13. Do a post-mortem immediately, while it's fresh, what happened, what were successes, and what are next steps (and who is responsible). Don't spend much time on this, the main point is to make sure everyone is on the same page.

14. Respond to emails ("I'm sorry I didn't get back to you, I was traveling..."), VM, etc. Tidy up your postponed issues.

15. Unpack suitcase, do laundry and return suitcase with prepacked items to closet for next time.

(Whew, I do not miss this at all!)

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