As a PA and Office Manager in a previous life, a big part of my role was organising and planning business trips, both in the UK and abroad, for my boss. The planner in me actually really enjoyed doing this and working out an itinerary, and to be honest this enjoyment has never left me as I apply lots of my tips to personal and family travel now!
Here are my top ten tips for planning a business trip, whether it’s for someone else, or for yourself as a self-employed person:
Create that Itinerary!
Basic, but will get you off to a good start. Where are your meetings going to take place? Can you arrange accommodation so as little travel at your final destination is done as possible? What events/meetings do you have planned? Are you lunching/having dinner out with clients too? It might make the might boggle at first, but there’s nothing like a bit of planning to get you excited and off to an organised start. The team at Statesman Travel have a wealth of experience when it comes to business travel, and can help you with your business trip itinerary quickly and efficiently.
Work out your communications e.g Mobile and Broadband
This is crucial for most people- how your mobile and internet connection are going to work abroad. Most mobile companies will provide decent roaming and call packages for use abroad, and ditto with the internet, so check out what your provider has to offer. You might also want to look into the best VPN service available to you, as it may help to ensure smoother internet access and protect your data from hackers on unknown networks while abroad. Another thing to look into is cloud communications and storage, where you have your company’s files securely at your fingertips wherever you are in the world.
Keep a constant eye on travel news
Unfortunately such is life that flights and trains seem to be constantly rescheduled- keep an regular eye on travel news and email notifications just in case there are any major changes that occur in the run up to your trip. I always have the National Rail app on my phone, and many flight operators offer similar too.
Purchase refundable tickets
If the worst does happen travel-wise, or your trip has to be cancelled, you’ll be thanking your lucky stars/scoring serious brownie points if you made the smart decision to purchase refundable tickets. You’ll feel smug for being a forward-thinker and save you or your company a whole ton of money!
Love your list!
Another obvious one, but I’m always amazed at the number of people who just don’t make a list of things to take/do before going away- I just couldn’t live without mine! Making a list means I don’t have random thoughts floating around my head at 3am as to whether or not I’ve thought to pack my travel adapter, or whether or not I’ve got the right documents with me. I even have a travel list stored on my laptop that I can print off and tick off for every trip we go on, as well as using planning templates to get everything in order.
Check out online taxi companies that operate from your destination before you leave to go on your trip, and once you’ve shopped around for one that has reliable reviews and offers a fair price, then get them booked in for your airport transfers, as well as finding out how you can book on an ad-hoc basis for your other business travel needs. Whilst you might use the bus or tube in this country, using unfamiliar public transport abroad (especially in hot countries) can be stressful and time consuming.
Do you know the rules and regulations at customs in the country that you’re travelling to? Definitely make a note. You don’t want to be stuck in an airport in Dubai because you purchased a box of chocolate liquors- definitely NOT the end to an otherwise good trip!
Check the weather
Again, seems another obvious one, but apparently not to everyone. I once knew of someone who went on a business trip to hot and humid Hong Kong and packed warm winter business clothes, and therefore spent most of his trip absolutely sweltering. Not fun. Checking the weather allows you to pack appropriate (and comfortable) business attire.
Sort out insurance
Always, ALWAYS get travel insurance- you never know when you might just need it.
Whilst a business trip almost always take place for a purpose, it’s nice if you can factor in some downtime to your trip, even if it’s finding a nice bar or cafe to bring your laptop to and work from. Make a list of potential restaurants where you could entertain too, so you’re not left stumped at short notice if a colleague or client suggests a chat over a drink- you’ll look super-organised and cool to boot!
What are tips for a successful business trip? I’d love to know!