The first time you go away on business you feel as
excited as a child at Christmas. You can escape from the office, sleep in
a great hotel, eat in the best restaurants, and your company pays for
But after a while the excitement disappears. You work more hours, not
less. You get home exhausted and have to catch up on a thousand
emails and a mountain of dirty washing.
However, business travel is part of the job for many corporate employees.
Here are a few points which may make life on the road, and in the air, a
1. Make sure you know exactly what you
are allowed to put on your company’s expenses. Some companies
won’t allow you to take a taxi to the airport. Others won’t pay for your
lunch because you normally buy it yourself when you’re in the office. Be
especially careful of using hotel phones, which can be ridiculously
2. Keep a bag packed and ready in your wardrobe. You never know
when you’re going to need to travel at short notice. Pack a suit and
comfortable business shoes, toiletries, medicine, business cards, and
modem and accessories for your laptop.
3. Print hard copies of important papers and contracts.
Technology is wonderful, but it can let you down badly on a
business trip. Make sure you travel with paper and virtual copies of
4. Ask colleagues
at your office to help you by looking after things while you’re
away. Set up your e-mail and voicemail systems with an out of the
office message complete with emergency contact information.
5. Pack important items in your carry-on bag. Your suitcase
probably won’t get lost, but it’s a good idea to have a change of
underwear, a clean shirt and your toilet bag with you at all times.
6. Plan your trip carefully and go over your schedule to
make sure you know where you’re supposed to be at all times and how
you’re going to get there. Leave enough time in between each appointment
so that you can get from one place to the next without getting stressed.
7. It’s better to wear clothes which are too formal than too
casual. When you’re attending meetings in a different country, it’s
better to wear a suit when everyone else is wearing jeans, than vice
versa. Pack your clothes carefully and use the iron in your hotel room
if you need to.
8. Keep in touch
with your office while you’re away. Send your boss an email or make a
quick phone call, even if there’s not much to report.
9. Log on at the hotel and try to check your emails at least once
a day. This way you stay informed, your boss is happy and you won’t have
thousands of emails waiting for you when you get back.
10. Take advantage of the hotel’s fitness centre. Exercise is a
great way to relieve stress and take off those extra kilos you’ve
put on from the hotel breakfast buffet. Don’t forget to pack your
11. When you arrive in a new time zone, set your watch and mobile
phone immediately to the new time. Also, don’t rely on either your alarm
clock or the hotel’s wake up call. Use both to make sure you wake up on
12. Try to fly during business hours and avoid the ‘red-eye’
night flight. Use the time in the plane to relax and rest. It’s better
to arrive fresh and awake than tired and stressed.
Do you know anyone who lives in the city? Use evenings to catch up
with friends and relatives. This gives you a chance to get away from
your business associates and hang out with people who won’t be
talking about work.
14. Stay a couple of extra days and see the city. If your company
is paying for you to fly to a place you’ve never visited, why not stay
the weekend and do some sightseeing?
15. Make sure you have a frequent flyer account. Frequent flyer
miles are the best way to make your business travel pay off. And
if your business credit card is linked to a frequent flyer program also,
you could be flying to Paris or Hawaii for a free holiday sooner than