10 Must Do’s Before Going On A Business Trip
Entrepreneurs and business professionals travel many times throughout the year. It is extremely crucial to get everything in order before traveling. A business trip can be overwhelming and extremely stressful if things don’t go your way. I use to travel back and forth between the USA and Asia every month and I would get frustrated if I missed something or if something did not go the way that I intended it to. After traveling for a long time, I’ve put together a Must Do list that everyone should check before going on a business trip.
1. Have A CheckList
A lot of people out there are probably saying, “I know I need this already.” The fact is that we all know that we need it, but the truth is that we’re lazy to write one up. This will save you so much time and make your business trip a lot more stress-free. The key is to create a list a few days before your business trip. If possible, start creating it once you have booked your ticket. This allows you to have time to add things to the list.
More often than not, I find myself thinking to myself, “Hmm..I’ll make sure that I will bring this camera with me on my trip.” Next thing I know, I’m on the plane and don’t have my camera. One thing I do now before my trip is to create a new note in the Evernote app. I like to name this note “Checklist”. Everyday I review the note to ensure I have everything I need in place. Each time I think of something new that I need to bring along, I add it immediately to the note.
Make sure that you are not telling yourself, “I’ll add it to my note later.” As soon as you think of something, just load up the app and add it onto the list. We use our phones daily anyway, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle to type an extra line in. Evernote saves everything to the cloud for you, so you don’t have to worry about losing your information.
Not my checklist, but here’s an example that I found online:
2. Get A Transit/Map App
Taking the taxi is convenient, but it is also very pricey. If your company is covering your entire business trip, then it would make sense to take the taxi everywhere. For the others that want to explore the city or save some money on their own expense, taking public transit might be the way to go. The problem is that you can get lost easily when your exploring and we want to at least have some sort of guidance to guide us back to our hotel. This is where a public transit/map app comes in handy.
If you are traveling to a place like New York City, then having a public transit app is a must have. A lot of entrepreneurs talk about the terrible traffic in New York, and most of them recommend that you actually take the subway. Citymapper is probably the best public transit map I’ve used in NYC. You should look for a public transit app that relates to the city that you will be visiting. You should also have a backup app incase the first app fails. My backup app is simply Google Maps. Google Maps work almost anywhere around the world now, so it is a very powerful solution.
3. Always Pack A Variety Of Clothing
Before my frequent travels to Asia, I would travel around USA with just a few sweat pants, t-shirts, jeans, and maybe 1-2 jackets. I use to be able to fit everything in my carry on bag, which is pretty awesome. Then when I started traveling to Asia, I realized that I needed different clothes for different event. There was no way I would be walking into the gym with a pair of jeans and leather shoes.
One of my close friends that traveled with me to Asia often is a big guy. He’s 6 feet tall and bulky. On one of our business trips, the weather in China dropped dead cold and we had to purchase some clothing to keep us warm. Apparently, China was not a big fan of big clothing so we had the hardest time searching for clothing his size. He wished that he knew about this earlier and could have fixed it by bringing along some more clothes.
The key point is that you should prepare for the unexpected. Have one style of clothing for every type of event you will be going to, even if your unsure whether or not you will be at the event. For example, have a set of gym clothes, then have a suit, have a business casual set and certainly you will need more than one pair of shoe.
4. Join A Frequent Flyer Program
Seriously, this is a must do. For the first year of my travels, I billed all the expenses to my Wells Fargo credit card. I realize that even after a year of travel, I didn’t earn enough points for a free trip. If your business trip will be reimburse by your company, sign up for a frequent flyer program. Another option to sign up for one of those travel cards such as Chase’s Sapphire.
The trick to signing up for these cards is to target the opening bonus. For example some of them will offer you 40,000 points if you use 3,000$ within the first three months. A business trip to China could easily cost more than $3000 and now you have enough points to buy yourself a free trip!
If you do enough research and learn enough about how these cards work you could also “double dip” Take advantage of their bonus and at the same time take advantage of the airline’s frequent flyer program. Chase’s Sapphire and AMEX works really well with airline companies to give you the best rewards. Some of the programs offer 2x points during your travels. Save money while you can! Join a program now, it’s quick and easy.
5. ATM/Credit Cards
If you are traveling outside of your home country, it is important that you contact your credit card provider and ask them if you could use your ATM/Credit card at a foreign country. Ensure that you ask them the fees that will be associated with using your card at a foreign country. Call each one of your credit card providers and ask about it. Why call each one? Because some work better for certain countries. For example, you could use Bank of America in China’s ATM without having to deal with fees, but my wells fargo card would have charged me an international fee.
In addition to that, the bank might be able to offer you currency exchange or certain bonuses so that you can save on your travel. It doesn’t hurt to ask, but it will hurt you if you aren’t aware of the fees and overuse your card.
6. Prepare Yourself For JetLag
If you are a frequent traveler, you might be use to the feeling of Jetlag. It might not even effect you, but if this is your first time or you haven’t traveled in a long time, then it is best to prepare for your jetlag. The best way to prepare for it is simply adjusting to the location’s time a few days or even a week before you go. Drink lots of water.
Jetlag was painful for me when I was traveling to China. I really did not like falling asleep at 8pm (China time) when I got there. I learned overtime to adjust my schedule before I go. I take it slowly, and usually start 3-4 days or even a week in advance. The way I approach it is that I stay up later everyday and wake up later as well. Then for the final day I tire myself out with an allnighter and try to sleep as much as I can while I’m on the plane. This might not work for most people that can’t sleep well on plane, so you should find your own schedule and adjust to it accordingly.
7. Include A Copy Of Your ID/Passport/Documents
You should always have an extra copy of your ID/Passport/Documents that you will need. A lot of frequent travelers go as far as leaving their original passport/id in their hotel’s safe and then usually carry around a copy of their documents incase there is a checkup. For example in Hong Kong it is extremely common for police officers to randomly check up on people’s ID. If you are unfamiliar with the area, you could run into trouble and have to end up in the police station for them to verify your identity. To avoid that, just carry around a copy of your ID/Passport and any other travel documents that you will need.
8. Book A Good Hotel
Do your research on where your meeting office will be located. Then do a quick research on the areas that you want to visit and try to locate a hotel within that radius. It doesn’t hurt to use AirBnB if your trips are self funded. You could also look into extended stay if you will be staying for more than a week. I’ve personally saved over thousands of dollars using AirBnb and would recommend it to anyone.
If you’re traveling to a major city like New York, hotel cost could be a killer. A decent hotel can cost up to $200 per night with fees, whereas a good Airbnb could cost you less than $100. Again, choose a good location for your needs and do your research before you go. Google maps is a good tool to use when doing research.
9. Check In Online If You Can
Try to check in for your flight online if you can. It sucks having to do it at the airport unless you arrive early. Add it to your checklist and get it done before you leave the house or even days in advance. For example, if you are going on a cruise for your business trip, which most likely won’t happen but, you can check in days or weeks in advance. Print out your boarding ticket at home before you leave your house to avoid the hassle. If you forget to check in online, then try to locate one of those check in kiosk at the airport.
10. Ensure You Have All Your Gadgets
Not only do you need to ensure that you have all your gadgets for a business trip, but make sure that you have the tools needed to function it. For example, I like to carry around a small bag with all my wires and chargers. My bag has a variety of chargers and different types of outlets for international travel. Some countries use a different type of wall outlet and I have to make sure that I have a convertor for it. I don’t want to end up having to search for a convenient store in a foreign country to find an outlet convertor.
Bringing extra chargers help too incase one malfunctions. If you think you might need extra juice, carry around an extra battery. A lot of iphone & android phone cases come with battery packs that will help your phone run for a little bit longer.
If you are traveling internationally, the first thing you should do when you land is have your currency exchanged and purchasing a local sim card for your phone needs. Try to look up translations of your location’s address and write it down incase you ever need it.
Lastly, if something unpleasant occurs, don’t panic and try to deal with it naturally.