Traveling can be stressful even for leisurely trips. When traveling for business, the anxiety gets turned up a notch or two. So many things can get in the way of a smooth trip: unpredictable weather conditions, traffic getting to the airport, issues checking in, missing records of you ever confirming your hotel or car rental reservations. Not only are these issues at the top of your mind, you are also thinking about your business goals for the trip: making a good impression, being prepared for your presentation or meeting, and returning to the office with a success story. Being able to focus on the business aspect of the trip can be a result of well-planned travel arrangements.
- Get Travel Documents in Order
Something that is easy to overlook when traveling is travel documents. We use our driver’s license every day but don’t often check the expiration date. Unless you have another valid photo I.D., you will not get past TSA with an expired license. If you’re traveling abroad, remember to update your passport and check visa requirements for the places you will be traveling to.
- Book Early
Booking trips early isn’t always an option because things come up unexpectedly at times. But for the trips that you know you will be taking, for example, any regional or national conferences or business management seminars, plan them early. Putting travel arrangements together last-minute can leave you with far fewer options to choose from and can be much more expensive.
- Prepare for Change
Even after confirming the dates and times of your meeting or conference with the business host or company, plans may change. Purchasing refundable or transferable tickets can help if a situation like this comes up. It may also be a good idea to rent a car with an unlimited-miles package, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. If you’re traveling during the rain or snow seasons, you might need the car as another option of getting around or even back home if airlines can’t fly out. Be sure to check for cancellation and modification fees. These could be a deciding factor for choosing the right company to use. Another added factor of security could be to use a credit card when making travel arrangements. Credit cards often provide travel insurance and warranties as a perk of using their services.
- Create a Checklist
Who will you be meeting with? Is there a dress code for the seminar or conference? Review your itinerary and pack accordingly. To be safe, bring extras of everything. It may also be a good idea to include some of your essentials in your carry-on, i.e. a pair of dress shoes, your electronics needed for the presentation and even a spare suit. You don’t want to have to deal with the risk of the airline misplacing your luggage that contains everything you need for the meeting. If you have any presentation boards or large materials, it’s smart to ship them ahead of time. If you send them a day or two before you arrive at your destination, you have the opportunity to duplicate or recreate your presentation, should something go wrong with the delivery.
- Expect the Unexpected
On the day of travel, keep organized and remain calm. Check to see if your airline has a mobile app to download. In the app, you may be able to have access to your flight itinerary and status, as well as access to your boarding pass. Often monitor the status of your flight and remember to be at your gate no less than 15 minutes before the scheduled departure. Even if your flight is delayed, it is possible that it could change back to its regular scheduled departure time so get to the airport with plenty of time to spare. The airline will not wait for you.