Business trips are an exciting and enriching part of working life. Discovering a new country and its culture and representing your company on a global level is both personally and professionally very rewarding. However, these trips can be time-consuming to organise, stressful to manage, and expensive. Minimise problems and keep your plans under control by following these nine steps to an efficient and cost-effective business trip.
Set out clear goals
The first step in planning the perfect business trip is to set out clear goals. This might be increasing your international network, building relationships with colleagues working abroad, or pitching your company to a brand-new global audience. Having a clear objective in mind will help to keep your preparations, time abroad, and reporting on your return tightly focused on key aims.
Practise your presentation
Whether you are doing a full-blown on-stage pitch or simply introducing yourself to an office full of people, practise your presentation. You want to make sure that you come across as professional and an expert in your particular field because you are representing the company as well as yourself.
Cue cards are a great safety net, especially if you are not using a slide show, as they help to bring you back on track if you stumble or blank out.
Connect with colleagues
Before you jet off to your destination, take time to connect with colleagues. This includes those working abroad and the team that you work with every day.
Discuss your ongoing tasks with your team and nominate someone suitable to look after your work while you are away. Make sure that this is communicated to senior management as well. Don’t forget to look ahead in your diary too and ensure that any meetings are covered too.
You should also reach out to the people you will be working with while you are away. Introduce yourself on a video call and set up the foundations of the relationship. This will help to negate nerves and make the situation more comfortable for both parties.
Back-up your documents
You are likely going to be travelling with a company laptop that will have all of the files you need for the trip. However, it is advisable to back-up your documents as well in case of catastrophe. Upload your documents to a central cloud or store them on a memory stick. You could even make paper copies.
Remember to store your laptop and any other valuable work items in your hand luggage. This will protect them against damage and theft during your journeys. You should also ask your HR department about arranging appropriate business travel insurance as an extra precaution.
Plan in advance
A tip that has stood the test of time when it comes to organising travel is to plan in advance. Getting ahead of the game with your arrangements gives you the advantage of more choice and better prices. It also gives you the chance to carefully organise your itinerary, maximising the time you have in your chosen destination. You can be strategic with when you go, too, in terms of your workload – and perhaps even the weather – at the time of travel.
Stick to a budget
When you are making your travel plans and while you are abroad, stick to a budget. You want your work trip to be profitable after all! Having said that, a small amount can make a huge difference when it comes to the quality of hotel and options for entertaining clients, so don’t keep the purse strings too tight – especially if you are anxious to make a good impression.
Set out a modest personal daily spend but make sure it is plenty to cover your food and transport costs. Food and drink prices in particular can vary hugely depending on your destination, so research the average cost of a meal before you arrive.
Research your destination
Researching your destination in general is also essential in ensuring a positive business venture abroad. Each country has its own unique culture with traditions that should be respected, and it is all too easy to accidentally cause offense if you lack knowledge of your destination. The most important things to gen up on are dress codes, polite greetings, and how to conduct yourself in a social situation.
Learning a little of the local language is also advisable: even the simplest attempt to communicate in the native tongue shows respect and will be well-received.
Pre-book your transport
As soon as your itinerary has been ironed out and approved, you should pre-book your transport. Flights in particular can fill up quickly, with the fare jumping higher and higher as seats sell out. Frequent flyers should look into loyalty programmes: this can save you a huge amount in the long run, especially if you prefer to fly business class.
Think about your journeys to and from the airports as well. Private transfers are often more reliable than public transport, especially if you are in an unfamiliar setting. Established airport taxi companies such as Resorthoppa often offer money-saving incentives for advance bookings such as the Hoppa promo code. Only rent a car if you are confident driving in a new city centre setting.
Lastly, try to pack light. You want to be prepared for all eventualities, but at the same time it will be cumbersome to haul heavy luggage around, especially if you are travelling between multiple destinations. Make use of local washing facilities are re-wear your clothes rather than having a different outfit for every occasion.
If you can, limit your luggage to a carry-on bag. This means that you can skip airport queues and make a quick exit once you have touched down.