Flying by the seat of your pants is no way to approach business travel. If you want to avoid racking up extra flight fees, spotty Wi-Fi, showing up late and looking like an amateur, it’s time to get proactive. Here’s how to prepare like a pro:
Do a Double Take
Right after you book your flight, double-check that you selected the right dates and times. Flights can be canceled within 24 hours without any fees, so as soon as you get your confirmation, give it a look along with your schedule before things get complicated.
While it might seem like overkill, review your name and make sure your tickets reflect your federal identification. If your ticket reads Nikki instead of Nicole, you misspelled something or put down an old last name; you could face some serious hurdles. Many airlines carry hefty fees for name revisions, or may even require you to purchase a new ticket! Avoid this potential annoyance by simply looking everything over right away.
Play by the Rules
Grab your corporate handbook and run through the company’s travel policies before you leave. Most businesses will lay out the rules, protocols and safety guidelines that you will be expected to follow, as well as how expenses work. Before you charge that big meal to the company credit card, make sure you won’t be in hot water upon return!
Be Rolodex Ready
Are you still using the same business cards from two promotions ago? Now might be a good time to order some updated cards that will show you’re prepared and professional. Even if you live and breathe online, a physical business card is still as crucial as ever.
Get Your Tech in Check
In this day and age, there is no escaping the inbox. Find out about your company’s cybersecurity policies so you can come equipped with a personal Wi-Fi hotspot or have other safeguards in place to fend off potential threats. Remember to bring all the proper chargers and cords needed to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Finally, before you jet off, backup your computer so that just in case it gets lost or stolen, you’re not scrambling to write a presentation at 3 A.M.
Flex Your Mental Muscles
You’ve booked all your travel plans, dry cleaned your suit, bought a fancy new laptop bag and started using a planner, but there are a few more ways to prepare. Before your business trip, mental preparation is key to making your meetings a success.
- Make a list of questions to ask during your meetings and have go-to answers ready for questions you might expect to hear.
- Create clear objectives and make sure you know how to position your goals as a win-win scenario for everyone.
- Start keeping an eye on your body language and try making small adjustments to appear friendlier and more confident, even if you’re sweating.
- If you Google the attendees before your trip, make sure to keep it a secret! Discussing someone’s Instagram photo can be a little awkward when you just met them. While you’re at it, make sure your name doesn’t reveal any of those old pictures from college.
- Read up on world news, current events, or read their blog so you have some conversation-ready topics locked and loaded. You can only talk about the weather and traffic for so long.
Skip the Stress of Business Travel
Freak storms, flight cancellations and delays happen to nearly everyone. No matter how prepared you are, there’s always a chance that things might change at a moment’s notice. So in the immortal words of author Douglas Adams, don’t panic.
At AmTrav, we take care of all the details should any of your plans start to derail. Regardless of how often or how far you travel for business, our services can actually save you money while saving the day with instant flight updates and 24/7 assistance. Learn more about what we do, so you can focus on getting your goals met.
Written by: Liz Cantrell