Business travel can be quite a chore – combining two things many people don’t always look forward to: working and being in confined spaces away from home and your family. Here are a few tips to make the process a bit easier.
As much as you can, take as much time as you can to prepare for where you will be going on your business trip. This is beyond the obvious basics like learning the local language and customs, and doesn’t require becoming an expert in the local culture and activities. What it means is find out everything you can about the status of your industry in this new region – and not just your specific industry, but any field that your company does business in. This is more than just checking up on your competition (and you will get a lot of valuable intelligence about your local competition), this is giving you some insight into how your business dealings are likely to be perceived by those you are dealing with, both directly and indirectly. Oh, and while you’re at it, yes, make sure to learn a few things about the language and the culture of where you’ll be going.
You’ve heard probably a lot of the perks from some of your friends and colleagues about how great their Elite Status is, whether it’s with an airline or a hotel chain. Sure, it seems like a given that they travel so much they’ve racked up so many rewards, but that’s not the only secret to their success. Instead of always booking the cheapest flights or hotel rooms, savvy travelers will stick to an airline and a hotel chain that can accommodate almost all of their varying traveling needs and rack up points with them, even if individual flights or bookings might cost a few more dollars in the short run, the benefits down the line more than make up for it. Especially if your flight is delayed and all the other passengers are struggling for a place to lie down or charge their phones and you’re in the lounge eating local delicacies and drinking complimentary wine.
Take advantage of the fact that you are getting a chance to travel somewhere you might not otherwise take a trip to. Don’t just take in the sights and culture, but remember this is a chance to eat authentic local cuisine! And you can be bold, something that you might shy away from at home as being too great a risk you won’t like the dish should be the first thing you order. After all, this meal is being expensed to your business anyway. Don’t take advantage, but don’t be afraid to use your whole per diem, either. Over your meal, or over some local adult beverages, share with the other guests. Likely many of them are also fellow business travelers and they might have a lot of valuable insight for you or, you for them. And not just about local sights, but also cultural differences and sharable experiences and advice.