A New Traveller's Guide to Better Business Trips

our essential tips for budding business travellers

Welcome to the Exciting World of Business Travel…

As the common saying goes: “Travel broadens the mind”. It’s true. The experiences you have and the memories you make while visiting somewhere new will change the way you see the world and help you develop new work and personal skills.

Travelling for business can be a daunting prospect. You are expected to ingratiate yourself with people from different cultures and embrace new ways of working. But it is also a highly rewarding experience in which you might meet lifelong connections and find opportunities to advance your career.

In this article, we give our top tips to making the most of a business trip both before you leave and during your visit.

 

Before You Travel

A business trip starts long before you step foot on a plane. Success is built on proper planning, an understanding of your objectives, and a dash of research about your destination. Get your pre-trip preparations right, and you’re already halfway towards an experience you’ll never forget.

Pack Strategically

Always pack with efficiency in mind. Opt for a carry-on whenever possible, containing essential work items like your laptop, chargers, or any presentation materials. Pack clothing that is suitable for a range of different scenarios, for example you may want to dress differently in a work meeting than for a casual business dinner. Don’t forget to bring any location-specific items such as a universal adapter or paperwork which authorises use of certain medications. It is also wise to familiarise yourself with your airline’s baggage allowance policy to dodge any unexpected fees.

Research Your Destination

Take the time to study your itinerary. Where are you going to be, and when? Research your destination, including any cultural norms or business etiquette. How do the local business people greet each other? Are any topics of conversation considered taboo? Understanding these nuances, as well as learning a little bit of the language, can provide a huge boost to making a positive first impression. It is also important to figure out how you’ll get around when you arrive. To get a deeper insight into cities around the world and how to navigate them as a business traveller,check out our City Guide series

Prepare Mentally

While business travel can be exciting, it is often fast-paced and potentially stressful. Before heading off on a trip, prepare yourself mentally for what is to come. Recognise that travel may disrupt your routine, and work-related stressors can intensify. Planning for potential challenges helps mitigate the impact on your mental health. Develop a pre-travel self-care routine that includes activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction e.g. through meditation or an exercise routine. We wrote all about managing your mental health on a business trip if you are looking for more advice.

Loyalty Programmes

You’d be surprised with the amount of money you can save by earning loyalty points and rewards from travel providers. Most airlines offer tiered loyalty programmes which reward frequent fliers with free seat upgrades or airport luxuries. Hotels, too, often tease similar incentives that reward repeat guests. Don’t know where to start? At Gray Dawes, our dedicated team of travel experts will happily navigate you through what’s on offer, regardless of whether you fly every week or you only hop on a plane a few times a year. Learn more about our High Touch service.

City Guides

 

Check out a few of our city guides for business travellers below, or visit the City Guides page for more.

Dubai

Chicago

Sydney

Frankfurt

During Your Trip

 

So you’ve finally arrived at your destination. You’ve packed everything you need, you have your business meetings booked, and you’re looking forward to getting stuck into your trip. What’s next? There’s still plenty to consider even after you’ve turned up. 

Beat Jet Lag

Jet lag is the unwelcome companion of long-distance travel. It can leave you feeling disoriented, sluggish, and battling sleep at the wrong times. But there are a few ways you can fight back. Start shifting your sleep pattern a few days before departure to gradually align it with your destination’s time zone. Go to bed and wake up earlier if travelling east, or later if travelling west. Hydration is also key. Up your water intake throughout your trip and avoid dehydrating beverages like alcohol and excessive caffeine. Finally, try to expose yourself to natural sunlight as soon as you arrive. Sunlight helps regulate your body’s melatonin production, otherwise known as the sleep hormone. Check out more jet lag busting tips here.

Get Networking

Business trips are goldmines for professional connections. They offer a chance to meet industry leaders and potential collaborators and help you to expand your professional network beyond your immediate circle. Connect with potential contacts on LinkedIn or other relevant platforms and actively engage in conversations. It is vitally important that you know the local business etiquette inside and out – don’t commit a social faux pas by overstepping a cultural boundary. For example, it is polite in Hong Kong to politely decline additional food or drinks from your host before accepting. It’s these seemingly small gestures that will help you stand out from the crowd.

Go Explore

Business trips can often feel like a blur of meetings and presentations but try to carve out some time to explore. Visiting a new place can be an eye-opening experience – a clash of cultures, a whirlwind of new sights and sounds, new food and drink to taste; travel can change your life. Visit famous landmarks and seek out hidden gems recommended by locals. Ditch the hotel breakfast one morning and explore local eateries to savour regional specialities instead. Experiencing everything you possibly can will give you a deeper understanding of the world around you. Remember to be careful though; don’t go out alone and avoid situations or locations that are unfamiliar. 

Stay Connected

Travel is infinitely rewarding, but it can sometimes be lonely. As such, it is important to stay connected with your home office and your loved ones. Make sure to check in regularly with friends and family – maybe arrange a video call to show off the sights! They can help you blow off steam or support you if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the experience. Staying in touch with your colleagues at home is also essential. Provide regular updates on how meetings are progressing or let them know if there are any new tasks to action.  Cross-border business works best when communication lines remain clear. Establish channels of communication early and make sure that everyone is using the same apps or technology to stay in the loop.

In Conclusion

Travelling for business can be a daunting prospect for someone who has yet to experience it. However, a well-planned trip can be transformative in all of the right ways IF you know how to squeeze the most out of it. By following our top tips outlined in this article you will learn:

  • How to pack your bags more efficiently
  • What it takes to prepare mentally for a trip
  • How to reap the rewards of loyalty programmes
  • The best ways to beat jet lag once and for all.

Remember, business travel is an opportunity to not only represent your company but also to expand your professional horizons. With the right approach, you can almost guarantee that your trip will be a resounding success.

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