The business travel industry is a lucrative, global part of the corporate world. It was valued at nearly $660 billion in 2020 and, after a short, COVID-induced hiatus, is back on track to that amount for 2022.
Businesses that cater to this corporate clientele understand that there are nuances to the term “business traveler.” Some work-related trips are quick and simple overnight meetings. Others involve extended stays that deal with large groups of people, per diem, and various details.
Whichever category you fall into as a business traveler, your journey from heading out to return is probably going to have a few bumps. With these tips, though, you can make your trip as smooth as possible.
1. First-Time Travelers
It’s your first time leaving your home behind in exchange for a job-related duty. You’re likely a mix of excitement, nerves, and concerns, and that’s perfectly normal.
Getting out of the normal daily grind is exciting. You get to see what the rest of the world looks like outside of your little circle. However, if you’re not a regular traveler, this can be intimidating, too.
Before you run in circles trying to cross every T and dot every I, take a step back and breathe. As long as you have the essentials done, you, and anyone you leave behind, will be just fine.
With that thought in mind, here’s a run-through of what you need to have for your trip. Anything else is an extra, so don’t stress about it.
First-Time Traveler Checklist
Yes, it’s helpful to have the right outfit, accessories, and toiletries. However, if you forget anything, it’s all available at the hotel or a nearby shop.
The only things you must have include:
- Your ID/passport
- Cash/credit card (some places don’t take one or the other, so have both, just in case)
- Your itinerary and directions to where you need to go
- Your phone and charger
- Any meeting-specific documents (contracts, etc.)
Aside from these items, everything else is replaceable. Keep this in mind, and you’ll be able to compartmentalize your to-do list easier.
2. Short-Term Travelers
You’ve been on a business trip before, which helps you know what to expect. However, now that you’ve been around the block, you realize that these short-term trips are often more work than staying home would have been.
You need a break after your travels, but you have to get right back to work. It can be exhausting, but with a few small tweaks in your plans, this stress can be reduced.
The next time you’re going on a short-term trip, maximize your stay and minimize your fatigue with these suggestions:
- Look for transportation that gives you wiggle room between layovers, arrival, and meetings. An extra few hours is usually enough time to keep you from stressing about late flights or rushing when you get to your destination.
- Do some research into the area where you’re staying. Is there anything fun nearby you can do to unwind after your meetings?
- Consider using discount car apps like Turo to have a vehicle at your fingertips instead of waiting for transportation. If you plan on going a few places, the cost could be comparable to a rideshare or taxi.
By cutting out the stress inherent in most short-term trips, you can get the same job done and get back home feeling productive instead of frazzled.
3. Extended Stay Travelers
Those heading out for extended stays have the opposite problem as short-term travelers. How do you know what to bring? How can you stay productive without your normal possessions?
When you know you’re going to be somewhere for longer than a week or two, it’s worth the extra cost to bring an extra suitcase. It may not be covered by your company or in your per diem, but the peace of mind you get having your must-have belongings is worth the price.
Bring your usual essentials, like your laptop and charger, and a few professional outfits. Then, add whatever clothes you need for leisure time, your favorite toiletries, and other feel-good items.
You might also want to invest in a portable wireless printer if you do a lot of printing in your job. This way, your location will never keep you from being productive.
As a business traveler, you have an integral role in the supply chain. Whether you’re a first-timer or you know the ropes, using these tips will streamline your next trip and let you focus on doing the work you do best to keep that supply chain going.