3 Ways to Have a Successful Business Trip


Most of us will undertake a business trip at some point in our careers. Some will travel more, others less. Whatever the frequency, travelling for work does not need to be a dreaded experience. A little preparation and some flexibility can make your next business trip as productive as possible.

#1 – Prepare yourself before you leave

Road Trip! Or plane trip. Planning your business trip begins way before you ever set foot inside the airport. One way to do this is setting the away messages on your email and voicemail. Communicating to others is key even when you are not around. This will help manage expectations so that co-workers or citizens/customers will not sit around waiting for an answer that may not be coming until next week.

A second option is to delegate any upcoming tasks to a subordinate or coworker. Nothing slows down momentum like requiring a signature from the person who just left for a week long conference. This also applies to questions coming into the office that require a timely response. Briefing others on your work will allow them to be better prepared for any request for assistance or comments to residents, reporters, etc.

Another way to prepare your office is to make sure that others know that you are leaving and where you are going. Why is this important, you ask? For the same reason why state and federal park staff recommend you inform family or friends of your plans before you start on a hike. In case of emergency, someone should know where to find you or how to contact you. Not that we plan on finding ourselves in emergency situations, but it is nice to know that there are plans in place just in case something should happen.

#2 – Keep yourself free from stressful situations

Most airlines will limit the weight of your checked baggage to 50 pounds before adding extra fees. Those pounds will add up quickly, especially on longer trips. Look for items like travel compression bags that help to squeeze down clothing. These bags will help make packing more efficient.

Did you pack the agenda? There have been times where I traveled for a conference and could not remember the location of the hotel or what time the first session started. Sure, I could look it up through my email, but that takes time, assuming you find the email at all. Having the printed agenda with you when you arrive will make your travel experience smoother and less stressful.

If you are anything like me, I tend to remember things better when they are written down. Some people have the gift of photographic memory. I, unfortunately, do not. Writing plenty of notes helps me to remember what a particular speaker said, or to remember to contact someone after returning to the office.

#3 – Have an exit strategy

Airport wait times are only getting longer. This is especially true during the summer time. Installing the airline’s app onto your phone helps with receiving up-to-date flight information. Time management is crucial during business trips. Sure, you plan to arrive an hour early to get through airport security. What about dropping off the rental car? Restroom breaks? Seemingly little things can eat up huge chunks of time.

Budget time in your schedule to rest after travelling. Scheduling return trips on a Friday will give you the weekend to rest and catch up mentally before heading back into the normal work routine. Plus, research shows that people are better able to retain short and long-term memories after a good night’s rest.

Roman Alvarez is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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