Preparing for your business trip abroad

Preparing for your business trip abroad

If you are lucky enough to work for a company that will send you abroad for important meetings, you will know just how exciting and rather stressful it can be. On one hand, you know that you are there on business and should not be thinking of it as a mini holiday, but on the other, you are planning on how much exploring and sight-seeing you will be able to cram in during your free time, if you have any. But in order to make the packing and travelling as stress free as possible, you need to stay organised and plan beforehand. Follow our easy tips to make sure you get the most out of your business trip, and stay as stress free as you can!

PassportWhen you find out that you are being sent away, make sure you get an itinerary of exactly what you need to be doing when you there. From this, you can then determine how much time you will get to yourself and whether you will need to do any work preparation in that time, for example, if you have a presentation to do and need to make last minute changes / time to practice. Determine how long you are being sent away for as well – is it just a weekend trip, or is a week-long conference or something even longer? Keep all of the documents that you have received form work in an organised folder, so you can easily retrieve details should you be asked for them. Know where you are going and what flight you are on; what hotel you are staying in; whether you need to rent a car when you arrive; and make a note of any useful telephone numbers that could be of use whilst you are out there. Make a note and remember the name of anyone that you need to report to upon arrival, and where all of the business meetings that are taking place. Only once you have done all of this can you then plan what you would like to do in your free time and whether you will have an opportunity to go exploring. If you are travelling with another colleague, decide if there is anything you both want to do, or whether you are wishing to spend time alone when you are not working. Although all of this planning might seem like a bit of an inconvenience at the time, it will be worth it when you arrive.

When it comes to packing for your trip, think carefully about how long you will be going away for. If it is only a short trip away, can you get away with just taking one item of carryon luggage, or will you require more than this? If you do need to check anything in, make sure you factor in extra time to do this. Missing your flight, and subsequently your meeting because you left late, will not go down very well with your boss. Make sure you have checked any specific airline regulations and restrictions to ensure that you do not bring anything that you will not be able to take on board. Know in advance how many bags you will need to bring with you; for example, will you need a suitcase and a separate briefcase. Knowing this can help keep you organised when packing. Make sure that you have enough travel sized toiletries, and know what the weather is like at that time of year, so you know how to dress.

business manOver packing is a common mistake with any trip away, so it important that you only take the essentials. This is especially important if you are going away for a short amount of time and you are just taking one lot of carry-on luggage. You do not want to be carrying around anything unnecessary, as it will very quickly become an inconvenience. As a basic guide, in your main luggage section (or your suitcase if you are taking a separate one), you will need to bring one pair of smart trousers, or a smart skirt. It is best to pick a classic colour, as they are more versatile, and stick with this one item. Obviously, this is working on the assumption that this is a short trip. For longer trips you may need to increase this number; a smart blazer or jacket. This should preferably match your bottom half, or be a colour that will work with all of the shirts and blouses that you will be bringing; enough tops, blouses and sweaters so you can wear a clean one daily. Make sure that these will go with your top and bottoms; a maximum of two pairs of shoes – one to wear whilst you are working and a casual pair for when you have time to yourself; enough underwear and sock so you can have a fresh pair each day, as well as a couple of extra pairs should you need them; pyjamas – make sure you have accounted for the weather and packed accordingly. Do not worry about taking a dressing gown or robe, as these are incredibly bulky and some hotels will also supply these; some lightweight, relaxing clothes that you can go exploring in; and finally, basic toiletries. Only bring what you will need during your trip though, and be sure to have travel size bottles.

Business womanIf you are taking a briefcase with you, make sure that is organised as well, and you know where everything is should you need to access it. Make sure you have you travel documents folder that was organised prior to you leaving; any business files and documents that you require for the meetings or conference; your laptop, which will need to be removed as you go through security, so make sure that it easily accessibly; do not forget any equipment you need for your computer, such as chargers, memory sticks etc; your mobile phone charger; and a selection of stationary, such as notebooks, pens and highlighters. Make sure these are easily accessible and come with you to the meeting, in order for you to make any notes that are required. It may also be worth packing a spare envelope for any receipts that you need to keep to claim your expenses. By having an envelope ready, you can keep them all together, and you have not got a mad panic when you are home, trying to find them all. If you have any business cards, make sure you have also got a stack of these that you can hand out to people, as you never know when a business opportunity can arise.

Finally, in your handbag or equivalent, make sure you have your passport, purse or wallet with everything in it that you will need, some chewing gum, a small make up bag containing only the essentials for that trip and any medication that you will need during your stay. By following the above advice, you can stay organised and have an enjoyable trip, without having to worry about what to pack, or finding everything when you are back. Business trips are an amazing way of getting to see areas of the world that you otherwise may not have seen, so grab the opportunity with open arms, and enjoy it!

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