For some people, business travel has become part of their routine. For others, however, it’s a new experience that can provoke a degree of trepidation… So here are a few tips for ensuring a successful first trip.
- Anticipate the administrative formalities
The procedures for obtaining a passport or visa can take time… So as soon as the travel dates are fixed, the first thing you need to do is to check the validity of your identity documents and order new ones, where necessary.
- Research your destination
Customs, body language, ways of working, courtesy requirements… Every culture has its own codes. So to avoid any cultural faux pas that could adversely affect your business, find out about the country you’re visiting. Do you know how to greet your contact? Are there any taboo subjects? Should you give your prospects gifts, or would that be frowned upon? …
- Organise the logistics in advance
Prepare well and you’re already halfway to having a successful trip! So choose a hotel that’s near your meeting venues. Schedule your appointments carefully, taking into account the travel time between the different venues, and book taxis and restaurants in advance… Basically, pre-arrange as many practical details as possible, so that you can focus fully on your work once you arrive.
- Prepare your suitcase meticulously
Ascertain the dress code applicable during your stay. Then consider each situation that you’re going to encounter. Does your stay include a cocktail party that would require formal evening wear? Do you need to bring your trainers so you can go jogging between conferences? Don’t forget your electronic work tools (smartphone, laptop, batteries, etc.). And don’t weigh yourself down with unnecessary toiletries, as the vast majority of hotels provide shampoo, shower gel and toothpaste for guests. Top tip: if you’re only going to be away for one or two nights, try to make do with hand luggage only. This will save you wasting a lot of time checking in luggage and then queuing to recover it at the other end.
- Plan your spending
Order local currency from your bank and, if you need to use your debit or credit card outside Europe, ask them to temporarily unblock it.