Guest post! Need first time business travel tips? Ryan shows you how it's done!
I travel from time to time for business, whether to do work in the field or attend meetings and conferences. No two business trips are ever the same, but there are definitely similarities for all of them, which can make planning and traveling a bit easier. If you're looking for first time business travel tips, this is the place.
Traveling for business is more work than it is vacation (whether we want it to be or not!) and as such, you need to be prepared when you hit the road so that you make sure you arrive as prepared as possible to hit the ground running when you arrive.
Dress the Part:
Whether driving, flying, or riding the rails, you still need to look like you’re professional. While a suit and tie may not be comfortable to travel in, there are better options out there than shorts and sandals. You never know who you are going to meet while on route, and many business connections can be made or lost if your appearance doesn’t convey professionalism.
For my line of work, I recommend traveling just a bit beyond “business casual”. Khakis are ok when paired with a dress shirt (tie optional). The trick is to find the right clothing that is lightweight and stays wrinkle free. Tilley offers a wide range of travel clothing that works for the professional on the go. You can also find great options at places like Moore’s, and even Marks that offer just what you need. This isn’t the time to wear your Harry Rosen shirt and pants as they aren’t breathable, and while they look great in the boardroom, they do not stay looking as sharp when seated in a cramped airline seat for hours.
Pack Like a Pro!
Whether going for 2 days or 2 weeks, it IS possible to travel with carry-on luggage only. Not only will this save you time at the airport by not having to check a bag, or have you waiting to collect it; you can also be the first one to grab a taxi and be half way downtown before the rest of the business travelers have made it past the luggage carousel. A suit bag can be brought on the plane and hung up by attendants at the front, and it doesn’t need to be jam packed. One suit and 2 or 3 shirts with 1 or 2 matching ties take up little room in the bag, and allows for many different combinations to change up your look every day. If you have dress shirts that are lightweight and quick drying, they can even be rinsed in the hotel room and hung to dry to be ready the next morning.
In your carry-on bag, you don’t need to fill it to the brim to have more than enough supplies. Toiletries, underwear and socks, 1 pair of “off hours” casual pants, and a couple of shirts is all that you need.
Tip: Pack these by rolling rather than folding to save space, as well as avoid wrinkles.
Life and Work Carry On...
As Vanessa mentioned, “life and business don’t stop just because you’re on a business trip.” Today’s business traveler needs to stay connected 24/7. How is that possible to do while traveling? It’s easier than you may think.
First of all, while I have talked in previous paragraphs about air travel, if you have the chance, consider traveling by rail. The train offers the chance for you to travel from downtown to downtown in the same time it would take to go door to door were you flying for some of your short haul trips. A one hour flight and a 4 hour train ride both take the same amount of time when you consider security checks and additional travel time to get to and from the airport.
Spend that time in the comfort of the train, using on board WiFi and space to unpack your laptop to get that presentation nailed down, or catch up on email. The other advantage is that you can be on the phone if necessary, a feature you won’t find on many airlines.
Make Business Travel as Stress Free as Possible:
You don’t always have weeks to plan for a business trip, but by packing light, choosing the best mode of transport, and having your technology solutions on board, you can certainly ensure that you will arrive to your destination rested, stress free, and ready to hit the ground running.
You’re going to rock that presentation!
As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. Any tips for making business travel a smooth process?
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