Business travel is a little different these days.
Instead of a big desk with a fax machine, your “business center” could be a MacBook sitting in a Berlin cafe, a Chromebook on a Wi-Fi-equipped transatlantic flight, or even an iPad on a white-sand beach. . Advanced signing and scanning applications mean less downtime, less lost productivity and less stress. And with bleisure travel all the rage, taking off on your first business trip can be empowering or even, dare I say, relaxing. Here’s why:
It’s a small world after all. although you work hundreds of miles away, you don’t have to give up your assistance system. With technology tools like FaceTime and Skype, business travelers never have to be out of reach of family and friends.
You will grow and learn. At first, new cultures can seem scary or unfamiliar, like making small talk, going out for drinks with new colleagues, or even learning a new language. But studies have shown that being in an unfamiliar environment – even for just a few hours – increases your creativity. So even if you’re only going on a 24-hour trip to Chicago, take advantage of it. You might come home with a magical new idea.
Technology has your back. Just want to crash in your room after a long day of meetings? With new hotel apps, you can have room service waiting for you. And you don’t have to be in a five-star hotel to enjoy five-star concierge service. Using beacon technology, hotels roll out the red carpet and give you personalized recommendations as soon as you walk through the door.
Check boxes before doing the Jet Set
Going from cabin dweller to road warrior not only opens up a world of adventure and life experiences, but it also creates a whole new checklist for making your first business trip a success. Avoid that “what am I forgetting?” panic moment with advance planning.
1. Pack smart. Save yourself the stress of carrying a suitcase full of seams and create a versatile packing list. Of course, adjust it for different trips or changing seasons — adding jackets or throwing in lighter fabrics as needed — but here are some universal must-haves I recommend:
- A sensible hand luggage: Carry-on bags save you time at both ends of your trip and avoid those pesky baggage fees. However, pay attention to the size of your bag. Capacity on commercial flights is often tight, and that bulky wheeled bag you’re trying to pass as carry-on shouldn’t take up half the top compartment.
- Phone charger: It sounds obvious, but having no juice in your battery when you need it is the worst part. I highly recommend buying a cell phone battery when you’re not near an outlet.
- Travel adapter: Are you crossing the pond? Don’t get stuck with the wrong pins. Look for the appropriate travel adapter and give yourself plenty of time to find one.
- Anti-wrinkle spray: Unless you’re using high-tech fabrics, workwear tends to lose softness. Spruce up your dress shirts with a travel size anti-wrinkle spray.
2. Tie those loose ends. From a week before your departure, you should write and schedule an automatic response by e-mail in case of absence from the office, take your suits to the dry cleaners, replenish your stock of business cards, withdraw the necessary money and organize your passport and any other document.
3. Download the appropriate applications. The most important thing you pack might not even be in your suitcase, but rather in the palm of your hand. Uber is probably the first travel-related app that comes to mind, but there are also hundreds of others to choose from.
Passbook, for example, is a flagship application on the iPhone. It serves as a virtual wallet, containing your boarding passes, discount cards and coupons. Another app I recommend is TripIt, which keeps track of hotel, car, flight, and restaurant reservations and compiles them into a master list. Plus, Smart Receipts keeps all your receipts in one place when you get back to the office, and WiFi Finder will scan for nearby internet connections, preventing those hefty roaming charges from piling up.
Take the time to recharge when you need it
Going on your first business trip is undoubtedly exciting, but that doesn’t mean it won’t involve a lot of hard work. That said, listen to your body – it will tell you when it’s time to put down the carry-on. Don’t be afraid to schedule “me time” on your first business trip. Perhaps you can take a refreshing hike or visit the nearby art museum.
Who says your first business trip has to be stressful and exhausting? Today, business travel is easier and more fulfilling than ever. You can see faraway places, learn new skills and grow in your career.