Read tips on planning ahead and making your next business trip a success. Although business trips can be exciting, the logistics of traveling can be stressful. By planning before, during and after the trip, you can lessen this stress.
Before you leave …
- Identify the reason(s) for the trip and what exactly you want to accomplish. Make a list of the items and resources you will need to achieve your goals — save this list on your computer for future trips.
- Block out time on your calendar — well before the date — to prepare thoroughly, especially if you are presenting or pitching a proposal. Anticipate what preparation will be needed and act on it now.
- Enter your flight and hotel information into your calendar as an appointment. Make sure to block out time to travel to the airport.
- Start compiling a reading folder — both paper and electronic — to take with you.
- Avoid meetings and appointments the first day back in the office. You have plenty to do when you return (see below).
On the plane …
- Pull out the file folder and computer with the backlog of articles, emails and magazines. This is a good time to catch up on reading.
- At the hotel, ask for a room on a lower floor, especially if you are attending a convention. You can walk to your floor while everyone is waiting for the elevator. And, if you go to your room during the day, taking the stairs will be time efficient and will burn off a feww calories, too.
- Keep track of expenses and receipts by putting them in one place such as an envelope, notebook or smart phone.
- Review the bill the evening before and avoid standing in line at the hotel check-out desk the next day.
- Request the room for a few hours longer if you are not departing by checkout time so you can focus on important matters. That takes the pressure off to pack and leave the room by mid-morning.
At your meetings …
- Use a professional-looking spiral notebook. Divide the notebook into sections for different meetings and for different days. Put follow up tasks in a separate location.
When you return …
- Sort your email inbox by subject (or by Conversation if you are using Outlook 2010). Read the most important replies first to see if an issue still needs your attention.
- Review your trip notes as soon as possible, adding to-do’s to your task list right away.
- Maintain frequent flyer and rewards program data in your contact list. Outlook Contacts will store all relevant information (e.g. phone numbers, websites, member IDs) and will synch with your cell for easy dialing.
- Schedule a post-trip analysis even if it is just with yourself — did you achieve your goals? What (if anything) would you have done differently?
Make your next trip smooth-sailing and a first-class business experience.