It doesn’t matter if you book your travel well in advance or with little notice – the preparation still needs to be done. The last thing you want to do is travel away from home only to find that you have failed to pack the essential items you need daily. When travelling for work, the importance is even more significant, as you don’t have those spare pockets of time like you do on holiday to replace those forgotten items. There is also pressure to remember all the things that relate to your work and business trip, as well as the personal items you need at the start and end of the day.
If you have travel coming up for work, here is a guide to preparing ahead of time and ensuring you do not go without.
Clothing and personal care
It’s unlikely you will not prepare to pack your clothing, but you want to be including a range of clothing to suit all occasions and needs. You also want to pack your underwear, including cotton period underwear and warm sleepwear, in case your travel accommodation is at a different temperature. If you are going to be conducting three days of work when travelling, pack more than three outfits in case something leaks in your bags or there is a reason you cannot wear one of these work outfits.
Are you aware of the weather you are about to face on your work travel? Take the time to do some research so you can pack an umbrella, rain jacket, thermals, coat and anything to safeguard you against the cold. The same goes for sunnier climates, be sure to pack sunscreen and adequate sun cover if you plan on spending time outside between meetings and work activities. Weather can also impact your travel plans to your destination and to and from meetings once you are there. If possible, try and leave enough time to get from one place to another if you anticipate that weather will be a factor.
Research your accommodation
Chances are you have been to many hotels or accommodations in your life, but there is always value in finding out what amenities and services are available at your hotel. Will you be able to get meals at your accommodation before and after a work day? Are there venues around your hotel where you can meet with colleagues and clients, or will you have to travel far to find these restaurants and cafes? You might also find that your hotel offers shuttle services to the airport and central locations that will be able to save you spending work funds.
Align with your goals
In all the excitement of planning travel, you want to be aligning with your goals before you jet off. Take some time to articulate what you want to get from this work trip, and write these goals down. Perhaps this is about relationship building, meeting new clients, attending conferences, team building with colleagues or any other goal. If you are not sure what your definitive goals are, connect with your management or team to align on these goals prior to leaving, so you travel with a clear head and clear plan of attack.
Preparation before, during and after
Preparation should be something you continually do when planning your work trip, during your work trip and after you return. That might sound strange, but you want to prepare for each stage of the work trip so that your work activities are successful. Confirming your appointments with clients, dinners, and attendance at upcoming events is crucial preparation. When you are on your trip, you also want to be preparing for the next day before you go to bed so that you wake with intention while you are away.
When you return from your work trip, you want to be prepared enough to send out those communications that reinforce the connections you can make on the trip and remind them of your unique selling points. You can prepare parts of these communications before you leave so that you can execute them upon arrival, and you can even have those catch-up meetings with your management pre-scheduled to discuss the work trip, so you are accountable and ready.
Work trips are always fun, but they do come with stress and preparation obligations. The more work you do today, the less you have to do tomorrow, so get planning to ensure a seamless work trip.