Are you preparing for a few days away on business? If you are, you’re certainly not alone – statistics show there were nearly nine million overseas business trips from the UK in 2019. Of course, this year has been quite a different story, with some foreign travel restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, people are still permitted to travel for work and it may be that you have been chosen to head overseas for an important pitch, to close a deal or simply to connect with your commercial partners across the globe.
For many, business trips have become a regular staple of life in the job. But everyone has a first business trip and, if this is yours, you want to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible. With that in mind, here are a few fundamental tips to help you out.
Plan your journey
Before an important business meeting – especially one in an unfamiliar location – the last thing you want is to be stressing about the journey details. Leave yourself as much margin for error as possible, as you never know when or how delays might crop up. Choose the most direct routes to save time – for example, when travelling from the south of the UK the train straight from Brighton to Gatwick is ideal for that particular airport and if you do arrive early, at least you’ll have time to relax in the lounge with a coffee and a book before you board.
You’ll also need to work out the best way to get from your arrival airport to your hotel or meeting, if you’re going straight there. There could be an abundance of taxis or the city might operate a slick underground service, but you need to be clear on where you’re going and how long it takes.
Research your destination
Each country has its own set of cultural customs and nuances, so you might want to familiarise yourself with those before you set off. Even learning a few simple phrases in the native tongue – such as greetings, please and thank you – can help to make a strong first impression with your colleagues.
You should also take the time to find out if there are any planned celebrations or protests that could impact your ability to reach the appointment as scheduled. And be sure to check which electrical sockets are used – you’ll need the right adapter so that you can stay plugged in for that key presentation.
Don’t be tempted to pack too many outfits that will cover every eventuality and all-weather conditions. Instead, check the forecast and only pack what you need. Try to travel as light as you can – the last thing you need is to be lugging a heavy case around train stations and airports when you’re only there for a short stay.
Make a list of the essentials and try and stick to those, crossing them off as they go into the case. Once that’s all done, you’ll be perfectly set for your first business trip abroad.