4 Travel Tips to Make Your Next Business Trip Go Smoothly

Dec 16, 2013 - Joe Matar

What better way to kick off your week than by learning you were chosen to represent the company at the annual spring conference in Singapore? Score! You immediately share the awesome news on every social network and then spend the next 15 minutes daydreaming about sky miles and expensed room service.

According to a recent study by Expedia and Egencia, Millennials are the new business jet setters, traveling for work more than any other age set today.

Whether you’re taking your first or fifteenth business trip with your boss, coworker or client, here are four tips to ensure you represent yourself and the company well while you’re cruising the friendly skies:

1. Nix the social media

As much as we love keeping our friends, family and colleagues up-to-date on what’s going on, rethinking the appropriate times to use your cell phone and social media is important when you’re on business travel.

Providing 140-character play-by-plays during a client meeting won’t help you close a deal, and you definitely don’t want your boss to discover you Instagramming your filet mignon at the other end of the dinner table in front of the client.

It’s important to remember you’ve been selected to go on this trip for a reason. (Click here to Tweet this thought.) Use this opportunity to be active in conversations with your colleagues and clients, and respond to text and direct messages during your personal time.

2. Be prepared to overdeliver

You can never be too prepared when it comes to business travel. Not only do you have to pack for yourself, but you may also have to prepare materials for the client meetings or sales presentations.

Ensuring you have the appropriate attire is critical. Be mindful that an all-day client meeting could turn into an evening dinner. Having options for several occasions is ideal.

More often than not, the most junior person traveling is responsible for bringing the appropriate materials — and that junior-level person will probably be you. Show your boss you’re a stickler for details by being thoroughly prepared. It’s wise to always have itineraries, addresses, directions and important phone numbers printed out so you can easily refer to them.

3. Over-communicate

Sometimes travel can be unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean your communication should be unpredictable, too. Staying plugged in with your key point of contact during your business trip is vital.

If your flight is delayed, it’s important to inform someone about the status of your flight and your new expected time of arrival. If you’re traveling separately from the rest of your team or the client, planning a place to meet up once everyone has arrived is key.

Position yourself as the person who’s alert and openly communicates for the duration of the trip, and your boss will want you to accompany her every time.

4. Leave your complaints at home

Business travel isn’t designed to be a leisure vacation, and you have to be ready for the 6:00 a.m. flights, unpredictable weather and late evenings.

Of the many unforeseen circumstances that could — and probably will — occur while you’re jet setting around the world for business, the best thing you can do is not complain. If you see a challenge has emerged, don’t whine or make excuses — think of ways to resolve the problem.

You want your boss to view you as someone who can function well under pressure during travel. More importantly, you want to stay at the top of the consideration list for future business travel opportunities.

Have you ever been on a business trip? What are some other tips for young professional business travelers?

Jaimee Ratliff is a PR professional, freelance writer and a culture enthusiast based in Houston, Texas. Follow her at @WhatJaiSays.