There’s no way around it. Getting a startup off of the ground is no easy task. Doing so requires hard work and constant communication with potential clients, vendors, and providers. While many of your connections may be local, there will likely be plenty of times where you need to travel outside of your circle to sell your services and expand your professional network.
When it comes to travel, proper organization is key. You’ll likely be visiting many new places, and instead of your office, you’ll have your suitcase. To make the best impression possible, you want to have everything in its place so you have exactly what you need when you need it. This guide will set you up for success during your next business trip.
Packing and Prep
Proper travel organization starts with packing your suitcase. While you pack, verify that you have all necessary electronics, including your laptop and smartphone, and verify that they are loaded with all necessary files and any passwords that you need to access required programs at a moment’s notice. It is also of utmost importance that you bring all necessary chargers and cords. Place these in a separate compartment of your suitcase and if you have a lot of them, consider labeling each cord for easier access.
Next, you’ll want to organize and pack your wardrobe. For a shorter trip, you’ll likely want to bring a suit along with business casual attire for meetings and other business gatherings. You should also pack one or two casual, comfortable outfits for relaxation or to wear during downtime. Fold your clothes properly in the suitcase and as soon as you arrive at your hotel, hang the clothes that are prone to wrinkling so you can look your best. Another way to prevent wrinkles is to choose fabrics that travel well, such as clothing made of wool or cotton.
If you are traveling internationally, then you may need to make additional considerations. For instance, if you intend to use your personal phone, then make sure to pay for an international plan so you can make and receive calls from wherever you find yourself. You will also want to bring any necessary universal power adapters so you can charge your devices from anywhere.
Whether you are booking your flight or planning your itinerary, having your documentation organized and available on demand is key. After you have booked your hotels, transportation, and restaurant reservations, you will want to compile all of this information and keep it in one file, whether physical or digital and keep it in your briefcase at all times. As a side tip, sign up for real-time flight updates with the airline so you can be informed immediately if a flight is delayed or canceled.
You can save a lot of stress by preparing a detailed itinerary that lays out what you plan to do during every day of the trip, including where you need to be and who you will meet with when you get there. In addition to names, add the contact information of your clients so you can reach them if you will be late or any other emergency develops. Keep multiple copies of this itinerary, including a physical version so you can review it when necessary, regardless of where you are or what device you have on hand.
In addition to your documentation, you should also make sure that you keep enough money on hand. If you are taking a longer trip, you may want to advise your bank that you will be out of town so they don’t think your card is being used fraudulently. You should keep receipts and document your spending so you can be reimbursed properly by your company. In addition to cards, you should also keep some cash on you as well so you are never caught in a jam.
Organize Your Work
At this point, we have talked about how to organize your luggage, documents, and travel arrangements, but you can’t forget about the work itself. When you are out of the office, it can be easy to forget about completing your daily tasks, but you must not let it get to that point. If your work involves sending and receiving emails, then set up a dedicated time at night or early in the morning before you get on the road where you can sit down and complete some busy work.
If you know that time will be limited during a busy trip, then you may be able to minimize the flow of emails by turning on your “Out Of Office” message that gives the sender details regarding when you will be back in town to respond. The last thing you need is to return home and be inundated with calls and emails, so planning in this regard is a must.
In the case that you are running or facilitating any meetings for clients during the trip, you will want to get your thoughts together and create a plan so you aren’t panicking at the last minute. If you are tasked with facilitating a meeting, map out the meeting objectives ahead of time and send out any necessary slides or paperwork that the participants will need during the get-together so they can review it beforehand. Make the proper arrangements to ensure that you arrive before anyone else so you can test your equipment and ensure that the meeting will go off without a hitch.
While a business trip may take you out of the comfort of your office, with proper planning, you can be just as productive as you are at home. Consider the tips above and set yourself up for success.