Ready to go? The day before your first business trip…

 

Are you excited already? The day has almost come that you start into your first business trip. If you missed it, find our article on how to prepare your first business trip here.

 

Now let’s dive right into what you need to do the last 24 hours before your journey starts.

  • Use online check-in! Online check-in usually starts 24 hours prior to departure so you don’t have to line up at the check-in. Waiting in line sucks – you can’t really do anything but you are standing the entire time. Not the best thing to do, special since you will wait in line enough anyway. So avoid it wherever you can!

Using online checking-in also gives you the chance to chose your seat yourself. Pick your seat wisely. If it’s a short flight or you have to change planes, you want to sit at the aisle as far in the front of the plane as possible, to get off the plane a little faster.

If you are on a longer flight, go ahead and get a window seat and enjoy the view. However, every time you want to get up, you have to pass the passengers on the seat(s) beside you, but in return nobody has to pass you so you won’t be bothered. It’s up to your personal preference.

  • Download your boarding pass and print it if possible. Don’t keep your boarding pass in your email account. You may run into connectivity problems when boarding. Screenshot the boarding pass so you have it on your phone also when you are offline, and if possible print it as well, just in case your phone has a problem at the airport.
  • Set a travel notification on your work e-mail account, so colleagues and clients know that you are traveling and your answers may be delayed. Name a contact person who can be reached in case of an urgent request.

You can use an autoresponder text like: “I’m out of office from … to … with limited access to phone and email, therefore my answer may be delayed. For urgent requests regarding … please contact …. (phone: …; email: …). Thank you.”

  • Make sure all of your devices (phone, laptop, ipod, ect.) are fully charged and you have relevant chargers on hand. Organize a travel adapter so you can charge your devices in the country you are traveling to. There are plenty of different plugs and outlets. Look up what the specification and designs are to make sure you get the right one. Consider that some charger plugs have thicker connections that might not fit with every adapter. Test them before you leave.
  • Save files you will be working on or have to present locally on your laptop, so you have access and can work on it even when you are offline. Usually, your office intranet will not work at a client or supplier site and even within large organizations there might be different networks.
  • Make your electronics (laptop, etc.) and toiletries easy accessible so you don’t have to dig through your entire luggage at the security check. (That is only one way to speed up the security check process. More to come.)
  • Pack your toiletries, fragrances, etc. in transparent zipper bags. You are allowed to bring one quart-sized bag (that’s about 1 liter) of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces) or less per item.

 

Go through your checklist of things you need and want to bring. This helps to make sure you don’t forget anything important. If you stay overnight, check the hotel room equipment description. You won’t need towels, shampoo and soap. Toothpaste and private creams however, should be carried along for sure. However, if you call the front desk, they will also have some toothpaste for you.

As mentioned in our post How to plan your first business trip EVER, you should focus on essentials when packing. There are plenty of creative packing tips and hacks online, however in most cases it is not the space which limits what you can bring, but the weight. Fees for overweighed luggage are almost as high as the plane will fly. Sometimes you can re-arrange your things and you get away with it. Sometimes you have to say goodbye to some of your belongings. However the smart traveler is prepared and has a luggage scale on hand to check the weight while packing, so there won’t be any surprises at the check-in. If you travel a lot, you will get a feeling of how much weight you can bring, but in the beginning make sure to verify your feeling to avoid bad surprises.

Especially when you’re traveling abroad, sometimes the international carriers have different rules for their domestic carriers within a different country, so if travelling international it is useful to have a scale which shows both, kilogram and pounds.

  • Bring some anti-bacterial wipes with you to clean the surfaces you touch. The little picnic tray in a plane is full of substances you don’t want to touch. Clean it to not run the risk of getting sick.
  • If you don’t like noise: Bring some ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones, since a plane is fairly loud. On most international flights you will find a little bag containing a sleep mask and some low quality earplugs. If you travel more often you want to invest in appropriate equipment. You can start out with foam plugs. They are easy to use, cheap, and they do a good job.
  • If your flight will be long or overnight, you may want to bring a pillow to get a little more comfort. I recommend inflatable pillows, because they don’t take up too much space, and you can hide it away in case you get down to business straight after your arrival. It looks somewhat odd when bringing  a pillow to a meeting or client visit.
  • Have a light jacket or sweater in your carry-on luggage in case you feel cold easily. There might a blanket on board (at least for long-distance flights) but it might not keep you warm enough.
  • Write some emergency numbers and contacts on actual paper in case you end up stranded and offline or out of battery, so you can use a coin phone or another persons device (if they let you).
  • Make sure that your shuttle is on time and you eat something good before heading out.

 

Dress professional.

You are on a business trip. Dress appropriately!

  • You will be perceived and treated as a professional and not as a tourist. It happens fairly often that planes are overbooked and some passengers get the privilege of a free upgrade. The airline personal gets to decide who they offer an upgrade to. Considering that they want to keep a certain appearance in their business and first classes, chances are low that they will offer to upgrade someone wearing sweatpants or swim trunks and flip flops.
  • Another reason to dress professional while traveling for business is that you may not have time to change when you arrive. You may have to go straight into a meeting. In case you will be picked up, you don’t want to look like a tourist either, because it will affect your reputation.
  • It is not a vacation trip. If you land during work hours, be prepared to get to work before you check-in to your hotel.

 

That’s it for part 2! Find more tips and tricks on how to travel like an expert while on the move in part 3 of this blog series.