If you ever get the opportunity to travel for your company, it’s generally not the time to bust out the flip flops and shorts. Business travel isn’t the same as a road trip. When you do any corporate traveling, you are representing your employer in everything you do. But different employers have different rules on business travel, and they may even have unspoken expectations on what is acceptable behavior when traveling. To help point you in the right direction, here are some dos and don’ts when on a business trip.
DO Check Policies and Procedures
Most employers have rules and guidelines for business travel, and it’s important that you’re familiar with them before you go anywhere. It’s best not to claim ignorance and be ready to follow company procedures before traveling anywhere. If your company doesn’t have travel procedures, meet with your manager to find out if there is anything you need to know before you go.
DO Carry a Small Refresher Kit
You never know when a small accident might happen. If you need to look and feel professional while you are away, you need to be ready. Have a small bag that include items like floss, mints, aspirin, stain remover pens, and anything else you might need to look and feel your best.
DO Keep Your Receipts
It’s best to keep all of your receipts just in case your employer has any questions or concerns after you file for reimbursement. Keeping them organized in an envelope will help make your expense report easier and lowers your chances of mistakes. Check with your supervisor or HR director if you have any questions about employer reimbursements.
DON’T Pack Everything
When you pack everything you think you may need, your time going through the airport can take longer than expected. Going through security lines, finding storage space on the plane, and hailing a taxi or renting a car can be a lot more stressful and time consuming when you have to carry a 40-pound bag. Your trip will be quicker and less stressful when you pack lightly.
If all you have for a carry-on is your old sports duffle bag you’ve had for five years, you may want to consider purchasing a regular black rolling suitcase. It looks more professional and fits better in airplane compartments.
DON’T Assume Everything is in Writing
There may be actions or attire that may be allowed, but is generally frowned upon. You may be off duty after a certain time where you can wear casual clothes and be free to do what you want, but it may be considered inappropriate to stay out too late enjoying the night life.
DON’T Forget the Thank You
Most people associate sending thank-you cards to a job interview, but you should also consider sending them after your business trip. Depending on what type of business you’re doing, it makes a big impact to send a thank-you note to a client, potential customer, new partners, or conference leader. It’s also a great way to build relationships and carry on the conversation after the trip.
While business travel and regular travel have many similarities, there are also key differences that you should know. Are there any tips you’d like to give regarding the first time you traveled for business? Share them in the comments below.