Smart Tips for Business Trips

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The pieces are coming together. You’ve earned your degree, landed the job you always wanted, and now you’re killing it. In fact, you’re doing so well that your boss has asked you to represent your company on a business trip. The only problem is that the closest you’ve ever gone to going on a business trip so far in your career is that time you and 15 of your closest friends went to Miami during spring break. Needless to say, you don’t know what to expect and how to prepare.

Here is a list of tips that will get you out the door and on your way to rocking your first work-related trip like the veteran you always knew you could be.

Head to Your Nearest Blow-Dry Bar

Blow-dry bars are a fabulous invention for business travelers. They’re quick and significantly less expensive than getting your hair cut and styled. I recently went to Blow/Out Blow Dry Bar in Philadelphia before my trip to Chicago and it made my morning routine a lot quicker. Resembling an actual bar, the stylists are so fun and easy to talk to, creating a fun and relaxing atmosphere. Plus, talk about hospitality–the receptionist offers you complimentary champagne, water or coffee/tee while you’re waiting.

When you’re going from place to place and then meeting up with your colleagues after-hours for dinner and drinks, you don’t want to spend an hour at night or in the morning doing your hair.   I also recommend getting a manicure and pedicure 1-2 days before your trip so you don’t need to worry about your nails chipping or finding the nearest salon. If they end up chipping anyway, bring the closest color you have at home with you for small touch-ups.

Make a Packing Checklist


Write down everything you will need to bring, including toiletries, clothes, chargers, paperwork and anything else that comes to mind. Being away from home means not having access to your normal surroundings and everything you’re accustomed to reaching for a few feet away. Before you even start packing, make a list of what you need to include so you can avoid that troublesome feeling of thinking you left something behind or worse case scenario, about to start a presentation and realizing that your USB drive is 400 miles away tucked safely in your home office.

To help save room, add travel-sized bottles to your checklist so you don’t need to pack large items into your toiletry bag. If your favorite products don’t come in tiny sizes, buy empty bottles at Target that you can fill up with your favorite face wash/hair spray/lotion/anything else that keeps you looking good! Also, this is hard for me to say, but you must adhere to the ‘three pairs of shoes max’ rule to be an efficient traveler. It’s difficult, trust me I know, but one of the tricks I use to help me get through it is actually wearing the 4th pair to the airport. 🙂

In terms of paperwork, include your flight schedule, hotel information and your scheduled meetings printed out and close by to keep yourself organized. It may not be easy to find the information in your outlook inbox when you desperately need it so keep everything in an easily accessible physical folder.

Do Not Check your Luggage

Speaking of making a packing list, do everything humanly possible to not check your bag. Yes, a large suitcase allows you to pack more (particularly more shoes), but waiting to check and claim your baggage can be a nightmare. I’ve always been a heavy packer and claimed to need more space for more outfit options but I use a carry-on most of the work trips I go on and it made a huge difference in my travel experience. Yes, I said most-i’m not a saint! By printing my boarding pass at home, I was able to go from the taxi to my gate in ten minutes.

I try to limit my wardrobe to items that can be worn at least twice in different ways to save room. For example, a dress that can be worn by itself or with a blazer to look like a cohesive suit. The fewer items you need to lug around while traveling, especially without a travel partner to do the heavy lifting, the better.

Charge your Electronics


This may seem obvious but I’ve been in countless situations in which my flight was delayed, my phone was giving up on me, and like a madwomen, I was desperately looking for a functioning outlet. Create your own little charging station the night before you leave for your trip so all you need to do in the morning is unplug and put all the chargers you need in your personal bag or carry-on.

Bring Business Cards

You will be kicking yourself if you don’t remember to bring your business cards. A business trip is an excellent opportunity to make strong connections with the people you know and any new people you meet. Solidify their first impression of you by handing off a business card at the end of an interaction. Also, keep them close by in your pocket or in the smaller pocket of your handbag so you don’t need to spend time rummaging for one. You truly never know where a seemingly non-significant interaction will lead, whether it’s a new job opportunity or a new friend.

When you’re traveling for business, you are the face of your company. You’ll want to make a good impression and that’s difficult to do if you’ve forgotten something vital, trying to charge your phone, or unable to present a business card. Follow the tips above so you can move beyond the basics and focus on making the most of your trip.

Now, you’ve made it to your final destination! Your first work trip may seem intimidating but at this point, you’ve done a lot to prepare. If you have time, meet up with a friend who lives in the area or take a break at a local coffee shop. You’re young, eager, employed and in a new city-enjoy it!

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