Traveling for business is far from taking your summer vacation in the Bahamas. The rules are different, the organization is more complicated, and everything around the trip is far more stressful. The troubles begin with the timeline and they certainly don’t end with the packing. But, if you want to have a successful career, it’s likely impossible to avoid traveling for work. Face-to-face contact has immeasurably more value than speaking on the phone or having a conference call.
Decades ago, women were not among the most frequent business travelers. Often, they waited for their husbands to return home from their trips, with a warm dinner and even warmer hugs. But things are different now. The number of female business travelers is growing by the day. In the US, 45% of people traveling for business are women.
For the ladies, traveling for business can be even more challenging, especially if they’re also mothers who’re trying to keep it all together at home. It’s not impossible, though. Here are a few tips that will help you make it quick and stylish.
How to get there?
Depending on where you’re going, you can travel by car, plane, train or bus. If the destination requires more than five hours of driving, it would be best to fly, because you don’t want to get to the business meeting exhausted.
If you’re driving your own car, you should probably get it checked, from oil to tires, to be sure there won’t be any unpleasant surprises on the road. If you’re flying, be sure to verify your passport and other required documents. Before confirming the reservation, check if you have the option for changing schedules and flights.
Don’t rely on taxis at the airport to get to your hotel. Instead, hire transportation in advance for ultimate comfort and safety. You can rent a car, too.
What to pack?
The luggage checklist will vary depending on the time you’ll spend at your destination. Either way, you’ll want to pack light and smart. Here are some tips that will help you accomplish that.
- Pack wrinkle-free clothing to avoid spending time and patience on ironing.
- Choose versatile clothes which you’ll be able to wear both to business meetings and city tours if you get some free time. For example, bring one pair of comfortable women’s travel pants that are both fashionable and functional, one black pencil skirt that goes with just about anything, two or three blouses, plain T-shirts, and one or two neutral-color vests.
- Bring travel-size toiletries.
- Pack no more than three pairs of shoes.
- Don’t forget your PJs, makeup, hair products and essentials, sufficient undergarments, chargers, and devices.
- Look out for baggage weight restrictions.
Get things in order at home
Regardless whether you have a partner, kids, pets, or plants (or all of the above), take some time to organize everything to run smoothly while you’re not there. Ask a relative or a friend to drop by every now and then. Leave the kids with their grandparents or someone you trust. Ask someone to water the plants regularly. Leave some food prepared in the freezer. Make sure everything is locked and secured before leaving your home. Also, have a checklist of the things you need to do upon your arrival back home.
Find adequate accommodation
Your choice of accommodation should depend on the length of your trip. If it’s a day trip and you’re not staying overnight, the best thing would be to find a hotel located on the way from the airport to the meeting destination. There are many hotels offering short-stay options for resting a few hours. That way, you can take a shower, do your hair, and apply makeup when you arrive.
If you’re staying for a couple of days and you know that you’ll have some free time, choose an accommodation in the heart of the city so you can have access to restaurants and tourist sites.
In case you’re planning to hold business meetings in your hotel, check if the facility has additional features such as conference rooms, catering, and bar service.
Manage your time there
When on a business trip, you’ll probably have a very tight schedule and if a time difference is included, it can become chaotic. Try to plan everything you can in advance. Make sure to leave time between your meetings if they’re taking place in different parts of the city. If it is possible, take some time to explore the city. Don’t skimp on your sleep, because you need to be fresh and focused.
Finally, there are some little things you can’t forget about. Travel insurance which includes a health package is a must. If your business trip includes long waiting hours between flights or long flights, you might want to carry along a good read or a magazine to pass the time. What happens after the trip is also a huge part of an organized business traveler. So, if you want to become one, unpack as soon as you come home. Check if everything is in order at home. And when everything is done, prepare a hot bubble bath and relax. You deserved it.