Whether you own your own business or are simply representing one, when you travel abroad for your job you are the face of the company in question. You are the one who is in charge of the company’s success and failure, which is a lot of pressure to take on. It is for these reasons why you need to do all you can to remain level-headed, settle in, and make the most of the opportunity. This means more than trying to secure deals, it means finding the right balance even when you are abroad. Just because it is a business trip, after all, does not mean that you do not have off-time. To make the most of your trip, both professionally and personally, all you need to do is follow this guide:
Making Your Trip More Comfortable
There are a few different aspects to making the most of your working trip abroad, and the first one you need to concern yourself with is your own comfort. Travel is taxing on the body, so better yourself from the start by following these tips:
Be Loyal to an Airline
If you travel a lot for work, try to go with the same airline as much as possible. Gaining points and airline status means you will have access to their lounges, which offer a much more comfortable and dignified space to wait for your plane. If you travel regularly, there is no reason to sacrifice on comfort.
Making Your Commute More Comfortable
Noise-canceling headphones will be your lifeline when it comes to commuting, whether you are traveling by plane, train, boat or bus. If you are in public, being able to drown everything else out will be a critical part of relaxing and enjoying your trip just that little bit more. Other ways you can make your commute more comfortable is to wear layers, so you can always be the perfect temperature, and even bringing protein bars to satiate your hunger, and moisturizer to keep your skin feeling great, will go a long way.
Unpack at the Hotel
If you are going to be staying for a long period of time at a hotel, be sure to unpack. Put your clothes away, hang them up, and generally try to make the room as homely as possible. This simple act of putting your stuff away in the closet or wardrobes is an act of possession. The sooner you feel at home in the room, the better you can relax when you get back from meetings, socializing, or exploring.
Bonus: If you can, book a short-stay rental, which essentially allows you to live in an apartment or house for the duration of your stay. It can be an economical choice that allows you to really settle in if you are expecting to stay a week or longer. Not only can you feel more settled, you can cook your own meals for a bit of variety.
Making Your Trip a Career Opportunity
When you travel for work, you are the representative, which is why to make the most of the opportunity, you should know these top tips:
Know the Cultural Norms
When you set up meetings with those in a different country than yours, it is important to be aware of the cultural norms and niceties. In some countries, punctuality is vital, in others, personal conversation is a necessary prelude to any business conversation. Know what your clients or potential clients expect, so that you don’t come off as rude.
Be Constantly in Contact Without Roaming
Traveling abroad often comes with the rather unfortunate side effect of being disconnected. Even if you can connect to Wi-Fi at your hotel or in the boardroom, that still leaves all other areas up in the air. You want to be able to call and receive calls at a moment’s notice, but relying on roaming will result in high fees. Instead, use an international calling card. Viber’s Viber Out feature allows you to call anyone in the world for very low fees. Though this means you cannot receive calls in the same way, at the very least it means that you can lower costs and keep in touch with your client yourself, no matter where you are. International calling cards prices are much preferable to paying roaming charges, and will help you make the most of every opportunity that comes up.
Take Work Outside of the Boardroom
A great way to further your relationship with those you meet, both for your own company and for networking possibilities, is to take the work out of the boardroom. Go out for lunch, or schedule a dinner, and try to connect with your clients on a more personal basis. This is a great way to make a good first impression, stay social when you are abroad in an unfamiliar city, and make important connections for later on.
How to Make the Most of the City You Are Visiting
Of course, it’s not all work and no play, which is why you need to try to squeeze in more time for yourself as well. You can do this a few ways:
Walk to Where You Need to Work
The best way to truly see a city is to walk in it, so give yourself extra time before any meeting or conference and walk to your destination. If it’s too far away, of course, you could try to take public transport a part of the way and walk the rest. Either way, it’s a great way to really get the feel of a city and still be productive.
Add an Extra Weekend
If you can, try to schedule your work trip so that you can stay an extra day or two after your work wraps up. You will likely have to pay for your accommodation, but at least you can get a free flight back home out of it. Take the time to really explore the city, or rent a car and explore the outer areas. There are so many ways you can make the most of your trip when you have a few days to yourself, so make the most of them!
Traveling for work is both a blessing and a curse, but by following this guide, you can be a better professional and traveler all in one go.