Q&A with Jane: Help! I Need Tips on Surviving a Business Trip

A Reader Writes:

I’m a nerd-asaurus. A completely different species in a very, very extroverted world. I’m comfortable with myself, but it’s not like I’m uber-shy or boring. In contrast, I have strong social skills, and when I’m in the company of people, and that’s because I live in the moment. Of course, while I’m at parties and business meetings, I don’t go around making best friends, but I enjoy the whole process of meeting new people and learning a thing or two about them. Turns out, this misconception has cost me my dearly! Our HR professional thinks I’m an extrovert and has put to the toughest job in the world – I’m the travel coordinator for a business trip to Kyoto!

surviving a business trip

It’s not exactly a business trip – from what I have seen, there’s going to be a lot of bad behavior during the trip. Most of it comes from whining about delays and cramped rooms and less-less fun.

I think I might just have a meltdown if I think more about what’s going to happen on the trip. I can ask the HR to put someone else on it, but I don’t want to look like a wimp. Help! I badly need some handy tips on surviving a business trip.

 - 32, M, nerd-asaurus, not a wimp

Answer:

Travel has its drawbacks. Like it or not, you cannot expect everything to go hassle free. So before you pack your bags for the business conference, here are a few handy tips on surviving a business trip:

CAREFUL PLANNING: Map out everything – your route to the hotel, the reservation dates, and your rental car reservation. Careful planning is the go to motto! Be prepared for unforeseen events. It could be anything, from lost or delayed luggage to a delayed flight or a missed connection. It's anxiety inducing and can be extremely taxing on your mental health. So be prepared in advance.

CREATE AN ITINERARY: Create an itinerary to remove the stress of making a connection and limit the potential delays. Clarify the trip budget with your boss. Create a note of arrangements and confirmation numbers. Your travel itinerary should contain details of the flight information, transportation, hotels, business meetings, contact numbers and addresses for every single reservation and appointment. You may even choose to do this using itinerary apps for Android and iOS, such as TripIt, Tripomatic, Planapple, TripHobo, Roadtrippers, and WorldMate.

Here’s a breakdown of how you can create it manually:

Flights - Date of travel; check-in times; flight time; flight number; airport terminal number; how long it will take to travel; name and location of the arriving airport.

Cab Hire - Cab pickup and drop-off times; location; reservation number; tipping advice.

Hotel – Name, address and telephone of the hotel; hotel reservation number.

FILE YOUR EXPENSE: You will be expected to keep a constraint on unexpected out-of-pocket costs. Make sure all of your business expenses are filed in the expense report on Google Drive (or cloud) in your smartphone and share it with the office admin and your boss.

I would also suggest you to keep an extra smartphone battery (or may be a portable charger) so you never run out of battery. Check of weather conditions for the location you’re headed to and make sure everyone packs correctly. Business trip comes at a cost – sometimes even your health! Make sure the trip isn’t exacerbating mental and physical fatigue of your co-workers. Note down everyone’s medical history, so nobody is prone to sickness or a severe allergy while on the trip.

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