The only thing worse than getting out of your comfort zone to meet a client is traveling out of your comfort zone to meet a client. Face to face meetings are important, and often require travel. If you’re planning a trip to see a client, avoiding these 10 common perils of business travel can save your soul…and your account.
Always pack a snack. Long travel days shouldn’t leave you feeling like you’re fasting. And 24-hour hotel room service is not always the standard.
There are three simple rules for beating jet lag:
- If you’re traveling East Coast to West Coast, drink a red bull in the evening and fight your way to 10pm.
- If you’re traveling West Coast to East Coast, take a sleeping pill if you want to get more than 5 hours of sleep.
- Anything less than a 3-hour time change is not considered jet lag. Suck it up.
Checking a Bag
Even if you’re going international, if it’s only a few days you can carry it on. This saves you not only time, but in many instances, money as well. If you have to check a bag, keep essentials with you. This includes fresh undies.
Disclosing Your Return Itinerary
By not revealing your returning flight time, you leave meetings open for you to drive the agenda. If you feel the need to extend your time together, it shows your client that they are more important to you than a same-day airline change fee. Similarly, if you get through your agenda quicker than expected, announcing your flight time at the right moment makes everyone feel like the time together was utilized efficiently. No matter how much face time you have, make the most of every minute because it’s the most direct attention you will ever have.
This may sound counter intuitive, but I’m talking about seeing your clients outside of a business environment. Casual dinner or a planned activity is acceptable, but avoid at all costs ending up with your client at a strip club at 3am because you had too many Long Island Iced Teas. He may not end up as your client in the morning.
Airplanes and Hotels With No Wifi
Even if your client has a Wifi network for you to connect to, bring a hotspot. You never know how much bandwidth is available, and which employee is actually streaming Season 3 of The Wire instead of working, and slowing down the network.
The same goes for hotels. While most modern hotels for the savvy business traveler offer free wifi as a standard, quality and availability can vary.
Your boyfriend/girlfriend hates when you’re away and she’s convinced you were up to no good last night. You’re this close to getting a bigger budget, but your phone is blowing up. Keep your eye on the prize, leave the personal drama at home, and let those 100 desperate pleas for your attention go directly to voicemail.
Netflix/HBO Go: if you just started watching The Wire, you’ll be up all night hogging hotel Wifi bandwidth watching Omar rob drug dealers.
This goes for any TV series you are currently and/or planning on binge watching. Leave it alone for a few days and make sure you get rest and stay productive. A business trip can be one of the most productive times during your week because you are free of the distractions from your regular office environment and coworkers.
Don’t go off the grid, you’re not on vacation. Check in with your office, coworkers, and your boss. Crashing the wedding in the hotel ballroom not recommended.
Having No Agenda
Your trip should have a clearly structured purpose, otherwise you’re burning company cash for a meet and greet, and afternoons at the hotel bar. It also pays to show your client that you came prepared.
Do your homework and research nearby hotels, airports, and alternate transportation options. Uber doesn’t exist in every city.