If you’re travelling abroad for work for the first time then it can be an experience which is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Whether you are travelling alone or with colleagues, your first business trip is definitely a landmark.
At Travelworx we are experts in business travel management, so here are some of our top tips for your first work trip:
It’s all in the planning…
As with most things in life, careful planning makes sure that everything goes smoothly. Check that you know the arrangements – make sure you know your flight timings and where you will be staying. If you will be collected from the airport, then will your driver be waiting outside or will they come into the terminal? No one will mind if you ask questions but if you arrive in a foreign airport and have no idea who is collecting you and where they will be waiting, then it could be an issue. Or what if your driver doesn’t turn up and you have no idea which business hotel you are booked into?
Always ask for the contact details of the person who has planned your trip, or who will be meeting you and make sure you can get hold of them 24/7 in case of emergency.
Check what’s included
All companies have different business travel regulations for their employees. Usually, these are set out in your company’s corporate travel policy. Make sure that you have checked all the details and you know what’s included. Is breakfast included in your business hotel booking? What happens if a client wants to join you for breakfast? What if you need to use the hotel’s laundry or dry-cleaning service. It’s best to check exactly what is included by your company and which corporate travel extras they expect you to pay for.
If you need to claim something back afterwards, what is the procedure for claiming? It’s much better to be safe than sorry, because you don’t want to check out from your business hotel and find yourself presented with a massive unexpected bill for extras which you thought were included.
If you are expected to pay yourself, then check whether you should be allocated a corporate debit or credit card with which to pay or whether you are expected to pay personally and claim back your expenses. If it is the latter, then do make sure you keep your business travel receipts and put in your claim as soon as possible after you get back so you’re not left out of pocket.
Most business trips only last for a few days, so in the majority of cases it is perfectly possible to travel with hand luggage only, avoiding lost luggage or long waits at the baggage carousel. Think about the clothes you will need, taking into account the weather in your destination and the events you will be expected to attend. Ask someone who has been before what the dress code is like in the place you are visiting. Will you be expected to wear a suit? Are there any particular cultural concerns you need to take into account? Will you be expected to go out to dinner to formal restaurants or take part in any special events whilst you are there? Once you have a clear idea of what is expected from you and your business trip itinerary, then you can make sure you only pack the minimum required.
Don’t forget the security regulations regarding liquids, if you are travelling with hand luggage only. It’s well worth investing in some small containers and decanting your favourite shampoo and other toiletries, making sure you have enough to last whilst you are away.
Check your travel documents
Before you travel, check to find out whether you need a visa for your destination. Make sure your passport is in date and bear in mind that many countries require a full 6 month’s validity after your return. Make sure you take copies of any important documents before you leave – store a picture of your passport and driving licence securely online in case you ever need them. At the same time, make sure that you print out copies of important travel documents and take them with you – it may be the age of the app, but if something happens to your phone, or you end up somewhere with no internet access, then you could be stuck if you don’t have hard copies of any important information.
Actually, the absolutely best advice we can give first-time business travellers is to make sure you work for a company which arranges its business travel through a reliable and experienced business travel management company such as Travelworx. Travelworx will make sure that you have full details of all your business travel arrangements before you leave. We can even help you to apply for any visas which you need for your trip. Whilst you are away, we provide a multilingual support service around the clock to make sure that we can deal with any last-minute problems. If there’s a last-minute cancellation or an unavoidable change to your plan, all you have to do is to contact our experienced team of business travel professionals and they will make all of the necessary corporate travel arrangements. Also, you won’t need to worry about payments or about collecting and keeping travel receipts. Travelworx provides full details of your itinerary in advance, handles all payments and then we simply send a fully itemised invoice to your company, so you don’t need to bother keeping receipts or waiting to claim back payments.
If your company hasn’t thought about working with a business travel management company then perhaps you should suggest that they do. It’s our top tip to make everyone’s life easier and remove all of the stress which young business travellers might feel when considering their first experience of international corporate travel.