Gearing up for a big business trip can be stressful.
Between scurrying to figure out a proper business travel packing list to securing any last-minute bleisure plans, it can be tough to make sure that everything on your trip will go as smoothly as you’d like it to.
To help you identify some potential business trip mishaps, we’ve compiled a list of common mistakes that you should avoid when traveling for work.
8 business trip mistakes to avoid
These trip mistakes are all too common in the world of business travel. With this list, you’ll know what to avoid on your upcoming business trips and why you should take caution to steer clear of these common business travel mistakes.
Not giving yourself enough time
The most clear requirement of any meeting with any client, whether it’s on the road or in your own office, is that you’re on time. If you try to schedule the shortest trip possible and risk being late for a meeting with a client because you’re in a rush from the airport, you’re risking the entire trip being a failure in the first place. In that same wavelength, if you book a ticket home close to the end of a scheduled meeting, you risk having to cut a meeting short or miss a flight and deal with the hassle of rebooking.
Your goal for any business trip should be to operate at the same level of peak efficiency and performance that you do in your own office. To accomplish this goal, make sure that you give yourself enough time to be on time and mentally prepared for your business obligations. Keep this necessity of your trip in mind when booking to ensure you’ll have enough time.
Spending outside your company policy
A careless mistake many travelers make is spending money on a trip that is outside their company’s travel policy. Booking travel outside your company’s policy can be due to not checking with your manager to see what your budget is when booking a trip or simply forgetting the booking policy that you need to follow.
Spending money on travel beyond what your company allows could have unintended consequences you won’t want to face. Sometimes, you won't find out you even did anything wrong until your expenses are not approved on your company's expense management software. Always be sure to double-check your company’s travel policy before booking, and if you have any questions, ask your manager or anyone who helps manage your company’s travel to ensure that you are booking something within policy.
There are no two ways about it. Business travel is a grind. If you have one of these jobs that require travel and are on the road for the majority of business weeks in a year, this time away from home can build up in a hurry and burn you out. If planning your business travel schedule months in advance, avoid having an endless string of trips packed week after week if possible.
If you feel like you can’t operate at the same level of business performance and acumen as normal because you are traveling too much, make sure you have time during the year when you’re not on the road. As important as it is to meet with clients, promote your company’s brand, and meet other business obligations that come with traveling for work, it’s just as important to make sure you’re maintaining a lifestyle that isn’t burning you out.
It’s easy to only think about the business obligations you’ll be partaking in when packing for a business trip, but don’t forget about the time you’ll spend in transit and away from your meeting or conference site. Will you have a long walk from your hotel to your business site? What will the climate be like? Are you planning to try to fit in a workout or two during your time away? These are all questions you should be considering when making your business travel packing list.
Under-packing will leave you needing to spend money you didn’t plan on shelling out over the course of your trip to simply cover your clothing needs until you return home. Be sure to bring enough clothes to get you through not only your business obligations, but all of your travel and leisure time as well.
Not getting enough sleep
You need to be at your peak performance level and energy while on the road for business. Too many business travelers fall victim to not getting enough sleep both before and during their trips.
Try to have a set plan going into a trip of how much sleep you should be getting, and try to follow that plan to make sure you aren’t thrown off of the usual rhythm that allows you to perform well at work.
Getting out of a routine
Think about what brings you success in your day-to-day responsibilities in your home office. When tasked with important business obligations, it’s important that you stay within the types of routines that bring you success. Everyone is a bit thrown off their normal routine when they travel, however, when traveling for business, the obligation you have to your company to be at a level of peak performance necessitates staying on the routine that can make this possible.
Getting out of your normal work routine can throw off your energy levels at work. When you’re on the road and are a traveling face for your company, you’ll want every impression you make to be a good one. Make sure you stay on a routine that helps you achieve positive, energized interactions with clients.
Failing to plan a functional itinerary
Planning an itinerary that gives you enough time for your business obligations is necessary for any business trip. If you want to ensure that you’ll be comfortable with time and have a schedule to follow, you’ll want to plan this itinerary well in advance of your trip.
Planning a functional itinerary can mean scheduling meals, workouts, hours of sleep, and travel time to and from your destination. The more you prepare with a detailed itinerary, the fewer worries and frustrations you’ll have once you arrive at your destination. And with fewer logistical worries, you can focus on your business obligations.
Not taking advantage of potential bleisure
While this won’t affect your business responsibilities and performance at your meetings or conference, always look out for the opportunity to take advantage of bleisure travel when you feel it is appropriate and you have the time.
Work should always be your primary obligation on business trips. But, if you do find yourself with a weekend before or after a trip to a warm climate, new city, or area where you can surprise an old friend, don’t be afraid to raise the possibility of bleisure to your manager. You’ll never regret taking some personal time to enhance your business travel experience.
Ready for business trip success?
These eight business trip mistakes are all too common in a business travel economy that thrives on the notion of the efficient, fast-paced business trip. Take a step back and think about what brings you to your best work when you’re not on the road, and try to mirror that type of consistency when traveling. The better you prepare for business travel, the more likely you are to achieve your desired performance and outcomes on a trip.