- Dress to impress– On work trips, you become a public-facing representative of your company, so you’ll want to look your best. Use your hotel room’s iron as you unpack clothes. Since you can’t iron a suit, try hanging it on your bathroom door with the shower blasting full heat for no more than ten to fifteen minutes. The steam should help with wrinkles.
- Select clothes carefully– I began this trip by laying all of my clothes out on my bed, only to find a stain on one of my shirts. Check and re-check your clothes while packing, and bring as many spares as your suitcase can accommodate.
- Research your destination transportation options– Upon arriving at the Des Moines airport, I realized I had no plans to get to my hotel. Thankfully, my hotel’s shuttle was clearly marked and waiting. If you’re unsure of your hotel’s transportation accommodations, call ahead and ask.
- Keep your receipts– Know how your company’s reimbursement process works. Ask questions about what they are willing to pay for. Hotel rooms and airfare are pricey, so be sure whoever makes the arrangements pays these in advance.
- Don’t forget your room key– There is nothing worse than feeling empty pockets while your hotel room door closes behind you. Keep a room key in your wallet or bag, and leave it in your field of vision near the door. Request two keys so there is an emergency backup.
- Know your hotel area– Almost anything you could need will be in your hotel, but the convenience tends to be costly. Research the area immediately surrounding your lodgings for cheaper food, souvenirs, and entertainment.
- Balance work and fun– Work comes first on work trips, but you can use free time to explore and unwind. You’re in a new and likely unfamiliar place. Enjoy it (in moderation). Ask your hotel concierge about the sights, and plan some personal time.
- Take care of your health– I can’t seem to get on a plane without catching a head cold. Whether it’s the lack of sleep on early flights, climate acclimation, or nutrient-deficient breakfast buffets, I almost always arrive home with a sore throat and stuffy nose. Traveling wreaks havoc on your body, so remember to sleep, hydrate, eat healthy (at least once a day), and wash your hands often. Self-neglect can impede the productivity and enjoyment of your trip.
I realize I still have a lot to learn about traveling. If you’ve traveled for work and have advice, please let me know in the comment section below.