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How to Prepare for a Business Trip

Your business may take you all over the city, country, or world. If you travel for business on a regular basis, you eventually learn what all good travelers learn: On the road, being self-reliant and having a routine are essential. Business travel doesn't have to be drudgery, and although some stress is inevitable, it doesn't have to make you miserable. Get used to preparing for your business trips using these tips:

  • Make travel and accommodation arrangements. Car rentals, airline tickets, train reservations, and hotel rooms don’t get any cheaper the longer you wait, and they don’t become more available. When you’re planning the dates of a business trip, either nationally or internationally, consider religious and local holidays because businesses and restaurants could be closed.

  • Put together an itinerary. In this itinerary, list flight information; ground-transportation information; the hotel name, address, telephone number, and reservation number; meeting times and places — with telephone numbers, if possible; host names, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail addresses; meal arrangements; and scheduled entertainment.

  • Make sure someone knows your trip plan. Give a copy of your itinerary to your assistant or an employee, and give another copy to a friend or relative. If something goes wrong, and you don’t arrive back when you say you will, someone will be able to initiate a search with accurate information about you.

  • Get your documents in order. No matter where you go, take identification that allows you to drive. If you are a frequent overseas traveler, consider getting an international driver’s license; it’s quick and easy to obtain from the U.S. Department of State. If you’re traveling out of the country, double-check the expiration date on your passport. For passport info, turn to the U.S. Postal Service.

  • Have the right currency on a business trip. If you’re taking a business trip overseas, be sure to stop in at your bank ahead of time and get enough currency from your destination country to pay for small expenses before you get a chance to go to a hotel’s or bank’s exchange window. Also, ask your bank or host whether your ATM card is going to work for getting your destination currency at the hotel where you’ll be staying or at a nearby bank.

  • Pack only what you need. Leave everything else at home. You have to take your laptop, cell phone, reports, contracts, brochures, clothes, and shaving kit or cosmetic bag. Don’t forget your medication and your lens prescriptions if you wear glasses or contact lenses. Take a credit card with an open balance and cash if you’ll be in a rural area. You may also want to bring traveler’s checks.

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