[caption id="attachment_542" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Check the car boot for stowaways!"][/caption]
Travelling on business? Here are some top tips and guidance, based on my own experiences, to help you achieve more effective business travel.
Contact details and directions – know where you are going and have phone numbers in case you’re held up in traffic or at the airport. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security if your client arranges your travel - they may have to cancel their attendance at the meeting at the last minute!
Finances –take sufficient cash (including foreign currency if travelling abroad) to cover expenses such as taxi/airport transfers and refreshments. Even if your client has arranged cars, etc, make sure you are self-sufficient, just in case. Notify your business credit card company if you’re leaving the country so that you don’t have the embarrassment of your card being refused. Take an envelope or plastic wallet with you in which you can safely store your receipts.
Travel in comfort – when possible, travel in comfortable clothing with sensible shoes. There’s nothing worse than having to conduct a business meeting with a smile if you have blisters on your feet!
IT Support – whether you have a desktop computer or laptop in the office, consider having a laptop designated for travel only. Not only can this be a back-up to your main computer system, it means you only store the files you need for your time away. Take a USB stick containing your meeting information so you have back-up in case your laptop fails; use the same USB to download any materials you’re given during your time away. Don't forget a power cable, travel adaptor (if required) and web stick so you can keep in touch with your business and clients back home. Back-up your computer before you go away.
Recording devices - When writing meeting reports or attending conferences take photographs of presentations and posters to refer to later. A dictaphone will enable you to record meetings and ensure you don’t miss any essential detail.
Relaxation – take a book or your iPod, iPad or DVDs to play on your laptop for any freetime you may have e.g. in the evenings in a hotel. Take some comfortable clothes that you can change into to fully relax and switch off.
Networking - take a handful of business cards with you for potential networking opportunities, but do respect your client’s wishes if you’re working on behalf of an agency for a third party client.
Note: this article has been published in Medical Writing 2013; 22(2):158