It seems like a lifetime ago when my boss sent me on my
first business trip. It was 1989! There were no cell phones, or email accounts
to use back then, when you went on a trip, you were truly “on your own.” Fortunately, my first trip was to a computer
graphics conference and symposium. Since
it was my first trip, I was extremely self conscious about the company’s money,
etc, and I attended as many breakout sessions and mini-classes as possible. How does that song go? “Had I known now what I didn’t know then?”
Oh well, that’s a different story. This week, I’d like to break down the three
main components of any business trip, and how I deal with them. The trick is to keep them enjoyable so that
you don’t “burn out” on the whole traveling experience. You want to simplify things wherever you can. So, I’ve broken the business trip down into
the baby-steps you need to do so that you can successfully accomplish it and so
that your boss won’t hesitate to send you on to your next one.
As soon as possible after you are assigned the trip, book
the travel for it. The more quickly you
book the trip, the cheaper your tickets and hotel rates will be. My advice is to get some help from a
traveling co-worker who knows how to use the corporate tools to make
reservations and to buy tickets etc.
You’ll want to focus on direct flights where possible, or on flights
with generous connection times. Failing
to make your destination on time for your first trip leaves less than a
favorable impression! You’ll also want
to ask your helper if he/she has been to this destination before, what hotels
are close to the work place, and what transportation is required to get you
there. Avoid a rental car if possible;
it’s just another thing to worry about and to deal with. Use hotel shuttles and public transportation
when you can, they may not be as “nice” but they’re nearly 100% reliable.
Try to book the first flight out to your destination on a
given day. It’s better to arrive early
than to have the last flight out cancelled, thus forcing you in a day later
than planned. For the same reason,
you’ll want to book the last flight of the day back home. This gives you the flexibility to stay later
if your trip runs long, and you can always fly standby on an earlier flight if
you get lucky and finish your work early.
Book the right hotel and consider one with an excellent
travel award system. It’s worth it to
walk an extra mile and to stay in a Marriott or Hilton hotel than it is to save
a wee bit of cash on a local hotel/motel that is closer. When you’re on a beach in Hawaii in a year,
spending nothing more than your hotel points, you’ll be sending me a note of “Thanks!”
you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc,
please call 1-877-49-EXPERT. Your
questions will be recorded and sent to him.
Many of Ken’s blogs come from your questions and observations, so don’t
hesitate to ask!