15 Tips for Your Next Business Trip (Plus FAQ)

Updated December 8, 2022

A person checks the flight arrivals and departures board in an airport.

Depending on your company and industry, you may be asked to travel for work. And just like with any trip, it's important to prepare before you travel.

In this article, we share 15 tips to ensure your next business trip, whether domestic or international, is a successful one as far as travel in concerned, plus we answer some frequently asked questions about traveling for your business.

Definition: A business trip is travel done for work or a business purpose, such as a trip to a conference to represent your company.

10 tips for a domestic business trip

Here are 10 tips that can help make your next domestic trip a success:

1. Pack the essentials

Be sure to bring enough clothes to cover your entire trip and to pack items that are both comfortable and appropriate for the event(s) you're attending. Bring clothes/outfits that match the dress code or company culture, or the country if you’re traveling abroad. Though you may travel primarily for work reasons, you might spend some time outside of the office during your stay as well so you may want to pack items or clothing for specific activities, like:

  • Travel clothing

  • Comfortable footwear

  • An outfit to exercise in

  • Formal clothing for a special dinner or event

Aside from your clothing and toiletries, remember to pack your electronic devices and any chargers or adapters you might need.

Related: Dress Codes for All Business Occasions

2. Check the local weather

Regardless of the time of year, it's always prudent to check the forecast before you leave on a business trip so you can pack appropriately and plan for inclement weather that could affect your travel plans. Consider packing layers with unexpected weather patterns in mind. That way, if the weather fluctuates, you can adjust your outfit to be most comfortable at all times. Some other items you may need to pack include:

  • An umbrella

  • Waterproof or rain boots

  • Gloves

  • Thick socks

  • Breathable/light clothing

  • Sunscreen

Read more: What To Take on a Work Trip

3. Make travel arrangements in advance

Whether you’re traveling for your business trip by air, boat, car or rail, you should make your reservations well in advance. This ensures you’ll lock in the best pricing but also gives you top picks as to your accommodations. Being able to stay at a hotel that’s within walking distance to your meeting or conference is reason enough to make those reservations early.

Related: 10 Tips To Help You Network Like a Pro

4. Load important addresses into your phone

You can ensure you have the correct information by saving the important addresses into your phone's GPS before you reach your destination. This small step could help you make it to the right destination on time.

Related: 12 Reasons Why It's Important To Be on Time for Work

5. Plan your hotel check-in

Some hotels will allow for earlier check-ins, but most require guests to arrive after 2 p.m. If you have an overnight or an early flight, book your hotel for the night before you arrive. That way, when you reach your hotel, you can check in right away and rest.

Related: T and E Meaning: Definition and Examples 

6. Create an itinerary

An itinerary allows you to anticipate every aspect of your business trip. If you're traveling with a group, it can also be useful to create a cloud-based itinerary that can then be shared with your colleagues.

Travel delays and meeting cancellations happen, so it’s important to start your trip with a positive attitude and a flexible schedule. The more you can learn about your destination, the easier it’ll be to reschedule meetings or find a new hotel if the need arises.

Related: What To Include on a Business Trip Packing List

7. Prepare for your meeting or event

For your business trip, you may be giving a presentation or attending a conference or training, securing a sales contract with a client or reaching another important business goal. To ensure your plan goes according to expectations, be sure to research key details, such as:

  • People you’re meeting with

  • Places you’re visiting

  • The dress code

  • Special considerations about the meeting place, such as protective gear for a construction site

  • The equipment you’ll need if you’re giving a presentation

Related: How To Write a Meeting Agenda: Tips, Template and Sample

8. Print materials ahead of time

It's a good idea to have all of your materials printed, or at least have a plan in place for finding a printer before you arrive. Consider using cloud-based storage for documents that may need to be updated while you travel. Each of these options helps to ensure you're prepared with any documents you may need to give those you're meeting with or have on hand hard copies of important notes.

Related: 26 Business Etiquette Tips (And How To Improve Yours)

9. Track your purchases

When traveling for work, you may use a company card to cover your travel expenses, or your company may ask you to pay for items yourself and track your spending so that you can invoice them and get reimbursed when you return. It's important to keep track of everything you buy and keep all of your receipts. It's also important to take pictures of your receipts (or scan them using a third-party app) so that, if you lose one, you can ensure you get fully reimbursed afterward.

Related: Mileage Reimbursement: Definition, Examples and Tracking Tips

10. Get enough sleep

You’re taking a trip for work, so it's important you remain alert, focused and professional. If you can, plan your meetings for a time after you have had a chance to rest. This is especially important if you’re traveling internationally, experiencing a significant time change or traveling overnight. If you do have to attend a meeting directly after you land, it's helpful to pack earplugs or headphones, an eye mask and a neck pillow to ensure you're able to rest during the flight.

Related: How To Calculate per Diem for a Business Trip

5 more tips for a business trip abroad

In addition to the above advice for business travel, the following five tips will help you prepare for an international business trip:

1. Secure an international phone plan

Make sure you’re aware of the restrictions and/or roaming charges of your phone and data plan before a business trip so that you can make sure you can keep your phone bill manageable and affordable while you’re away. You can usually use your current phone with an additional international fee from your cell phone carrier, or you could rely on Wi-Fi-based communication during international business travels.

Related: Working Abroad: Ways To Find a Job and Work Internationally

2. Study the visa requirements

When traveling internationally for work, some countries require you have a work visa so that you can conduct business while visiting. When you arrive in a new country, you must go through customs at the airport, where you’ll be asked to present the proper documentation before they allow you entry.

Each country has its own rules and regulations, so it's extremely important you check the visa requirements for the country you’re flying to—as well as any place you’re flying through—so you can prepare any of the necessary paperwork ahead of time.

Related: 16 Tips for Working Abroad

3. Learn basic language skills

When traveling to another country, it's a good idea to study basic phrases in the native language and common slang words so that you can communicate with the locals, find assistance and conduct yourself appropriately. Some of the common phrases that can help you in basic situations include:

  • Where is the bathroom?

  • Do you speak English?

  • I don't speak [language].

  • Can you help me?

  • Hello!

  • Goodbye.

  • Please.

  • Thank you.

  • Excuse me.

Related: 15 Career Opportunities If You Know a Foreign Language

4. Become familiar with local customs

Every country has its own customs, as well as a set of acceptable or polite behaviors. Before traveling abroad for business, look up the local etiquette, important customs that you should participate in and things to avoid during your stay. For example, in some cultures, it's customary to bring a gift to a new client meeting.

Related: Intercultural Skills: Definition and Examples

5. Stow your passport away (and make copies)

To avoid losing or misplacing your passport, it's a good idea to keep your passport and any other valuables safely in your hotel room during your trip. Some other items you should keep secure are:

  • Valuable jewelry

  • Spare cash

  • Extra credit cards

  • Electronic devices

Related: What Should an Employee Relocation Package Include?

Frequently asked questions

What are some common reasons people take business trips?

A business trip is any amount of travel where you represent your company. Depending on the trip and its purpose, you could travel to the next county or the next continent.

There are several reasons why you might be asked to travel for work. Here are a few of the most common reasons for a business trip:

  • Conferences

  • Sales meetings

  • Client trips

  • Company retreats

Related: The Value of Increasing Your Business Vocabulary

Why is preparing for a business trip so important?

Preparing for your business trip allows you to travel safely, make a great impression on your colleagues and helps you accomplish the goals of your trip. By having all the necessary work tools at hand means, you can easily accommodate any unexpected tasks that may arise during your trip, such as client requests for information.

Why should you schedule time to relax (if possible)?

Work may be your focus on a business trip, but you need to find time to relax, too. Consider visiting a spa during your stay or ask if the hotel has an exercise room.

Giving yourself extra time to have a little fun is also advisable. Even if you can only stay for one extra day, having a chance to see the sights and to decompress before heading home will make a big difference. Just keep in mind that you will likely need to cover the costs for this added day without reimbursement from the company.


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