Business trips - basic field manual
- What is important when you plan a trip?
- Apps are your friend
- Data roaming can be a killer
- Some more tips
A business trip is a trip undertaken for work or business purposes, as opposed to other types of travel, such as for leisure purposes or regularly commuting between one’s home and workplace.1
Travelling is most stressful, especially for business travellers. Sometimes travellers have habits that include an unhealthy diet, lack of regular exercise and taking part in unhealthy vices. Let be honest your boss during your flight can make you more trouble, then delayed or bag, trust me he can …
But most of the cases, when you are well prepared for a trip that will be a nice and relax adventure.
Last year especially the last 3 months was the time that I travel a lot. Mostly in Europe. Some nice places and countries, not for a vacation but to work on-site for some specific clients of my client’s. Hard to imagine? Not at all! In the last year, I made more than 7300 miles … That’s enough for three months.
In previous years, I travelled to South Korea, Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, France, Russia, Ukraine and few others countries. All of the travels were successful, without stress, some fuckups in the middle? Of course not. Apart from the same trip, the customer for whom you’re working can be very difficult to work with.
Last year taught me a lot. Especially working with business, requirements, implementation and analysis. Of course, there is a whole bunch of other problems that arise after the path, which you can not predict, but you have to solve them. This whole process can teach first of all humbleness, patience, the enormous amount of patience, and also the fact that you never know everything.
What is important when you plan a trip?
Plan ahead to save time and money. The plan has as many details as possible. But sometimes you are in a hurry and there is no time for the proper checklist. What is the most important: don’t lose your head. Especially your head…
Take thing’s that you need. Avoid weighing your bag down with extra garments and ensure that I have appropriate attire for each meeting and event. Don’t waste your time at the baggage carousel or risk the airline misplacing your bag. In most cases, a small bag as hand luggage is sufficient.
Get a good night’s sleep, or if you are afraid that you are sleeping on a morning flight, do not sleep at all. Probably it will require a large amount of coffee or water, and you fall asleep within an hour of arriving in the room at we hotel, but it will pass the exam.
Order a TAXI about 24 hours before your flight if you can. Find some local TAXI company in an area where are you staying. In most cases, you can simply ask somebody in a hotel or your coworker or local people. If you are in a country where UBER is, you can use it but remember sometimes you must wait about minutes.
Take your PASSPORT and TICKET.
While transiting always choose the queue next to an empty lane/place. If officers are added, you can quickly shift queues. Likewise, being on the end (last line between foreigners queue and citizens queue or the diplomat queue). These queues tend to move faster because in some places officers call people from the adjacent queue.
Airport security is annoying as hell. NEVER book an international connection in less than one hour. In 99 times from 100, you will need to clear security again if transiting. I was stopped several times for a recheck. Sometimes is funny but when you are in a hurry trying not to miss the next flight it can be stressful. Of course, you are not alone in the line, and some people are not so quick as you, they simply can’t because of age, illness or laziness.
Apps are your friend
On the right site, you can see the screen from
Miles & More mobile application which allows me to track the status of my total miles travelled in one year. At the begging of the next year status miles are deleted and users start the whole game from the begging. Of course, there are some stages that change, the higher the faster you can get a frequent flyer title.
Google Maps is a second needed application that is a must. Even when you don’t have access to internet, any you know about it before, you can download plan of the city and use it in offline mode. It’s really helps.
Google Translate I think that I don’t need to present this application. But English is a language that you must to know even very little to be able to communicate. German and Russian they are not difficult to learn. It all depends on which country you are going to.
English is the lingua franca2 of business in the developed world (at least major companies). Learning a few words of the local language never harmed anyone.
CamCard is application to store and manage business cards. I tested only free version, premium cost about 4$ so is not very expensive. There is also some others mobile apps like:
ScanBizCards. For a moment I thought that in the apple wallet it possible to add my business cards, but:
Is it possible to add my business cards to wallet? I think it would be cool to have virtual copies so I don’t have to carry them around. It would also make it easier to share them, if I could virtually share them too.3
FILO provides maps and others information for more then 3,000 airports, also tracks the flights arrival and departures. Can also find official Wi-Fi connection.
UBER if you haven’t got a car booked and want to skip the taxi line, download Uber and catch a ride wherever you are. The charges go straight onto your card, so you don’t need to worry about carrying cash, in most cases it’s cheaper then TAXI.
TripAdvisor probably I do not need to introduce this application.
And the most important:
VPN. Never, ever use open networks at the airport or hotel, which is really easy to access without running VPN. Otherwise, you can hear about the fact that someone on Amazon made a payment with your card, and the delivery address is in the country that you hear for the first time. More abut VPN here.
Data roaming can be a killer
Find out if your phone company has a roaming plan before you leave or buy a local sim (not possible in some places). Before travelling to a new country always check what is the cost of contacting you for your native country. The last time the cost of reaching my phone number was about 5.0 PLN per minute.
In some countries, SIM prepaid cards can be found in some regular shops, small shops, stands or in large local networks.
Some more tips
Pay attention to the condition of your passport. Passport books are not really built to last through being opened and closed several times per day, every day, for weeks at a time. In some types of jobs in some countries, however, presenting your government-issued ID to get past security checkpoints is something you have to do several times per day.
Back up your computer system and phone. Remove all personal information from your computer, use disk encryption. This one is also good for day to day basis.
Jet lag4 can be minimized by staying awake until it is dark outside.
Monitor the weather forecasts during the days leading up to your trip - not just for your departing city, but for your destination and any cities where your flights stop.
During preparing for international travel exchange some money before you leave. This has rescued me on a number of occasions when ATM was down. Spend most of your money by credit card. This will again help you pile up enough points for redemption, and would also help you track your expenses.
Don’t be shy. No one knows it all. Don’t be shy to ask for help and directions. Even if you are an experienced traveller, you cannot be shy about asking. You can learn more from spending an hour in a local market than reading 100 guidebooks just asking and talking to local people. In most cases, they will be very helpful.
The last photo that I added to this post is a collection of most of my boarding passes during 3 months in last year.
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Also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, vehicular language, or link language is a language or dialect systematically used to make communication possible between people who do not share a native language or dialect, particularly when it is a third language that is distinct from both native languages. ↩
HT204003: Use Wallet on your iPhone or iPod touch.With Wallet, you can keep your credit, debit, and prepaid cards, store cards, boarding passes, movie tickets, coupons, rewards cards, and more in one place. ↩
A physiological condition that results from alterations to the body’s circadian rhythms resulting from rapid long-distance trans-meridian (east-west or west-east) travel. ↩