Have you ever heard the buzzword “bleisure?” This word combines “business” with “leisure” to describe what many corporate travelers love to do—and in recent years, the bleisure traveler has been on the rise.
Whether they’re heading to a destination across the country or around the globe, most people love getting to experience a new environment. This is even true when meetings abound!
If you’re just starting to prepare for a trip, it’s important to make sure you’re ready to tackle your work responsibilities and to give yourself some well-deserved downtime. But how do you prepare in a way that strikes a balance between the two? If this struggle sounds familiar, here are the steps you should take.
Make an Itinerary
Once you know you’ll be traveling, one of the best ways to prepare for a work trip is to create a detailed itinerary. This document can help you plan your time on location, and it can capture everything from your meeting times to your hotel address. It’s also a useful tool to leave behind with colleagues in case someone needs to get hold of you during your trip.
Where possible, make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to get from one place to another, and give yourself a little extra room in the schedule for long meetings, traffic, and other delays. Don’t forget about downtime to relax, rest, and enjoy the sights!
Make Your Travel Arrangements
After you have a solid understanding of when and where you’ll need to be, it’s time to book your travel arrangements.
Even though your name will be on the travel documents, it’s important to remember that you’re traveling in connection with your company. This means familiarizing yourself with your company’s corporate travel policy, especially if you want to avoid any unapproved expenses. Check the details on the recommended booking tools and services, your insurance coverage, and your spending limits.
Next, book your accommodations. Many experts recommend booking as early as possible, provided you haven’t agreed to a nonrefundable deal. Keep your options open, and make sure to check for last-minute deals as your travel dates approach.
Don’t forget to consider non-traditional accommodations. Corporate lodging, for example, can be a great way for business travelers to find both short-term and long-term housing at an affordable price.
As for airfare, you should try to book 70 days before departure for the best price. However, if you’re leery of booking so far in advance, booking at least three weeks out can help you avoid last-minute price hikes.
Prepare Your Travel Documents
Far in advance of your trip, you should make sure to have your travel documents ready to go.
This is especially true if you’ll need to get a new passport or renew an expiring one. Check the dates on all of your personal IDs, and make a plan to keep them with you on the go.
When traveling to an international destination, you’ll also need to research whether you’ll need a business visa for your trip. If this is the case, you’ll have to start the paperwork as soon as possible, as most visas will take anywhere from three weeks to three months to process.
Research Your Destination
Whether you’re traveling to a domestic or international destination, it pays to have a good understanding of the place you’ll be staying. If you’ve never traveled to this location before, you’ll need to pay special attention to the details.
Is your destination prone to crime or pickpockets? If so, you’ll want to consider your transportation options with care, taking precautions to protect yourself and your belongings.
Does the country you’re traveling to have different customs than your own? If so, research the basics of business etiquette in the country, and memorize a few common phrases in the language.
From the etiquette on business cards to shaking hands, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into. Do your homework to avoid letting little mistakes ruin the first impression you want to make!
Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to travel light. Taking only carry-on luggage can save you valuable time in the airport, and it demands less packing time on the front end. Of course, you’ll have to get familiar with what you can bring in a carry-on!
To make sure everything fits, try rolling wrinkle-resistant clothes where possible. Place your liquid products and toiletries in clear plastic bags for easy recognition.
Use your itinerary to understand how many complete business outfits you’ll need, and whether you’ll need to pack anything dressier for formal events.
Don’t forget your personal bag as well. For many business travelers, a suitcase is a must on a work trip!
Last, of course, is to save space for non-business attire. When you’re finished with your meetings and have time to go out and explore, the last thing you’ll want to do is walk around in a stuffy business suit.
Perform Last-Minute Preparation
As your trip gets closer, make plans to stay connected when you’re traveling. Consider who might need the details of your trip, and leave your itinerary with anyone who needs it.
Depending on where you’re headed, you may also want to set up a personal hotspot. This can help eliminate roaming charges, making you less dependent on public Wi-Fi networks.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on news and social media sources in the destination you’re visiting. This can help you keep on top of everything from the political climate to local events. It can also help you find restaurants and places to visit during your downtime!
Prepare for a Trip With These Key Tips
With these trip planning tips, you’ll be better equipped to prepare and pack for a trip that combines both business and fun. Make sure to keep all of these ideas in mind as you create your itinerary and move forward with your journey. Though it can be hard to prepare for a trip for business, you may find that this guide helps you do so without sacrificing pleasure as well!
Want more essential tips like these? Check out our other posts for additional insights!