Planning any trip can be overwhelming. Planning a business trip often requires much more attention to detail. You’re not only worried about your own personal health and safety. You also need to consider how to stay efficient and reach your goals. I was recently sent overseas to the UK by my company and learned some valuable lessons while there.
Having an itinerary from my company was helpful, because I didn’t have to worry about booking travel, lodging, or meetings. It did not tell me much about my current location, how much things would cost, or places to avoid. Make sure you research things like the neighborhoods you’ll be visiting. Check out maps of the areas you’ll be traveling. Research potential pitfalls. Many people make a living by preying on travelers and tourists. Being unfamiliar with travel advisories can be detrimental. Cab drivers that take you all over the city to get you somewhere a few blocks away can be avoided by simply having your bearings and knowing where you’re going.
Leave Plenty of Time
I had a few days where I was on a tight schedule, which only added to my anxiety and disorientation. If you can build some extra time into your schedule, do it. This can help compensate for jet-lag, being off your normal meal-times, and save you from the stress of rushing between appointments. Finding yourself somewhere a few minutes early is always better than running late. Rushing to catch a train or a flight can lead to costly mistakes. I once found myself ravenously hungry during a 3:30 business meeting due to the change in my eating schedule, which altered my mood and ability to focus, and the meeting did not go well. If I’d had the time, I could have grabbed a quick bite before the appointment.
Stay in Touch
I made a point to check in with both work and personal contacts several times a day. Just sending a quick email letting someone know where you plan to be and what time they can expect to hear from you again is important to staying safe. If they don’t hear from you, they can check in with your hotel, see if you made it to a meeting, or if you made your next flight. A mishap may occur while traveling. Staying in touch ensures that the proper authorities can be contacted quickly to try to locate you. If no one realizes anything is wrong, it can delay any efforts on your behalf.
Some of my biggest concerns were, oddly enough, digital. Connectivity and electronics are supposed to make things much easier. Using the Wi-Fi at a hotel can leave you exposed. If you’re handling proprietary company data, you should probably make sure that you’re using a secure VPN, especially if there are others present who may have an interest in that information.
Make sure that you let your bank know you’re going to be out of the country BEFORE you leave, as I had one of my cards declined when the bank turned it off when it began being used in another country. I was able to get it reinstated quickly with a few phone calls, but it could have been disastrous. Be sure to get a bit of local cash on hand when traveling, in case of emergency or other financial problems. Make sure someone at home has access to money that they can wire to you if necessary.
I made a point to charge my phone anytime I could get the chance. I also checked into emergency services and updated my phone to dial 999, so I wouldn’t be fumbling around trying to look up the right number to call if something did happen. Keep a card with emergency contact information as well as where you are staying in your wallet, and keep your wallet and other personal property secure at all times.
The most important thing you can do is to be aware of your surroundings and to not let yourself get too rushed. Following these tips will help to ensure a safe and productive trip to the UK.
About the Author:
Sarah Kearns is a hardworking mother of three daughters. She is cooperating with BizDb.co.nz an online resource with information about businesses in New Zealand. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living.