People often think that I’m always on vacation and living a glamorous life. But travelling for pure pleasure or going on a vacation has a big difference when compared to travelling for work reasons such as sourcing the latest outdoor furniture trends or a business trip. There’s always a schedule to follow, a meeting to attend , an event to go to, that’s what travelling for business is and definitely less spontaneous. To travel for pleasure may allow someone to take his time to get over jet lag and not to bother with a dress code, someone that travel for business doesn’t have the same luxury.
Through my experiences, I learned a few simple tips help me to be better prepared for business trips. So, I decided to write them down.
Keep your passport and other travel documents in order
This is easier said than done. There was a time when my passport had almost run out of clean pages. It almost got me stuck at the border between Cambodia and Vietnam. Checking your passport and other travel documents before travelling is a must. If a visa is needed, give yourself plenty of time to apply for it, for it can’t be avoided that some embassies may be slow in processing your application, or just getting a visa maybe a bit tricky.
Always Have Good Travel Insurance
Getting sick while travelling is the last thing I wish for, even less so while on a business trip. It can’t be avoided not to happen, and it surely happened many times. Once, I ate a bad taco while in Mexico, and ended up with a major stomach infection. Luckily I have a good travel insurance which I could count on anytime. I was able to get medical assistance and got back on my feet fast. Whenever I travel, I make sure to pack a small pharmacy with me. Prescription medicines as well as other drugs like Paracetamol and Imodium are among the medicines I bring along with me.
Join a few frequent fliers program
Way back in 1998, a friend of mine gave me one of the best travel tips I ever got. He recommended that I join Alitalia Millemiglia Program. It’s a program wherein each time I’d fly, I’d be awarded with some miles, and as soon as I’d reach a certain number of miles, I could get a free plane ticket out of it.
By using these rewards, I was able to fly for free to Romania and Cuba. As of now , I am about to spend the many miles I was able to accumulate in my travels for the past years and use them to fly to the other side of the world (location to be revealed soon). If you find that you are flying a lot especially for business, for example interior design, then it would be a good idea to get on board, as it is little to no cost and the benefits are very high and rewarding.
Get a good place to stay
Anybody who travels for business reasons, need his rest and a sound sleep, especially if he had a long day and have a packed schedule the following morning. As for me, I really don’t mind staying in the hostel dorms, but I avoid them whenever I am in a business trip. I don’t plan to fight my way to sleep through someone’s snoring and there’s always bound to be a loud snorer in a dorm. I had experienced this in my hostel in Tel Aviv wherein it was so bad that not even ear plugs helped to block the noise.
When travelling for business, it is best to get a serviced apartment, especially when the business trip is longer than a couple of weeks. An apartment is much better than a hotel room since it is more spacious and feels homey, and it made one more comfortable while away from home. It comes with all the amenities such as a comfortable bed, a spacious bathroom, a cozy couch and a TV, a fully equipped kitchen, and even a washing machine and even a drier.
Singapore which is one of the world leading business destinations, has Metro Residences which offer a great selection of serviced apartments. A lot of them have access to a pool – which is great – for I myself can get my workout at the end of the day – while others are even pet friendly.
Make sure to have a working wifi
When I get disconnected from internet, I feel like I’m losing good business opportunities. Once while in Nepal, the wi-fi at my hotel was not working. I had no choice but to rely on a local coffee shop for a decent connection.
To ensure that you are always online, the best for you to do is to carry a portable wireless device, such as Tep Wireless, as it connects up to 5 devices at once. You can avoid the hassle of looking for a place with a decent wi-fi and of getting a local SIM card. This allows your commercial interior design business to continue thriving no matter where you are in the world.
There’s a big difference when packing for a business trip and packing for a holiday. Interior stylists love to express their style with their clothes, which means packing becomes a bit of a struggle. Dressing smartly is an unspoken rule for any business meetings. Whenever I travel, I make sure that I pack a pair of smart pants and a skirt, a couple of dressy tops and nice shoes that I can wear at events and parties To keep things in order inside the suitcase, and to minimize the risk of creasing, I use packing cubes.
It is also advisable to pack a spare change of clothes in the carry on luggage. In case the checked in bag gets lost and until it is delivered, you still have something clean to wear.
Eat healthy and keep hydrated
Lots of great food and lots of alcohol are common at the end of conferences, business meetings and events. But these aren’t necessarily good. Eating food that is too rich and too different from what I am accustomed to may cause sleeping problems. The same goes with alcohol. Research shows that alcohol has an effect on sleeping patterns. Not getting enough sleep can affect my productivity.
Just like anybody, I also like to try new and good food but when on a business trip I try to eat as healthy as possible; and for me to stay hydrated – I drink lots of water.