business trip

Suppose you went on a business trip to an overseas destination. You wanted to pay at the restaurant with your credit card, but it was declined. You realized that you forgot to inform your bank about your international travel. Or, let’s just say you have an important meeting with a prospective client. But you catch a cold and fall sick during your business trip because you forgot to pack your thermals.

These mistakes can cost you and your company, and you may lose out on a good business deal. There are a lot of risks and unexpected situations that can occur on every trip. No matter how well you have planned and organized, you still tend to miss out on a few things that may appear trivial but might cause a significant impact. 

To carry out business trips smoothly, you must remember what to do and what not to do. Once you know them, you’ll be off to a great start and avoid any mistakes. 

Listed below are a few tips on what employees should not do on a business trip: 

1. Violating Your Company’s Travel Policy

A travel policy is a set of rules and guidelines pertaining to every aspect of business travel, be it booking, expense filing, safety protocols, etc. Hence, you must know your company’s travel policies before going on a business trip. 

If you are spending more than the limit mentioned by your company in the travel policy, you may not be eligible for reimbursement. Such mistakes often happen if you are unaware of the company’s travel policies or don’t go through them. 

You can opt for a travel management software tool that offers real-time policy visibility during bookings. Hence,  you book only policy-compliant travel options from a long list. 

2. Being Unaware of Business Travel Etiquettes

Whenever you travel to a different country, you must know the business etiquette of the location to avoid offending the clients and localities. For example: In Japan, people greet each other by bowing; in India, people fold their hands, and in the USA, they shake them.

Suppose you travel to a country where English is not the native language.  In that case, you can learn a few basic phrases in the local language, such as ‘Hello,’ ‘Nice to meet you,’ ‘Thank you,’ and ‘You’re welcome,’ which can make all the difference when making the first impression with the client. 

Additionally, you must know how to dress and present yourself in a client meeting, the appropriate drinking, and the dining manners.  In order to have long-lasting relationships with your clients, ensure you are well-versed in the etiquette of the country you visit.  

3. Getting Insufficient Sleep

During a business trip, your schedule is packed throughout the day. You have to attend multiple meetings or business conferences, meet new people from the industry, and go for lunch/dinner with clients. Therefore, you must get enough rest before and during the business trip to remain fresh and active. 

Insufficient sleep can have severe consequences on the mind and the body. Nausea, irritable mood, headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating are some side effects of sleep deprivation. Hence, you must get good sleep for a  minimum of 7-9 hours to be productive and active during your business trip.   

4. Being Unprepared for Business Trip

A productive business trip needs good preparation. There may be instances where you forget to check the accommodation details, such as check-in and check-out timings, or fail to carry important business documents. Being unprepared can make a business trip unnecessarily stressful and hectic. 

You can avoid this mistake by confirming the business trip details with your travel manager. You can also create checklists, such as a travel packing checklist, to help you prepare and ensure you don’t miss out on anything.

5. Not Preparing an Itinerary 

An itinerary is an elaborate plan for a business trip that includes details of meetings, accommodation, distance from the airport to the hotel, and places to visit, among others. Without a proper itinerary, you could be late for the meetings or be stuck at the airport for a long time. 

A clear, well-prepared, and crisp business travel itinerary will give you a workable timetable for your tasks, meetings, and activities. Your itinerary must include time slots for your morning workout, seminars, conferences, coffee and lunch breaks, meals, sleep, commute, and leisure activities. 

The more detailed your itinerary is, the less time you will have to worry about when arriving at your destination.  This helps you focus on your tasks more effectively. 

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6. Not Packing your Medicines

Business travel sometimes includes employees traveling to international destinations with varying climatic conditions. Therefore, they become more susceptible to health emergencies. Also, the minor illnesses you can easily cure at home may aggravate if you are in a different country. 

Hence, you must always carry medicines for common illnesses, like fever, cough, cold, motion sickness, diarrhea, food allergies, etc. It is also essential to carry a sufficient amount of prescribed medicines because a replacement may not be available in another country. 

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7. Making a Bad First Impression

When you are meeting a client for the first time, making an excellent first impression is always crucial. A bad first impression will make you lose the employers’ and clients’ confidence and trust in you. To make the first good impression, you must keep the following points in mind:

Dress for Success: Dressing appropriately is very important when meeting your client. Always make sure that you are wearing ironed formal clothes. Dressing neatly and smartly shows that you respect your work and your clients. 

Body Language: The first thing a person will notice in you is your body language. If your body is slouched, you send out a message that you’re disinterested in the other person. Therefore, you must always sit or stand straight, with your shoulders back and head up. This indicates you’re confident and enthusiastic. 

Greetings: It is always important to greet your clients whether you’re meeting them for the first time or not. Always greet them with a firm handshake, look them in the eye, address them with their first name, introduce yourself, and smile. By doing so, you’re letting them know you’re confident and optimistic. 

8. Forgetting to Backup Important Documents

While going on a business trip, you must carry important business documents, including passports, flight tickets, ID cards, visas, business contracts, etc. If you forget to back up these documents, there are chances that important documents containing crucial information may get lost or be exposed to cyber threats. 

 Therefore, you must keep them safe and secure by scanning or taking photos of these documents. You must keep both physical and digital copies, so you have a backup if one of them gets misplaced or lost. 

The most secure way to store digital documents is in cloud-based storage. When storing them digitally, ensure they are password or fingerprint protected so that no one can access or hack into them. 

9. Keeping your Data Insecure

According to the 2022 Data Breach Investigation Report, almost 82% of data breaches involved human errors such as social attacks, errors, and misuse, and 13% included ransomware breaches.

Business data includes confidential information, such as credit cards, employee details, and company data, among others. However, you’re highly susceptible to data theft on a business trip as you are away from the secure office network.

Losing your business data can have serious aftermaths, especially if you when your working on sensitive information of your client. Therefore, you must always secure your data while traveling. You must keep the following points in mind so that your business data isn’t exposed to cyber attacks and hackers:

  • Use VPN while using public Wi-Fi.
  • Lock/password protect all your devices.
  • Don’t leave your laptops unattended.
  • Back up all your data.
  • Use good anti-virus software.
  • Use secure software solutions. 
  • Avoid accessing sensitive information while traveling.

10. Not Leaving an Out-Of-Office Message

Before you go on a business trip, you must inform your colleagues that you will be out of the office. An out-of-office message is an auto-reply that your colleagues will receive while you are on leave or away on some work. If you forget to inform your colleagues and leave an out-of-office message, it can cause unnecessary work delays, and they may miss out on deadlines for any important project.

Therefore, you must leave a clear out-of-office message and update your work status. This will let your colleagues know you are away on a business trip, so you won’t be available to respond to their messages or emails. 

Ensure your out-of-office message is simple, concise, and professional.

Your message should include:

  • Dates of unavailability
  • Alternative/emergency contact details
  • Reason for absence
  • The date you will resume back to work

11. Consuming Unhealthy Food

When you are on a business trip, you are away from home for a few days. Hence, you tend to eat outside food more or may indulge in trying different cuisines. But, these foods are unhealthy. Unhealthy foods or poor eating habits can adversely affect your well-being, such as making you feel lethargic, inability to think, stomach infection and diarrhea, weight gain, and many more. Even worse, if you fall sick, you may have to skip the meeting or conference due to ill health. 

Therefore, you must follow healthy eating habits during your business trip to make yourself feel productive and energetic throughout the day. Here are a few tips for eating healthy during a business trip:

  • Start your day with fresh fruit juice and protein-rich breakfast. 
  • Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. 
  • Avoid consuming junk foods, carbonated drinks, and alcohol in excess. 
  • Try including probiotics in your diets, such as curd or yogurt. 

12. Not Being Punctual

It goes without saying that businesses need employees to report on time to get the work done. For business travelers, especially, not being punctual is a serious issue because it affects the organization’s reputation. 

Therefore, you should always be punctual. Being punctual is a good business practice and shows that you are professional. Below are a few tips on how you can be punctual:

  • Wake up early.
  • Set up reminders or alarms.
  • Be prepared ahead of time.
  • Document time for each task.

13. Mismanaging Expenses

During a business trip, you may incur many expenses, such as food, public transport, cab services, etc., that can collectively turn into huge expenses. You must keep track of all these expenses to avoid exceeding your company’s travel policy and budget. If you don’t manage your costs efficiently, it can lead to overspending, and your company will not reimburse your expenses after your business trip. 

Therefore, you must track and manage all your expenses during a business trip. You can do this by using expense management software. With the help of this software, you can upload receipts in real-time and track expenses from anywhere at any time. This will help you avoid overspending and comply with company policies. 

14.  Not Carrying Local Currency

Employees generally like to carry their credit cards or corporate cards as a mode of payment when they go on a business trip. But, while traveling internationally, not carrying local currencies for daily expenses such as cabs, stationery items, shopping, and incidental expenses can cause problems, especially if there are no other payment options available. 

Hence, it is very crucial to carry local currencies. You can exchange your currencies by going to a local bank and giving them a check for the required amount. They may charge a nominal fee, but it is better than exchanging your currency in expensive airport kiosks. 

15. Traveling without Travel Insurance

Business travel is unpredictable. You may encounter unprecedented challenges such as flight cancellations, lost luggage, ill health, and bad weather. These situations can be costly if they get out of control, adding to additional expenses. 

Therefore, it is vital that you always carry business travel insurance during your business travel. A business travel insurance plan covers flight cancellations, stolen luggage with work gadgets, medical care, and many more. This will keep you on the safer side and acts as a lifeguard during your trip. 

16. Not Having the Right Software Tools

Managing your office tasks and meetings during a business trip can get very stressful. You have to attend numerous meetings, attend business conferences, and connect with your managers and colleagues to complete your work. Without the right tools, it will be difficult for you to communicate and handle various projects. 

You can avoid these problems by using the right office-management software tools. By using these tools, you can easily communicate with your colleagues and manage multiple projects and tasks from any part of the world. This helps you get your work done faster and saves time. 

17. Forgetting to Carry Essential Travel Products

Packing for your business trip can be quite a hassle, especially when you have so many other things to do. Amidst doing other work, you may forget to carry or pack travel products that are essential during your business trip. Because of this, you may have to spend extra money to buy these products in a new place. 

Hence, it is important to carry all the essential travel products which you will require for your trip. This will make your travel more convenient, seamless, and comfortable.

Plan Your Business Trip More Efficiently

Whether you are a first-time traveler or a road warrior, it is important that you are prepared for any situation. You must make a list of the travel products you must carry, back up important documents,  and create a detailed travel itinerary, among others. Following the above-mentioned tips on what you should not do on a business trip will help you be prepared for your next business trip. 

ITILITE corporate travel management software is a tool you can use while planning your next business trip. It is a SaaS-based software that helps your plan and organizes your trip from anywhere at any time. You can easily view your company’s travel policies, get personalized booking options and upload receipts for approvals and reimbursements in real-time. 

To experience the features, try ITILITE for free now.