September 14, 2018
I’m afraid this isn’t going to be a blog about short-term job adventures in the beautiful landscapes of the likes of Australia or New Zealand! As many of us travel for work purposes, in this blog I’d like to focus on the things I’ve learnt while travelling on business and offer three pieces of practical advice:
Forgetting the charger for the laptop or the mobile phone is the classic beginner’s mistake when travelling but, of course, leaving the adapter at home or bringing the wrong one is only human. To ensure you’re always prepared, check out this handy colour-coded adapter world map – it shows you which of the thirteen types you might need.
It could save you unnecessary expense, as I discovered to my cost. A month ago, I was in London for a meeting for just a couple of hours… at least that’s what I thought until I arrived at the airport at night wanting to fly back to Munich. The flight was cancelled, I had to stay overnight, and I had to buy an adapter for an unnecessary £15 at the airport. To avoid the same thing, check which adapter you need, buy it in advance and don’t leave it at home (even if you’re planning to spend only a few hours abroad)!
- Secure connectivity
A surprising number of working hours can be lost when travelling. I need six hours to get from my apartment in Munich to our office in London. Generally, I use the time when I’m offline - such as when I’m on the plane - to complete writing tasks (such as this blog), as at that time I’m able to focus solely on my words. People understand that they can’t reach me and I’m free to get into a creative flow.
When you absolutely must be contactable though, having access to a secure and reliable network connection is extremely valuable so plan around the tasks you’ll be able to complete at the different stages of your journey.
In cities like Amsterdam you can buy almost everything with a credit card; in fact sales assistants sometimes don’t accept cash but it’s not like that everywhere. In Mexico City, for example, you should always have some coins with you as you often can’t pay by credit card. Be sure, therefore, to plan ahead to avoid potentially embarrassing situations such as not being able to pay at a lunch meeting. That aside, in some countries life is easier when you adapt and tip the right way. In Denmark, for example, it’s not common to give tips but it is customary in the US. Overall, it helps to familiarise yourself with what’s expected and what’s customary in the country where you’ll be travelling with work.
All in all, being prepared for your business travel is the key. If you plan to work on the road – think about what works for you and the practicalities of being on a train, plane, car etc. Knowing the customs of your destination will help too. So why not grab a colleague who is in the know and ask, for example, if you will need cash? Finally: Get all the information you need for your travel in plenty of time, so you don’t have to make choices last minute or even worse - on the road. This will save you time, money and nerves. Bon voyage!