The first business trip alone can be a frightening experience for some, especially for women traveling alone. Once you work through the excitement of being chosen over others to represent your company, reality starts to set in.
You will probably come to the realization you will have to manage your regular job duties, and you will also be responsible for any other mishaps that may occur. An airline losing your luggage, finding last-minute 14-day car insurance, traffic making you late for a meeting, and speaking the local language are all common issues that you will have to navigate through on your own.
Taking a business trip alone can be stressful, demanding, and at times even frightening, but if the work is something you love, then it is all worth it. Though with these simple reminders to keep you on the straight and narrow path, you will be just fine!
1. You Can Combat the Feeling of Loneliness
People naturally thrive off of human interaction. It makes them feel comfortable, safe, and complete. So when you become separate from your everyday human interactions, things often feel uncomfortable and lonely. That feeling of loneliness is not one that has to stick around for a long time, though.
One of the reasons why traveling makes you richer is because you will create new friendships.
Your friends and family will always be there for you, and the time away from them can be an opportunity to experience other forms of human interaction. When you’re on your trip, instead of succumbing to deeper feelings of loneliness, leave your Airbnb or hotel room and interact with other people.
Of course, with social distancing during coronavirus, things are different for now. But human interaction can be something as simple as sitting in an open park where other people are too. If you feel uncomfortable leaving your room, try interacting virtually with new people.
2. Do Not Let Travel Complications Steal Your Joy
Like anything else in life, traveling never goes quite how we intend it to go. Out of all the things that can go wrong, most issues are equally the worst thing to happen while on a business trip.
In an effort to combat the instances of these mishaps, you should book your flight as early as possible. If you can get in the night before, great, but if not, you should strive to be at your destination two to three hours before the start of the meeting. This scheduling tip applies if you are arriving by car, too.
The best way to prepare for the possibility of lost baggage is by dressing in the flight essentials. Make sure that you pack various styles of clothing in your carry on so you have backup clothes if necessary. The same applies to tools that are crucial to the success of your trip such as your laptop or other work gear.
Frankly, the best recommendation is to pack all of your belongings in a compact carryon.
3. Practice Good Health and Safety Tips While Away from Home
Anyone can become ill at any given moment, so you should always travel with the basics of first aid — pain medicine, cold medicine, and bandages. Medication is unnecessarily expensive at airports or gas stations. To avoid wasting money on common medicine you probably already have at home, you can bring it with you to be prepared.
You should also bring Clorox wipes and disinfectant spray to disinfect all of the areas you will be sitting and resting in. This applies to hotel rooms and Airbnbs because it can never hurt to be extra cautious.
Lastly, take a few self-defense classes to defend yourself in any circumstances where you feel you are in danger. Though this is a skill that is useful anywhere, it is even more helpful when visiting an unfamiliar area where you know you will be spending the majority of your free time alone.
4. Dress Accordingly for Business and the Weather
While traveling to a city for business, it is advisable to wear fabrics that are breathable and comfortable. You should dress in layers to be warm on a cold plane ride, but you should also plan to be able to take layers off quickly if the weather is warmer outside the airport.
The breathable clothing you choose to wear should not only be just comfortable, though. Your outfit should also be fashionable and presentable in case you end up in a situation where you have to meet with the prospective client immediately after arriving in town and you don’t have a chance to change.
Outside of the clothing you wear to the airport, the clothing you pack should include both work attire and casual attire. Though this is a business trip, you may have time to enjoy the local areas between handling business.
Remember to always check the weather in the location you are visiting before packing so you don’t have to worry about having to buy extra clothes while you’re there.
5. Avoid Alcohol Consumption
As mentioned above briefly, you must be more cautious while traveling in new places. One way that someone can take caution is by avoiding consuming too much alcohol. Depending on the circumstances, you may want to avoid alcohol altogether.
If you decide to drink, I recommend you doing it from the confines of your hotel room because you never know how alcohol may affect you, especially if you’re traveling out of the country. You are in a new town, getting alcohol from an unfamiliar place, and so for many reasons, things could lead you down a path you are unprepared or unfamiliar with.
Another reason to avoid alcohol on a business trip is that one result of drinking while on a business trip could be that you lose track of time or become severely hungover before closing on a deal. Or worse, you may be unable to sober up entirely before your meeting.
6. Prepare for Cultural Differences
Whether you are traveling domestically or internationally, you will come into contact with cultures that may be different than your own. This is especially true depending on the specific areas you are visiting. For instance, if you’re visiting the South when you live in Los Angeles, prepare for an extreme culture shift.
Not expecting everyone to speak English or at least speak it as fluently as you do, is one of many ways you can avoid being a jerk when traveling. Researching the area you are traveling to and the cultures most associated with that city are two other great ways to prepare for the cultural shift you may experience in a new town.
7. One Final Reminder — Enjoy Your Free Time
In all likelihood, something is going to go wrong during your trip, even if that one thing is you forgetting your toothbrush at home. So, whatever happens, remember to calmly deal with the situation, and then make an effort to enjoy your time while visiting this new location and experiencing new opportunities.
Most importantly, take the moments you are not working to yourself. Use this first business trip alone to learn something new either about yourself or about the new place you’re visiting.
Imani Francies writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, BuyAutoInsurance.com. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media and specializes in various forms of media marketing.