The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how entrepreneurs do business. Due to the temporary shutdown of physical stores, many companies went digital and international.
In fact, cross-border e-commerce, or selling products abroad, continues to grow in popularity. In 2020, American consumers spent approximately $270 billion on cross-border purchases.
Photo by Avel Chuklanov from Unsplash
Besides online selling, entrepreneurs also started using the Internet to communicate. Microsoft Teams Meetings and Zoom Meetings ranked first and second as the most popular online meeting providers worldwide in 2021.
Luckily, travel restrictions have been lifted in many countries. As things are slowly getting back to normal, business travels have once again started to become part of every entrepreneur’s life.
Do you have a business flight planned? Here are a few tips to help make your first work trip post-COVID-19 run smoothly:
1. Get organized with a list
Recall your last business trips. Perhaps you packed your stuff the night before your flight. You thought you brought everything. Unfortunately, you remembered too late that you forgot to grab something, like your toothbrush (bad), laptop (worse), or an important business document (worst).
Cramming doesn’t work when preparing for a business trip. The solution? Create a list. A new study shows that to-do lists free up memory for other tasks, making you less likely to forget stuff.
Of course, don’t limit your list to what you should bring. It should also include what you should do, such as your itinerary, outfits during your stay, hotel to book, and car to rent.
2. Research about your destination
Countries have their unique features. You have to research your destination. Otherwise, you won’t be able to make the necessary preparations.
For example, summertime in the United States is wintertime in Australia. Imagine if you’re in Australia but forget to bring warm clothing. You may freeze to death!
Apart from the weather, business customs can also vary from one country to another. In Japan, bowing is the typical way people greet each other. Also, you have to wait for your Japanese business partner to initiate the handshake. If you can’t follow these, you may be considered disrespectful and lose a potential business partner.
3. Book your transportation and accommodation in advance
Time is of the essence when you’re an entrepreneur. Standing in line is expected, especially when traveling during peak season. To avoid long queues, book your flight and hotel in advance.
Also, you can anticipate more airport delays with stopover flights. As such, you may want to book a non-stop flight.
Early booking not only saves you time; it also gives you the best deals too! You can choose the coziest airplane seat and the most breathtaking hotel room view. Plus, you can change your plans anytime.
4. Prepare all the necessary documents
The United States requires all international travelers, regardless of purpose, to have proper documentation before leaving the country. For starters, you need a valid American passport.
Your passport is a government-issued identification card. Even so, bring another one to be sure. Someone may ask you for a second valid ID. Other valid IDs include driver’s license, permanent resident card, and veteran health ID.
Apart from your passport and valid IDs, some countries also require a visa and a vaccination card. So always research your destination to learn the necessary documents to get into the country.
Consider putting them in a dedicated plastic envelope or organizer to avoid misplacing or losing these necessary documents
5. Pack smart
Photo by @lifeforstock from Freepik
A carry-on bag is preferred to avoid the long line at the check-in counter. Also, lost baggage is common and can be nerve-wracking. Hence, pack light but make sure to bring the essentials.
Besides the necessary documents, don’t forget to fill your luggage with other important stuff like your outfits. Go for clothes you can mix and match and use as your business and casual attire.
More specifically, stick to the basics, such as plain crew-neck shirts, polo shirts, blazers, trousers, and ties. Wear the only pair of shoes you bring if possible. Loafers can be worn as a business casual ensemble.
6. Don’t forget comfort, convenience, and safety
Long flights can feel like time spent in limbo. You will stay in your seat and experience ear barotrauma for hours before arriving at your destination. Sometimes, you get nauseous during the flight and must endure the noise.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to be comfortable on a long flight. Wearing noise-canceling headphones can help with your ear barotrauma and the noise. If you want to sleep during your flight, don’t forget to pack a sleeping mask and a neck pillow.
It would help to prepare for your arrival as well. A dead phone battery can be inconvenient, more so finding out that the plug isn’t ideal for your charger. To avoid the hassle, make sure to carry a universal travel adapter.
Prioritize your health and safety. The threat of COVID-19 is still very much present in many countries. Remember to pack a health kit that contains vitamins, medicines, alcohol, disinfectant wipes, and face masks or respirators.
7. Utilize technology
Several helpful apps exist for business travelers like yourself. Don’t hesitate to use them for a stress-free travel experience.
For example, you can download and use TravelPerk to book your flight, hotel, and car. Meanwhile, you can rely on Google Maps to set your routes and find your restaurants and destinations. You can also access this app online and offline.
As for gadgets, you can invest in a power bank for your smartphone and laptop to ensure that you won’t miss out on any business-related activities.
8. Make the most of your time
Can’t sleep because of an unfinished task? Work while flying if needed! You’ll just wake up feeling unrested if you ignore what you actually want.
However, you can also use your free time to do what you’ve longed to do. Finish the TV series you’ve been eyeing on Netflix for a while now. Continue reading the book you’ve always said you’d finish. Catch up with your friends on social media. Feel free to indulge yourself without guilt!
9. Prepare a present
Gift giving is a nice gesture when meeting a business colleague. It’s an excellent way to break the ice and build rapport.
Knowing the culture of your destination comes in handy when preparing a gift, as a specific object can mean something there. A knife isn’t an ideal gift in Korea, as sharp objects signify severing the relationship. You also can’t give a present that comes in fours as it denotes death.
Quality liquor is the safest and most practical gift, like a basket of the best wines. Still, it would be best to research to ensure you don’t offend someone with your gift.
10. Mix business with pleasure
The purpose of your travel may be for business. But if possible, allot a day purely for fun. You can go shopping for local merchandise or try local cuisine.
If you don’t enjoy shopping and trying new food, think of something that interests you. If biking drives your happy hormones, go for it! For a fun and fruitful biking experience, choose a bike that has a hardwearing power meter.
Don’t let the stress and strain of travel get in the way of closing a business deal. For this reason, always remember that preparation is critical. Plan your business trip thoroughly, from departure to arrival.
Before you go, be sure that your transportation and accommodation are booked and that you know your destination’s climate, documentation requirements, and customs. Also, use technology for an easier, cozier, and more convenient business travel experience. Last but not least, stay healthy and happy!