Traveling to an event or conference requires a completely different mindset than traveling for pleasure. While the basics are the same, there are some certain considerations that you might want to think about before you set off on a trip where you will be required to represent your business or your employer as an event prof or an attendee. With a little bit of foresight, you can make your trip worthwhile and give off a professional impression.
Consider your wardrobe carefully
Though it might seem like tired advice, first meetings with business partners are incredibly important, especially on a global level. Cultural differences are bound to happen when you work with other companies internationally, but arriving at a meeting well-presented is pretty universal among all cultures as a sign of respect. You will want to take a moment or two to think about what clothing you are packing and what would be appropriate for the type of meeting or function you are traveling for.
It’s exciting to travel to a special event, but it’s often easy to forget that you are making the journey for work purposes. You will want to be extra prepared in order to have a successful meeting or conference experience and to show a level of professionalism. Make sure to go over any materials that you and a business partner might discuss and be sure to have a list of questions that you might have about any business transactions. More often than not, a global business partner will want your meeting to succeed, as well. When you meet them halfway, you will show them that you care about your partnership and moving forward together.
Remember why you came
When traveling to a new destination, it’s easy to get caught up enjoying your time away from home. Many destinations are suited for both business and tourism, and sometimes the lines can easily blur on how you should conduct yourself. It might be tempting to forget about the reason you came and spend more time as a tourist, but a balance can definitely be achieved. You’ll want to know your schedule so you can make plans to see the sights and still manage to get some work done.
Write business expenses off
When you are self-employed, one of the benefits of taking a business trip is the opportunity to write off some of your expenses. While you will have to pay the initial cost upfront, you should be sure to document any meals, tickets, hotel rooms, and how much gas you use so you can get a break on your taxes. Part of a successful business trip is making your own business sustainable, and write-offs give you the opportunity to receive benefits in the long run.
Keep cultural differences in mind
If you are meeting with someone from an entirely other culture, then you need to at least know the basics of how to act appropriately. Doing a little research beforehand can help save you any mistakes you might make culturally and can help you have a more successful meeting than you would without. Before you meet, know the differences between your culture and those of your international colleagues so you make a good impression and so you set a high standard for the future.
Overall, traveling for business can be a rewarding experience. Not only does it allow you to see the world and make connections with those from other cultures, but it also allows you to grow professionally and to do what you love while making money. While planning to travel to a conference, meeting or other event, professionalism is by far the most important thing to remember and to utilize in order to feel as though you’ve accomplished a successful meeting away from home.
Written by: Alex Schnee