My first, solo, business trip was a mixed bag of emotions: excitement, nervousness, exhaustion, self-reflection, etc. Having never met anyone in my company’s headquarters, and never having traveled to the Mid-West, I had no idea what to expect. There are a lot of moving parts to consider when you are traveling for work. Aside from just timing/accommodation questions you need to know the answers to, you also need to worry about scheduling, and what options you have for your free time.
Here are a few of the biggest lessons I learned and takeaways you should think about when planning your first (or next) business trip.
- It’s important to get to know your coworkers. If this is the first time you were meeting your team in person, ask them tons of question so you can learn more about not just their personal lives but also their background and what skills they bring to the table. You may not have the opportunity to see them in person for a while, so use this time to build a bond and create a great work relationship.
- Using someone else’s money is awkward. Buying things like meals or gas that you will expense makes you acutely aware of how much you are spending. Make sure you know going in who is paying for what and what the allotted budget is. What you’re willing to pay for a meal and what your company’s budget is could be different. Neither party wants to be surprised with unknown expenses. The same is true for a rental car. All costs should be clearly discussed beforehand.
- Staying at a good hotel is a major key. Picking out a hotel was one of the hardest parts of the process. Luckily, I had a coworker familiar enough with the city to help me choose a safe spot. I also had the added question of staying near the office (35 miles north of the city) or staying near the airport/city center. My first time in Indianapolis, I found an affordable hotel in the heart of downtown so I could make the most of the city with my off time.
- Give yourself free time during the day and don’t book dumb flights. Daylight savings meant it was dark by the time I left work so I never got to explore Indy during the day. I wish I would have given myself more time in my schedule to be a tourist. 7AM flights are for fools, especially if you’re given the whole day for travel. How often do you get to explore a new city! Go out and see it.
- Break out of your comfort zone. Try new restaurants, go to cool events, and be okay being on your own. Don’t miss out on cool experiences because you don’t want to ride solo. Most of my team had families to go home to so after work I was on my own. This meant I got to try some great restaurants in cool neighborhoods of the city.
Keeping these factors in mind will help ensure you have a successful and enjoyable business trip! I hope to head back to Naptown so I can give you a post about all the great things to do. Check out my other travel posts in the meantime.