Q) I recently started a new job where I will be traveling for business, for the first time, to a conference. What should I do to make the trip a success?
A) First, research your destination. Know where you are going before you get there. You will be less stressed when you arrive. Make arrangements in advance. Arrange with someone at your destination to provide what you will need: conference room, A/V equipment, copies of documents, food service, etc. Follow up a day ahead to make sure your needs will be met.
When flying, do not recline your seat more than a couple of inches. It makes it very difficult for the person behind you to get out of their seat. Also, do not keep getting up and down and climbing over the person(s) next to you.
If you are traveling with others and will have a roommate at the hotel, you should consider only half the space in the room as yours. Assuming there are two beds, decide when you first arrive who will sleep in which one. Use only half the room’s facilities: keep your things on one side of the closet; use only half the drawers in the dresser; use only half the bathroom counter space. Do not leave clothes on the floor; don’t hang up rinsed underwear in the bathroom; don’t stay up late watching TV or talking on the phone; don’t borrow anything; and, DO NOT come in drunk. Respect your roommate. Keep your things neat and tidy.
If you go out to eat with a co-worker, decide ahead of time who will pay the bill. If you are going out with a subordinate, pick up the tab.
Be considerate when traveling in groups. Don’t smoke or use foul language, and be flexible. Participate in what others want to do. Don’t be the self-appointed tour guide and monopolize everyone’s personal time.
Say thank you. Send thank you notes to anyone who helped you while you were on the road: the hotel administrative person who set up the meeting; the front desk clerk who resolved your reservation problem, etc.
Tip well. Always tip service personnel who did a good job: the airport porter who checked your bags; the hotel front door man and bellhop who helped you with all your luggage, etc.
Finally, keep good records. Save receipts and submit your expenses to the company as soon as you return from a trip. Your accounting department will appreciate it and reimburse you faster.
Just remember, being polite pays off no matter where you are!
Follow Carolyn Davenport at AGraciousYou.com.