In the age of web teleconferences, email communication, and instant messages through business applications like Slack, Asana, and more, business travel is not as necessary as it once was. However, there are still times when you need to make a trip to close a deal, or you truly need to visit the digital marketing agency you are working with to hammer out some details of your campaign.
Of course, when this business travel involves a trip to a client in the United States, it is more than just about the expense. It is also about the planning, and being prepared before you go. An international business trip is much more complex than a domestic one, but many of the same travel principles apply. Here is how to make your business trip to the United States go smoothly.
Be Flexible When Possible
While sometimes business trips involve very specific timing and locations, there are still options when you are traveling to the United States.
- Timing: you can arrange to meet in the middle of the week rather than the beginning, and save yourself significant money on air travel and hotels.
- Destination: While many companies have home offices in a particular city, sometimes they have satellite offices, and are willing to meet you there if it is more convenient for you. Check out what locations they have, and choose the one that it is least expensive and most convenient to fly into.
- Return Flights: sometimes return flights can be much more expensive if you stay for just a few days. If you are visiting clients, try to arrange other meetings in the same area at the same time so you can not only be more efficient but save some money by staying longer.
Even in business travel, you can find creative ways to be flexible and save yourself and your company money.
Last minute business trips are not only the most stressful, they are also the most expensive. If you can at all avoid this kind of trip, do so. Try to plan ahead with your clients or the business you need to visit, and book your trip at least 21 days in advance.
Not only does this save you money, but it also gives you time to be prepared. You will need to have an up to date passport, a physical and vaccinations, and a travel visa. If you don’t travel regularly and don’t have these already at your disposal, it will take time to get them.
In addition to flights, booking hotels and rental cars ahead of time will save you significant money and will ensure that you get what you need in the right location. If at all possible, plan your business travel as far in advance as possible.
Take only Who and What You Need
Traveling for business is enough of a challenge, and traveling internationally is even more so. It can be tempting to send a team to be sure you have all of your bases covered, but that is really unnecessary. Make sure your team is as lean as possible, and when it works best, send a single person who you can train to do everything that needs to be accomplished on your trip.
At the same time, be sure you only take the items that you need. Travel as light as possible, while still making sure that you don’t leave out something that is absolutely necessary. Be sure you have your technology like laptops or tablets, files, and power converters so that your cords will work the way they should.
While you will need some extra clothing be sure you keep things as light as possible, but be sure you have at least one change of clothes in your carry on, just in case it gets lost or separated from you for some reason.
Buy Travel Insurance
Business travel can be unpredictable, and even the best-planned trip can fall through at the last minute, or the client can cancel or change their mind about what they want. In that case, it is a good idea to have travel insurance to prevent the cancellation from impacting your Australian company financially.
This kind of insurance also offers medical coverage in case you need it when you are overseas. No one wants to be sick or injured when they are away from home, but ensuring that your employees are covered makes sure you stay in budget on your trip even if things go wrong.
Business travel is challenging, and we all wish it was not a necessity as it is, but sometimes it simply can’t be avoided. International travel is even more difficult, so being sure to plan ahead and be flexible when possible, and being mindful of your approach will make sure it is not more difficult than it needs to be.