These days entrepreneurs benefit from the realities of a global village, unprecedented access and low barriers to entry across the globe.
As such, many are jet-setting their way to small business success. Yes. Virtual meetings and remote working are status quo these days, but when you’re expanding into new markets or meeting new potential clients, nothing beats shaking a few hands in person or making a detour to Paris or Beijing before you fly home.
Aside from your favorite mobile apps, a trusty laptop, headphones, and a carry-on there are also certain skill sets that frequent business fliers acquire over time to make trips productive and hassle-free.
Before you board your next flight, master these basics.
1. Be ready to go at the eleventh hour.
There’s trip planning – and then there’s quick trip planning when you need to get up and go at a moment’s notice. Whether you’re traveling abroad or to another state, the fewer surprises the better (especially financial ones)! Yet, when travel plans are last-minute (or in some cases, within hours), how can you be prepared for almost anything?
For those who have the luxury of a virtual assistant that’s awesome. But for the budget-conscious business owner who wants a DIY travel planning approach it means having ready-packed weekender bag that contains the essentials. Pack the basics including travel-sized toiletries, wrinkle free clothes and accessories, your planner or tablet, a travel power adapter (for global trips), headphones, a passport, and cash.
Important things like presentations, proposals, client lists, etc. should be accessible via the cloud; which means files are backed-up and ready for retrieval anywhere there’s Wi-Fi. If you can, avoid packing the night before so you don’t feel anxious and time-crunched, which will only lead to added mental stress.
2. Pack light.
Business owners who do a good bit of traveling will, by default, become masters of packing light. Unless you’re staying for a long period, one carry-on should be enough. This means doing away with excess. Prioritize multi-purpose gadgets and devices, too. Your mobile and laptop essentials should be a priority along with a power bank for emergencies and universal charger.
To prevent paying hefty baggage fees, talk with your travel agent or carrier about the baggage allowance for your flight ahead of time. You can also a digital portable luggage scale to weigh your bags the night before and ensure you’re not over the limit (because who really wants to spend unnecessarily on baggage fees?).
3. Keep track of expense receipts.
Some travel expenses can be deducted on your business tax return. This is particularly true if you’re using private vehicles or private driver services like Uber. But surprisingly, there are a good number of entrepreneurs who don’t track expenses because it’s such a hassle.
These days it’s easy to manage receipts – even if you accidentally lose them – with free mobile apps like Wally and Shoeboxed. Wally, for example, is a personal finance app, but you can take pictures of receipts for your own records. While Shoeboxed, cuts back on clutter so you can easily manage receipts, expense reports, and business cards with less headaches.
4. Stay tethered.
The location independent and digital nomad lifestyle has never been easier thanks to free Wi-Fi hotspots at your favorite coffee shops around the world. But what if you’re heading to a remote area? Or what if Wi-Fi connections are barely connected at all? If you’re traveling on business, master the skill of tethering.
Tethering is basically sharing your phone’s mobile data connection with another device, like your laptop. This works for both Android and iOS devices. But it’s wise to familiarize yourself with tethering costs (which could be no-cost or around $20 USD, depending on your mobile carrier).
5. Be ready to negotiate often.
Even when you’re out of the office, you will need to brush up on your negotiation skills. There are several instances when you may need to think up a win-win situation to reduce travel costs. For instance, you may find yourself at the front desk talking to a hotel manager that didn’t reserve the correct room.
From the ticket counter to the streets of your next destination, keep an open mind to little negotiations that can lead to a better travel experiences.
Traveling for business and leisure can be enjoyable – unless you count jet lag or a lack of in-flight food options. Whether by road or by air, most trips are exhausting and leave many business owners feeling haggard by the time they arrive at their destination. That’s why you need to know what works for you early on.
Aside from fancy gear and cool gadgets, the traveling entrepreneur understands that these skills sets take them from good to great!
This article has been edited and condensed.
Cris Antonio is a senior copywriter and the Chief Editor of Scoopfed.com. She’s currently focused on writing articles to help millennials find better career opportunities as they strive to make a difference. Aside from writing, Cris also enjoys painting, collecting toys, and reading German novels. Connect with @criswrites on Twitter.