Business Travel Checklist:
Last month, I traveled to Poland along with two of my colleagues for a three day workshop at client location. Business meetings are very critical and it is important that one should be prepared 100% to achieve 100% success.
One of my colleagues carried a checklist with him to ensure he is not missing anything while traveling. Checklists are always good. While I didn’t have one and of course forgot couple of things back home – thankfully nothing so critical – but these small things, prepared, increases your confidence during conversations.
So, after coming back, I worked on my checklist, split into carry-on bag, laptop bag and checked-in bag. I also thought to share over here. I will follow this up with a specific checklist for business meetings as well.
- Documents Folder: Having all the documents in place is extremely critical. You do not want to miss a flight because you forgot your passport or tickets back home or get stranded in a foreign country because you do not remember hotel address.
- Passport (+Photocopy)
- Visa (+Photocopy)
- Tickets (+Photocopy)
- Travel insurance (+Photocopy)
- Hotel Booking (+Photocopy)
- Other Photo IDs
- Phone numbers and addresses (client site, hotel, travel desk contacts): In today’s electronic age, we tend to keep everything on our phone – relying heavily on it. This might sound like old school but it is equally important to have all the important information such as phone numbers of key contacts, all the addresses (client site and hotel) written down in a piece of paper and keep it handy.
- Forex Card and Credit Card: Most travel desks in companies would provide forex cards which will help you do swipe transactions during your travel. In addition, it is good to keep an additional credit card, just in case the earlier one betrays. Some companies might have restrictions on using forex cards for online transactions due to cases of fraud.
- Cash (local and foreign currency): Enough to survive for couple of days in case your cards ditch you. Also, for places where cards are not accepted. Remember, CASH IS KING!
- Visiting cards (at least 20): It is important, not just to have them, but also in enough numbers. In my last time, I made a mistake of just seeing them without realizing that there were only 5 of them. Not enough when you have business meetings running into couple of days.
- Snacks: Always good to have some snacks around in your bag in case you feel like munching right away.
- Glasses: Reading glasses and Polaroids, in case you are using any of them.
- Camera: Yes, you are going for a business trip. But you can still have some moments of leisure trip clubbed into that. Especially, when you are visiting a place for the first time. Also, in the final client meeting, it is considered a nice gesture to have a group picture as a memory.
- Wrist watch: If you are using it. I don’t.
- Cell phone charger: Probably, one of the most commonly forgotten things.
- Converter pin: Another often overlooked thing. This is critical when you are traveling overseas and can create problems when you need to have your laptop charged during business meetings.
- Laptop: Quite obvious!
- Laptop charger: Very critical.
- Pen/Flash drive: It is good to have a pen drive and take a backup of all critical documents on that. It is not good practice to keep documents on internet (mailbox, Google drive etc) as you may not have internet access. In case your laptop behaves cranky, a backup in a pen drive will allow you to use any other available laptop as well.
- Data card (if required): Good practice in case you are traveling domestic and not sure about the internet connection at the meeting location. I haven’t heard of international data cards, so far, but if available, you can include this in the international travel checklist as well.
- Notepad: While Gmail or Office Notes is the best place to take notes, you may not have them all the time. It is always good to have a notepad with you and make sure it is new and neat. Makes a good impression on client as well.
- Ball point pen: What will you do with notepad without this? Avoid gel and ink pens as it may not be easy to take fast notes with that – unless you have some superpowers!
- Suits: Count will depend on the number of days you are traveling and what is the TAT of your hotel laundry.
- Formal Trousers and Shirts
- Cuff lings
- Belts (Formal and Casual): I forget this most often during my leisure travels though. But in my last business trip, I forgot this and was pissed off every single day. You may not want to borrow this from colleague unless the person is very close. Doesn’t give a good signal.
- Ties: One for each suit would be ideal but otherwise one each for two suits should be fine.
- T-shirts/Casual Shirts: Take these according to weather.
- Jeans/Casual Trousers
- Walking shorts/pajamas
- Undershirts: Besides being required in formal clothing, in cases of temperatures in early twenties, a single shirt or t-shirt might not be enough to protect you from cold while a jacket can be sweaty, an undershirt might just be a perfect solution.
- Jacket: Nice and comfortable jacket to protect you from cold in case it is a cold weather.
- Formal Black Shoes
- Sports Shoes
- Folded sports bag: A small sports bag can be handy when you are exploring the city in your leisure time. There are laptop bags as well which can be used as sports bags. So, if you remove laptop from them, it will like any other sports bags and can be used.
- Grooming Kit: A well maintained grooming kit is essential for every men to make sure you be at your best appearance every time – be it a business meeting or in general travel. A well maintained grooming kit will include:
- Shaving cream/gel/foam, razor, after shave, toothpaste, toothbrush, tongue cleaner, deodorant, perfume, face wash, sun block/moisturizer
- Shoe shiner/polish and shoe brush
- Primary First Aid kit: Pack of bandages, antiseptic solution, cotton, small scissor, some basic medications (paracetamol, aspirin, motion sickness medications and any other in case specifically required by you)