My first business trip was also my first day at a new job. Talk about stressful! Besides not knowing anything about my new company, I had no idea how to pack, get through security quickly, or even rent a car. What are the things I wish I had known?
- I wish I had known how to go through security efficiently.. I will admit it. When I first started traveling for work I was, on occasion, one of those annoying people who would take forever at the front of the security line. Not with my ID and ticket–at least I knew to have those ready–but the laptop and all the stuff in my pockets. It’s not that hard to think about putting your computer where it’s easily accessible when you’re packing, but I didn’t have the experience to know that. Now I do! And of course, for business travelers these days TSA Pre-check makes things one million times easier!
- I wish I had known that I didn’t have to have a different outfit for each day. I wish I had known it’s okay to wear something more than once! My first business trip I packed a separate outfit, including shoes, for each day. Then I could barely lift my suitcase! People aren’t actually paying that much attention to what you are wearing (although you wouldn’t know it based on how much time I spend thinking about outfits), and if you wear the same navy pants twice in a week-long trip no one will notice. Now I have a capsule wardrobe for each season that takes up way less room.
- I wish I had known how much time not checking your bag saves. On my first trip I had to check my bag (seeing as how I couldn’t lift it there was NO way it was going in the overhead bin. Plus it probably wouldn’t have fit.) I thought it would be no big deal, I’d get my bag, and be on my way. But my bag was literally the last one to arrive at baggage claim, and it ended up adding an extra thirty minutes to my time at the airport. Not what I wanted on my first day! So glad I discovered capsule wardrobes and packing cubes.
- I wish I had known how few toiletries I actually need. That first trip part of the reason my suitcase was overly full was because I brought so many toiletries. Full size containers of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, medicine, and lotion. Plus every single piece of makeup I own. The entire package took up half of my valuable suitcase space. Now I can fit everything I need into one small bag in the corner of my carry-on.
- I wish I had known my company’s policies about car rentals. I can’t beat myself up too hard about this one, since it was my first day. But I because I didn’t know the rental car policies, I ended up getting insurance and the fuel option, both of which go against policy. When doing my expenses later I was chastised by the finance group and almost had to pay for them out of pocket.
Bonus: I wish I had known I could choose my seat on the plane before going to the airport!
Readers, what do you wish you had known before your first business trip?
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