Traveling with coworkers can be tricky, and that can be multiplied exponentially if you are traveling with your boss. On trips with your boss you have to be on your best, and most competent, behavior. You want to come across as low maintenance as possible, and this can extend from your suitcase to your dinner orders to your wardrobe. Here are a few tips to look calm, collected, and like you know what you’re doing.
- Don’t check your bag. This is always my standard advice, but even more so when traveling with your boss. If there is any way you can avoid checking your bag, carry on. You don’t want to be the reason for any delays upon arrival! Know the airline’s guidelines so your bag is within the correct size requirements. Also, make sure you can lift it into the overhead bin without throwing out your back or making weird noises.
- Be productive. While on the plane with your superior, working is never a bad thing. If that’s not an option, keep in mind that anything you read is a reflection on you. Perhaps look at a magazine that you could show your grandparents: Real Simple, In Style, something in that vein. Another option is to read a book. You don’t have to try to come across as a pseudo-intellectual, but please don’t read anything that looks like a trashy romance or something called “How to Get Your Boss’s Job”. If you don’t have a Kindle this is a great excuse! No one knows what you’re reading.
- Choose your seat wisely. Don’t feel like you have to sit next to your boss on the flight unless there is a work-related reason. My experience–and the experience of many readers–is that co-workers generally don’t expect to sit by each other. Feel free to blame the airline if you need an excuse.
- Know where you’re going. When you arrive, make sure you know where you are going and have a plan for getting there. You don’t necessarily need to do anything above and beyond what you would do when traveling alone. Just make sure, for example, you know the address of the office, what car rental company you are using, and the general location of your hotel. Long ago, I was traveling with a coworker and I couldn’t remember the name of my hotel, I just knew it was some kind of Marriott. I had to call all over the city to find my reservation (because I didn’t have access to my Rewards number or my confirmation code), and then it turned out my hotel was literally on the airport property. Way to look competent!!
- Look professional. During any downtime that you spend with your boss, wear something comfortable and put together. It’s pretty unlikely you’ll have to wear a suit to dinner (unless of course you’re going straight from the office), so maybe a pair of slacks or dark jeans, a nice top, and cute shoes. Don’t wear anything that would make someone think you are going to a bar: nothing revealing, no too-tall shoes, etc.
- Don’t overindulge! I hope this would go without saying, but just in case. Please, please watch your alcohol intake. Getting drunk and throwing up in a cab with your director looking on makes an impression, just not the one you want. (I saw this happen, and trust me, years later we still talk about it.)
The goal is to exude confidence and competence at all times. I know it doesn’t seem fair that someone could be judging you during “off” times, but that won’t stop them from subconsciously doing it. If a behavior could even remotely be considered questionable, don’t do it. But this is a time that you can show how skilled you are in areas your boss doesn’t usually get to see–so take advantage!
Readers, is traveling with your boss something you do? Any tips?
Be sure to check out my page with products I recommend for travel!
Have a travel question or suggestion? Send it to RW @RoadWarriorette.com.
This post may include affiliate links. That means if you click on something and make a purchase I may make a few cents. Thanks for your support!
Download our free Business Trip Packing Checklist and never forget a thing!
Not sure what to pack for your business trip? No problem! Use our checklist to make sure you have everything you need for a successful trip.