There’s a lot ways to prepare for an extended business trip, like packing smart, getting the right electronics, and making sure to maximize your points. All of those things require planning, and are primarily taken care of before your trip. The hardest part of a long business trip, though, is often once you arrive. You’ll be very busy working, but in your downtime you may feel like a fish out of water. There are ways to minimize that, so you can start feeling more at home.
- Close your house. If you live alone, make sure that your mail is being held or forwarded and that your bills are sent to the correct address. Also arrange for any pets or plants to be cared for. Leave a light on and the radio playing softly, and have a friend drop by a few times to make sure everything is okay.
- Two rooms. If at all possible, stay in a suite. Even if it’s very small, having a room to hang out in that’s separate from your bedroom can really help your well being. Bonus points if there is a kitchenette.
- Bring something from home. Whether it’s a favorite candle, a framed picture of loved ones, or something else that comforts you, it can really help to have something that makes you feel at home. On longer trips I will sometimes bring a digital frame (pictured, although not my family!) that rotates pictures of my son and family.
- Go grocery shopping. If your room has a refrigerator, definitely go grocery shopping. It is so nice to have food on hand so you don’t have to go out to eat all of the time. It will also help your per diem go farther!
- Work out. Maintaining your normal routine can help you feel less out of place, and this is especially true for exercise. If you typically go to the gym in the morning or go to yoga on the weekend, try to incorporate that while gone.
- Plan at least one outing per week. Even if you’re super busy with work, try to plan at least one fun outing per week. Maybe go check out a local attraction, a nice restaurant, a museum, or a park. It’s so nice to have something to look forward to, especially if it’s a way to get to know your city.
- Alert your credit card company. Make sure you let your credit card know you will be in a different city for an extended period of time, otherwise you run the risk of your card getting declined (which does happen, and can be embarrassing).
- Find places around you. This was a good tip from a reader a couple of weeks ago. Use Google Maps to look around your hotel to find places that are important to you and your hobbies: a gym, yarn store, coffee shop, yoga studio, wine bar…. Any place you frequent at home!
- One last thing. Familiarize yourself with your company’s expense and reimbursement plan. Will you be on a per diem or required to turn in receipts? What level of detail do they need? Is there a daily maximum for incidentals? Do they pay for laundry? Etc. It is better to know exactly what will be reimbursed ahead of time!
Readers, any other tips to make a long business trip as painless as possible?