Earlier this year, I worked on location at the Cannes Film Festival in France with the production team of Arise On Screen, the movie review show I produce. We were on a tight, five-day schedule as we taped shows on location and then fed the video back to New York where post-production was done. The long shoot days and the seven-hour time difference with our colleagues back home made things even more complicated.
While it’s tempting to think that the only prerequisite to a successful business trip is to have your trusty laptop, you can quickly miss the convenience of your office when you’re thousands of miles away. Replace Cannes with the destination of your choice and use these helpful tips on how to handle out-of-town business.
1. Establish your communication needs.
Internet access, roaming charges, data usage -- these are all things you have to think about before leaving for your trip, not when you get to your hotel. A call to your phone company before you leave can prevent any surprises on your trip. If you are traveling abroad, you should activate your phone for international travel. Can you make and receive phone calls? What is the rate for the country where you will be based?
Another option is to buy a local phone in the country in which you are traveling and purchase credit as you need it. This is also an easier way for you to keep track of your business expenses. I ended up buying a phone in Cannes and it worked out perfectly for the trip.
2. Identify your local assets.
Who are your contacts on the ground? It is best to coordinate a book of everyone's contact information including email addresses, phone numbers and any social-media information. If you are staying in a hotel, find out where the office center is located and its hours of operation. It is also important to make note of any wi-fi charges or expenses that might apply for using the office center.
We had our set and crew ready when we arrived. Thanks to our solid contacts and organization, we hit the ground running.
3. Be ready to wear a few different hats.
When you are on the road, you may have to work twice as hard as when you are in the office. Whether you’re alone or traveling with a smaller team, all the little things the intern or office assistant usually handles may become your responsibility. No job should be too small for you if the need arises. It is probably best to find out the skills of everyone on your business team since multi-tasking takes on a new meaning when you’re on the road!
4. Sleep when you can.
When you are on a business trip, every minute counts as you fill your schedule with meetings and business events throughout the day and night, which means you will probably get your eight-hour beauty sleep -- spread over five days. When you get time to nap, take it! Naps are a useful way to re-energize. A short nap of 20 to 30 minutes is good for improving your alertness and performance. Make sure you find a quiet and comfortable place to lie down and catch a few quick zzz's.
Doing business on the road can, and should be, fun! But unless you’re prepared and your trip is planned, your productivity might take a blow. So follow these tips and bon voyage!