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Pre-Trip Travel Planning

Want your trip to go smoothly? It can.if you follow these helpful tips.

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Preparing for a trip for your small business involves a lot morethan booking airline tickets and a hotel. Careful preparation makesthe difference between a trip that runs smoothly and lets you makethe best possible impression with customers and clients, and one inwhich you feel, and appear, harried.

Use the following tips to make the next business trip for yoursmall business the best yet.

Use online mapping services to chart your course from meeting tomeeting and determine how much time you need to get where you aregoing. Print your directions enough ahead of time so that you cancall the people you are visiting to clarify any part of thedirections that do not make sense. Factor in time for traffic sincemany mapping software programs give you the time it would take tomake a trip without traffic. Ask for suite numbers, floor numbersand any other details that can make the difference between being ontime and being late.

Prepare a list of key phonenumbers
In addition to having the numbers of all people you are visiting,it pays to have direct numbers to their assistants or other peoplein the company. These numbers will enable you to get past securityor find someone to speak to if your primary contact cannot bereached.

Few things are more annoying than showing up for a meeting thatsomeone has forgotten. In the best case, the person is in theoffice, but has overlooked the meeting, which is embarrassing allaround. If the person is out of the office, and the meeting iscancelled, your visit is a complete waste of time. Call to confirmappointments several days before a meeting.

Prepare formeetings
Print out notes from previous meetings or phone calls and have allpresentations printed out and ready to go. Start this well ahead ofyour departure to avoid running out of time waiting for a slowprinter to produce the materials you need. Also, have a list ofattendees when possible to give yourself a better chance ofremembering everyone's name when you get to the meeting.

Transfer key files to yourlaptop
If you usually work on a server in your small business, transferfiles you need on the road to the hard drive of your portablecomputer. This will enable you to access important information andwork on existing documents on the road.

Arrange fortransportation
If you are unfamiliar with the area you are visiting, researchtransportation options before you arrive. While a taxi from anairport or train station is almost always an option, some locationsare better served by van services or public transportation. Factorin the time of day you are arriving to account for the impact oftraffic on your transportation.

Prepare youroffice
Leave key contact information for your staff including timing forwhen you will be traveling between locations. This will enable theoffice to phone you, send important documents, and otherwisecontact you if a meeting is cancelled or they need you for someother reason.

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