Surviving Your First Solo Business Trip at That Lonely Table for One

While obstacles may arise on the road, most can be minimized or avoided with a little planning. Surmounting them alone may make you a better entrepreneur.

learn more about Sam Bahreini

By Sam Bahreini

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The prospect of your first solo business trip might seem intimidating. In addition to dealing with the stress of going through airport security and navigating a strange city, you'll be facing any setbacks all by yourself.

If you miss a client meeting because you got lost, it will be your responsibility to handle. If the airline loses your luggage, you may end up wearing whatever you had on in the plane as you wine and dine a potential investor in your company.

Once while traveling abroad, I became extremely ill. I did not speak the local language and had no medical contacts in the area. I had to wait until the following Monday to visit my client's office for help. It was a rough couple of days, to say the least.

While potential hazards may arise when you travel alone, most obstacles can be minimized or avoided altogether with a little planning.

Related: 5 Business Travel Tips That Will Improve Your Life

1. Dealing with loneliness. Being away from family, friends and a normal routine can be hard. Coordinate with the people you're closest to so you'll be able to contact them via Skype or Google Chat while you're away. If you're traveling abroad and don't plan to pay for an international data plan, WhatsApp is a great tool for texting over Wi-Fi.

Traveling alone for the first time has other challenges. If you're worried about eating alone, make plans to grab dinner with LinkedIn connections in the area. If you don't know anyone living near your destination, check out tools such as Get Lunched to set up meals with new regional connections.

2. Addressing travel complications. On a trip, things rarely go exactly as planned. You could miss a flight, book a room for the wrong day or become lost. Always plan ahead and give yourself a time buffer.

Pack a versatile change of clothes in your carry-on in case the airline loses your luggage and bring paper maps of the destination.

Did you miss your dinner reservations? Try using the OpenTable website to find a table at a highly rated local restaurant.

Related: The Road Warrior's Secret Defense: A Portable Pharmacy

3. Tackling health problems. I learned firsthand the importance of planning ahead for illness -- especially when traveling long distances or visiting a foreign country.

Your health on a plane is not affected only by the recirculated air in the cabin but also the germs in the airplane bathroom and on the tray table. Bring sanitizing wipes in your carry-on bag to disinfect your tray before eating -- or avoid using it.

In planning for overseas travel, speak with your doctor and visit the State Department website for advisories on water safety and potential foodborne illnesses at the destination. If possible, have vital information translated into the local language and carry it with you in a waterproof pouch. If you have local contacts, ask them to find a clinic at your destination before you go and bring that information with you.

Related: Capturing a Sliver of Your Business Trip for Yourself

4. Working long hours. When attending a conference or back-to-back meetings, you might often stay out late networking or rise early to meet with clients. When long hours are compounded by jet lag, you will risk falling off your game right when you need to be sharp for giving a presentation. Sleep on the plane if you can and stay at the hotel where the conference is being held so you can easily slip away for a nap between events.

5. Mastering solo presentations. Doing presentations at meetings by yourself can be intimidating at first. You may find yourself outnumbered by attendees with no support. You might second-guess yourself if you don't receive positive feedback. This is one area of stress that can't be completely avoided, but it's an important part of the entrepreneurial experience.

Embrace these experiences as learning opportunities rather than shying away from them. Over time, you will hone your presentation skills, gain confidence in your ability to sell solo and learn how to deal with a tough audience.

When flying solo on the plane or presiding over that important meeting, you'll be acutely aware of every bump you face because you'll be entirely self-reliant. Planning ahead can help you relax and take things in stride. These experiences can be uncomfortable. But they'll eventually give you extra confidence to close deals on your own and wow clients and investors, no matter which city you're in.

Related: Tips for Keeping Your Travels Identity Theft Free

Sam Bahreini

Digital Marketer

Sam Bahreini is a serial entrepreneur and growth marketer, helping startups navigate from launch to scale. 

Related Topics


The Greasy, Glamorous Rise of Mascara

You won't believe the grimy gunk people used to smear on their eyelashes -- and still do.

Business News

Police: 82-Year-Old Woman Found Alive at New York Funeral Home After Being Pronounced Dead

The woman was found breathing almost three hours after she was pronounced dead.

Business News

An NFL Rookie Scores a $514,000 Jackpot in Las Vegas

Los Angeles Rams running back Ronnie Rivers sat down to play 3-card poker and left a half million dollars richer.

Business News

'Our Kids Aren't Even Safe To Order Food': Mother Outraged After DoorDash Employee Uses App to Flirt With Teen Daughter

One mom is going viral on TikTok after catching a DoorDash employee attempting to flirt with her 15-year-old daughter through the messaging service provided through the platform.

Business News

Sarah Michelle Gellar Recalls Being Sued by McDonald's at Age 5 for Starring in a Contentious Burger King Ad

The now 45-year-old actress spoke about a campaign she did for the fast food giant at the beginning of her career.

Business News

'Completely Absurd': The Average U.S. Male Can't Fit Into Universal Studio's New 'Blatantly Fatphobic' Mario Kart Ride

Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge formally opens to the public as a part of Super Nintendo World inside of Universal Studios Hollywood on February 17.