Business Travel Tips

When you do your work on the road — as a salesperson, putting together international business deals, or just attending a professional conference — you need to take extra precautions to stay organized. It’s all here — from making travel plans to tracking expenses to returning to the office.

Packing For Your Trip

Checkmark-Iconkeep a pre-packed overnight bag ready for short-notice trips

Xmark-Iconinclude duplicates of toiletries and sleepwear

Checkmark-Iconavoid over packing by planning ahead

Xmark-Iconcreate a standard packing list to use again and again

Checkmark-Iconchoose clothes that don’t require special care or dry cleaning

Xmark-Iconpack clothes that you can mix and match

Checkmark-Iconchoose outfits that can convert into either business or casual

Xmark-Iconavoid checking your luggage

Checkmark-Iconpack two small carry-on bags — one for clothes and one for work

Preparing A Travel Briefcase

Xmark-Iconkeep well-stocked with office supplies

Checkmark-Iconinclude pens, stapler, notepads, paperclips, a calculator

Xmark-Iconcreate a “travel folder” for papers and materials you will need

Checkmark-Iconinclude presentations, reference items, unfinished work, travel info, etc.

Xmark-Iconfill your folder as you plan your trip — or attach a running list to the folder and fill just before you leave

Checkmark-Iconkeep all of your travel info on one sheet — agenda, flight, hotel, rental car

Scheduling Your Days

Xmark-Iconbuild in a cushion on either side of your appointment for delays

Checkmark-Iconhave a contingency plan in case an appointment is canceled

Xmark-Iconbring work or reading material with you to fill time between events

Checkmark-Iconplan in some personal time to relax or sightsee — to unwind

Staying Organized On The Road

Xmark-Iconuse separate credit cards for business and personal purchases

Checkmark-Iconkeep all of your receipts in a manila envelope or zippered pouch

Xmark-Iconmark your expense form as you go and retype when you return

Checkmark-Iconkeep important paperwork all in one place in your hotel room

Xmark-Iconlabel “don’t throw away” (for cleaning staff) when out of your room

Checkmark-Iconreview the materials you have received at the end of each day

Xmark-Iconcategorize and make notes you while it is still fresh in your mind

Checkmark-Iconkeep a running list of items that require attention when you return

They Can Survive Without You

Xmark-Icontake care of as many items as possible before leaving — return phone calls, answer letters, etc.

Checkmark-Iconlet clients and colleagues know when you will be unavailable

Xmark-Iconmake it easy for your staff to reach you should they need you

Checkmark-Icongive copies of your itinerary to your spouse and secretary

Xmark-Iconalso give a copy to the front desk at your hotel

Checkmark-Iconclearly define those items that warrant interrupting your trip

Xmark-Icontrain your staff to handle issues without you

Checkmark-Iconback up your computer and sync your PDA so office has your current info

Xmark-Iconchange your voice message to point callers to the correct colleague

Traveling For Convenience

Checkmark-Iconmake your arrangements through a travel agent to save time

Xmark-Iconrequest your flight seat assignment when getting your reservation

Checkmark-Iconbe seated near the front of the plane to be one of the first off

Xmark-Iconthe earliest flight possible gives you “buffer” in case of delays

Checkmark-Iconchoose a hotel that offers services to business travelers — fax, copier, internet, courier service, etc.

Xmark-Iconlook for free services that make morning easier — continental breakfast, newspaper, iron, etc.

When You Return To Work

Checkmark-Icontake a few moments to put everything away at home and work

Xmark-Icongo through mail, voice messages, and e-mail as soon as you can

Checkmark-Iconmake note of any issues that require your attention

Xmark-Iconcreate three piles — “to delegate,” “action items,” and “to file”

Checkmark-Icondelegate items to others immediately upon return

Xmark-Iconput your list in order of priority with most urgent items at the top

Checkmark-Iconplan time to tackle each item, from top of the list down

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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