Despite the joys of virtual conferencing and distance meetings, occasionally, youl’l have to actually pack a bag, get in a plane, and travel to a foreign country (from London to Brussels or maybe from Berlin to Luxembourg) to spend 3 hours making small talk over coffee, and discussing next quarters’ forecast around the meeting table.
Youv’e done this, but still, it never hurts to have a few reminders to keep your business trip from turning into a business nightmare.
Always check your layover, especially if booking online.
Websites can be notorious for offering cheap flights with short (ok, impossible) layover times. If youv’e got 30 minutes to sprint like Usain Bolt from terminal A to terminal P, you may as well rebook your connecting flight now. Its’ better to spend a bit extra money, have a little extra time (duty free shopping!), and avoid trying to sprint in a suit and dress shoes.
Forget your fashionable side for your business trip
Have you ever seen those people at the airport? You know, the ones dressed like theyr’e going to a Paris fashion show? Heels, hats, jackets, sunglasses…Why? Just why? Your at the airport. Your’e there to travel across time zones in a tight space with your elbow uncomfortably touching your neighbors’ arm. Even if you have to dress for the meeting, wear clothes that are easy to take on and off: slip on shoes (that you can run in if needed), no belt (put it in your carry-on bag), a light jacket if you must (with your scarf and vest in your carry-on too). The people behind you in the security line will thank you.
Act quickly and multitask
OK, we all know that multitasking is generally a bad idea, but here, it could save your trip and your budget. If your flight is cancelled, run as fast as you can to the re-booking counter. Your aim: get there before the other unhappy passengers do. Youl’l get to the agent before they feel like punching passengers, and youl’l have a better chance of getting rebooked. If, however, you have to wait in line, use the time to call the airlines’ help number. Fewer people will think to phone for help, so you just may be able to leave the line with a proud smile on your face when the phone agent rebooks you in 3 minutes.
Kill a few trees
No, its’ not politically correct, but you can always recycle later. When traveling abroad, print out everything: flight confirmations, hotel reservations, train tickets, taxi numbers, and whatever other crucial information you need to get from point A to point B. Sure, you look sleek handing your iPhone 6 to the gate agent to scan your boarding pass, but batteries die, phones get lost, or fall into toilets. Plus, if your foreign language skills are, ahem…not exactly great, your bad pronunciation of your hotel name or address could lead your taxi driver to take you to the other side of town.
And if, despite all these tips, you do find yourself victim of the wrath of the business travel gods, youl’l always have a great travel tale to tell during the coffee break.
Need the vocabulary for surviving your next international flight? Check out this short video.
An American living in France since 2004, Christina coaches French professionals to better communicate in English and grow their business abroad. With her YouTube channel Speak Better, Feel Great TV, she is on a mission to boost the English level of French people everywhere. Sign up and youl’l get a free video lesson every week!