Being invited on a business trip with your boss is a great opportunity. This can be an opportunity to improve your position in the company. There are two things to do when traveling with your boss:
Have and objective, and be prepared.You may want to show to your boss that you are an expert in a particular field.
The most important rule to keep in mind is:
You are never off duty.
Repeat this mantra to yourself over the course of the trip. Everything that applies in the office applies on the road.
Here is some useful advice:
Flesh out your itinerary. You are likely to be given a basic itinerary that include your travel dates and times and the hotel’s locations. Take it upon yourself to fill in the blanks with reminders and notes. Once is ready, send a copy to your boss a week in advance. That shows efficiency and initiative on your part.
Learn about your boss. His duties and responsibilities but do you know his hobbies?, likes and dislikes, his charities, his workday routine? By knowing the personal side of your boss’s habits and lifestyle you can engage him in conversation that he finds interesting.
Research about the destination. Google it. Find out the quickest routes from the hotel to your clients buildings. Best restaurants for your boss’s favourite dishes and a couple of nice places to go off-hours. Learn the language basics.
Be extra prepared. Known the name of a nearby hotel in case yours has been overbooked. Carry an extra battery for your mobile, laptop or camera. Bring hard copies of PowerPoint presentation.Your workday may not end at 6pm when you are traveling. It’s always a good idea to review these plans with your boss ahead of time so there aren’t any unpleasant surprises.
Keep your head. Things can and often go wrong when travelling, delayed flights, late drivers, missing luggage, rude staff, the list goes on. Whatever happens you must remember that you can not get angry. You should keep a coop head, showing your boss how well you handle stressful situations and your amazing ability to tackle and solve any problem.
Should you have every meal together? Let your boss lead the way, but don’t feel obligated to stick to her or him. If you want some personal time, you can say that you have to return some calls or write some emails. Sounds polite and is efficient.
When it comes after-drinks, be careful “Maybe one drink, but loose lips sink ships”. A drink or two is fine, but don’t keep up drink for drink. Keep it simple, beer, wine or a blank and tonic. Always drink less than the boss. Behave yourself, even if the boss doesn’t.
Don’t check your luggage. If you are traveling less than a week, the general rule is to carry on your luggage. You don’t want to be the one making your boss wait at luggage claim.
Upgrade. If you have the chance to upgrade your flight, only do so if the boss can be upgraded, too.
Always is something to do. While your boss is doing work on the plane, always have something on-hand to work on.
Dress for success. Dress professionally at all times also business casual is the safest way to dress when traveling on the plane.
Be discreet and confidential. Always respect your boss’s willingness to trust you – it’s an honour to be taken into his confidence and it should not be taken lightly. Build on that by learning the criteria by which he wants you to make decisions, and guard the sensitive information he shares with you.
Appropriate reading material. During non-work times be sure that your public reading material is appropriate – avoid gossip magazines. Your reading material should provoke and excite your boss to ask what it’s all about.
When booking flights and hotels, search multiple sources.
For websites, take a look at:
- Yahoo FareChase
TripIt offers a way in which to cut down on travel materials such as flight confirmation numbers, hotel confirmation numbers, restaurant reservations, and other paper-based clutter. Instead of taking every one of the confirmation printouts, forward the travel arrangements (i.e.: all confirmation emails from air, car, and hotel) to the TripIt account. EA can then put every pertinent detail — such as flight, hotel, or restaurant dates and times — onto the bosses’ smartphone or tablet. Thus, it will be one all-inclusive, easy-to-digest itinerary for them that’s as convenient as reaching into their pants or jacket pocket. And no matter the particular “smart “device — BlackBerry, Windows Phone, iPad, iPhone, or Android — the TripIt app works on all devices.
Keep the boss informed FlightTrack ($4.99) help travelers to find up-to-the-minute flight information such as seat availability, baggage claim and locations, gate changes, potential flight deays, and more! There is a PRO version ($10) which is more complete.
If you are traveling by car.
If you’re driving your boss in your own car, have the car’s interior and exterior cleaned and the gas tank filled before picking up any passengers, so it shows you paid attention to detail. When traveling by taxi, it is polite to save the end seat closest to the curb for your boss.
In business social situations while traveling, men and women are equal – no gender roles apply. For example, if you are a woman, don’t expect your male boss to hail the cab or open doors for you.
When traveling with your boss be able to chat with your boss but keep some distance. You don’t want to reveal too much of your personal life. Prepare some neutral talking points and do more listening than talking.
List of “Do’s” & “Don’ts”
- Be positive and up-beat throughout the trip. Nobody likes traveling with a “complainer”. Positive people bring an infectious energy and make things happen.
- Be courteous and polite to all who serve during your trip.
- Be punctual, make sure you are at least 5 minutes early for everything.
- Stock up with cash. You never know when you will need to tip someone.
- Drink alcohol with discretion.
- Keep the company credit card handy. Unless your boss takes the lead, be ready to pay expenses along the way. Simply ask your boss in advance how he or she would like for you to handle the expenses.
- Don’t be late.
- Don’t arrive at the airport stressed, disorganized, disheveled or in a rush. Instead, let your boss see that you are one step ahead of the game by arriving early and being prepared. Prove your competence by planning for possible setbacks i.e delays, traffic jams, long lines at the airport, alternate routes planned as a backup.
- Don’t lose your temper.
- Don’t complain.
- Don’t venture into sensitive subjects (Politics, religion, sex, personal hygiene, etc).
- Don’t engage in office gossip with your boss while you’re traveling together, chances are you’ll be putting the boss on notice that whathever he or she tells you in confidence will likely end up as office gossip as well. If the subject comes up, then try to steer the conversation in another direction.
- Don’t drink or take medicine on the flight.
- Don’t bring food on the flight.
Remember, your business trip with your boss is your opportunity to shine, so seize the moment with finesse by looking, talking, thinking and acting like a leader! Show your boss that you go above and beyond expectations, and that you were the right person to take along on the trip. You want your boss to want to travel with you again because you were interesting and intelligent outside of your work environment. You were a pleasure to speak with, and represented your company well!
Do you have another business-related traveling tip that wasn’t included? If you do, please share it below.