It’s bound to happen. If you advance far enough in your career, you will likely take a business trip or two that includes your boss or even your boss’s boss.
So what’s the protocol for travelling with your superiors? Here are 6 tips to keep things smooth sailing when on the road with “el Jefe”.
1. Take care of yourself
If you are a woman travelling amongst men, don’t assume that the social courtesies made toward a woman on a date apply in business. Be prepared to hail your own taxi, pay the bills and the tips, carry your own luggage and open your own doors. Chivalry is not dead but it should not be expected on a business trip. Plus, regardless of whether you are a man or woman, take responsibility for your travel arrangements, ground transportation, and meals to confidently get you through your trip. Unless your boss suggests meeting for breakfast, order room service or go down to the hotel restaurant and eat your vegemite toast solo. (It’s a good idea to carry a few healthy snack bars.)
2. Assume nothing
If there’s any question over who is responsible for what on the logistics planning or agenda during the trip, don’t assume the answer, ask and be sure of your responsibilities. Some bosses expect their junior executives to take care of everything from arranging transportation, setting up meetings, and securing reservations for dinner. Other bosses prefer to take the lead and expect you to keep up.
3. Carry cash
Stop by the ATM machine before you leave and make sure to carry cash (small bills) for taxis, tipping and general expenses. Travelling internationally? Check the exchange rate before you leave. It may be best to grab the local currency from an ATM in your destination. Be sure that you do before you try to get in a taxi or take the train. Many taxis in international countries are not credit card friendly. Don’t forget to get receipts if you want to be reimbursed.
4. Pack like a pro
You don’t want to be the one responsible when presentation materials or a cable turns up missing. In fact, impress them all and make sure you have an extra phone charger, socket adapter (for international usage), and connectivity cables just in case someone needs one. Personally, make sure you have a belt, clean shoes, socks, band-aids, and an extra shirt.
5. Work on the plane
Some look forward to a few hours of focused work time on the plane. When you are en-route to a meeting, it’s not the time to watch the latest flick being offered on the plane. If your boss opens their laptop on transport, follow suit. Perhaps you can relax on the return after a job well done.
6. Do your destination homework
If you are travelling to a new destination, don’t expect others to get you from A to B or choose the restaurants for dinner. With just a little bit of research, you can become a pseudo-expert on the fastest way to get to and from appointments, great restaurants that will impress your bosses, and even off-hours diversions.
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