If you’re lucky, at some point in your career you’ll be able to go onto a business trip – and these can be extremely good fun.
However, as with anything, there are different stages you go through with each trip. Here’s my breakdown of the 11 major parts:
The first element of preparing for a business trip is the packing – what are you going to wear, and in which order? If you’re organised, you’ll do this a few days before, otherwise it’ll be an 11pm-on-the-night-before job.
How many pairs of pants do I take? Do I need a smart shirt or just a polo shirt? Do I really need four pairs of shoes? Why has my suitcase suddenly become extremely small?
There are so many questions, and SO LITTLE TIME TO ANSWER THEM. You have to wake up at 4am tomorrow to get to the airport nice and early.
2) Trying to find your passport:
For some reason, whenever you’re going on a trip – whether it be for business or for pleasure – you always look for your passport last.
Therefore, why is it, that out of everything, you can never find it?
It’s always put in a draw in a desk in the back room of the shed…or something. Well, that’s where you thought you put it before you find out that someone else has put it into a random bag in the attic (which you didn’t know existed) or has it under the microwave in the kitchen.
Whenever you’re looking for your passport, someone else always finds it – your partner, housemate, dog…
Once you’re packed, and your passport is found, you’re ready to go. You can now either sleep or get moving to the airport.
3) Meeting the team at the airport:
You’ve got your suitcase, your ticket and your passport (plus a book for the plane), and you’ve got your taxi or train to the airport.
Next up, you need to find your team (or colleague) – that’s unless you’re going alone, and then you’ll just be looking for the departure board, and your gate.
Once you’re through security, the questions start spiralling around your head: how long should you leave before you turn up to the gate? Have you got time to get breakfast? Do you really need that book from WH Smith? Why do you always feel inclined to buy new headphones?
It’s time to relax, and wait for your flight and plane to be ready.
4) Having a pint in the bar:
Sometimes, to calm your nerves before the big flight, you take a sip of an ice cold beer (or glass of wine). This will happen no matter what time of day it is – 5am or 7pm.
Once you’ve had your drink, you make your way to the gate and prepare to board the plane, and one conundrum remains unsolved: why do people queue to board the plane when we’ve all got seats anyway?
Surely, if you have your ticket and your seat, you don’t need to get on the plane first? Never mind – time to plug into your Spotify and pop your favourite album on.
5) Entering your hotel room for the first time:
Once your plane has landed (or your train has arrived), you make your way up to the hotel. Unfortunately, you didn’t get a choice in your booking, but Andrea from Accounts booked you a double room with en-suite bathroom, as she’s a big fan of you.
You check in at reception, get your key and take your baggage up to your door. The excitement is too much – you can’t wait to open that door and see how big the bed is. Will the TV be a 48″ or a 50″? Will you have a bath AND shower? Does it include a balcony?
What are you waiting for? OPEN THAT DOOR.
The moment you open the door is a mix between joy and utter fear. The bed and TV are huge, you have both a bath and shower, but the interior design is awful – who chose these carpets and wallpaper?
6) The meeting:
You’ve got an amazing hotel room (with awful colours), you’re in a different place to your normal office, and, secretly, you don’t have to do your normal hours.
However – it’s now time for the reason you’re there: the meeting.
Your outfit is tweaked, you have your largest smile on, and your hand shake and opening line (which you practised in the mirror this morning) are both ready – it’s time to do business!
As you rock up to the meeting room, you think about your commission which could come out of the other side of this, and get ready to make it BIG.
Your meeting is finished, and the client is happy. You’ve taken a big sigh of relief and you can now prepare for the evening ahead.
Now the fun can begin – it’s time to be wined and dined by (or wine and dine) your hosts, with all the local cuisine you can handle. Will you go for sushi or steak? How many drinks is too many? Can you make your way through the entire table of 16 people and say hello to each and every one? It’s worth a try.
8) Career laughing:
In every work situation, this is something that always happens.
Your client tells a joke which really isn’t funny, but you have to laugh because you want to keep the client (and your job). It’s not a true laugh, it’s not a big laugh but the technical term is “career laugh”.
Remember, you want to keep everyone happy and after tonight, you won’t have to laugh at the same joke ever again (until the next time).
9) Getting too drunk at dinner:
Uh oh. No matter how hard you try – you keep being fed wine, or vodka, or absinthe and you end up having one too many. Gulp.
Your head is going to hurt a lot in the morning and you better be careful what you say, as you don’t want to ruin all the hard work you did with your career laugh.
Let’s try to enjoy (and remember) the rest of the evening.
10) Sleeping in the cosy bed:
The hard work is over – you made it to your meeting, you did the deal, you entertained at dinner and you’ve had a fantastic day.
For one night, you’re away from all distractions – your partner, your pet, that truck that always drives past at 1am – and you can enjoy a big comfy bed to yourself, courtesy of someone else.
How will you sleep? Starfish is the way forward, surely?
11) Waking up hoping you said nothing that will get you fired:
Uh oh. Your head feels like it’s filled with lead, and your eyes don’t want to open.
Did I really say that? Dare I return to work? Dare I ever leave this hotel room? Nope, back to sleep. What a great trip.
Disclaimer: this article is obviously a bit of fun, and is not influenced by any real-life business trip or client.