Published: 19 Dec 2019
Updated: 28 Nov 2023
Category: Compass Tips

Top 10 Business Travel Tips for First-Timers


If your work is taking you abroad for the first time, this is for you. Business travel may not sound like the most intimidating thing, after all, you’re going to be gaining new experiences, broaden your horizon, and take a step up in your career.

However, don’t overlook the preparations that need to take place beforehand. A business traveller doesn’t just jet off with a laptop, documents, business outfits and daily necessities. There are other factors that needs to be considered.

Whether you’re looking for a 3-day business trip packing list or some first-time business travel tips, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some ideas that will help lighten the load as you get ready for your trip:

1. Never Over-Pack

The number one rule of business travel is to never over-pack. Bring only the bare essentials. One less thing you carry with you, is one less thing to worry about.
Additionally, try to go with a carry-on for your luggage, unless you’re going on a really long business trip. This is the surest way to know you won’t have to deal with luggage lost or delay.

2. Make a List

Outline what you’ll pack at home. Make a bullet list covering all the items you need, including the seemingly trivial items such as socks, a spare top, or earplugs to help you sleep. You’ll want to avoid having to make time and shop for things you could’ve easily brought. This will take up your time and potentially affect your schedule.
Plan the packing according to the number of days you’ll be away. Adjust it to a 2-day business trip packing list if you’re only going away for two days.

3. Find Where to Stay

If your company will arrange the accommodation for you during the trip, this is something you wouldn’t have to worry about. However, if you need to find your own place to stay, it is recommended to take care of it a few days or even weeks in advance. Depending on your company’s budget allocation, you can weigh your options from anywhere in the likes of Airbnb or

4. Stay Connected

You will want to make sure you’re connected at all times. Check if there is a guaranteed working Wi-Fi connection, regardless of whether your company booked your accommodation or if you are using homestays. If you need to stay in touch at all times, make sure you can enable roaming or get a pocket WiFi wherever necessary. This will come extra handy if you need to find directions, hire transport, make reservations and so forth.  

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5. Get a Local SIM Card

If roaming charges are too expensive and pocket WiFi devices are not an option, you might want to consider getting a local SIM Card. They are usually easy to find (start from the airport kiosks). Mark your number down and share it with the necessary contacts. This option will be seamless (though not essential) if you have a dual-SIM phone, and you won’t even have to import your contacts.

6. Learn About the Culture

Unless you’ve been to the location in question, you likely know little about the local customs and culture. Take the time to research the area and its history, and even business customs before setting off. Learning a couple of words or greetings from the local language, such as “hello”, “please”, “do you speak English”, and “thank you” can go a long way to help you communicate while abroad.

7. Get a Power Bank

Your phone may consume more battery power while you’re working abroad – you might find yourself constantly checking mails, replying messages, search for directions, and more. The last thing you want is for your phone battery to drain when you need it the most. Get a power bank – these days they are designed to be nifty, light, and convenient. For more charges, get at least a 10,000 mAh one.

8. Jot Down the Emergency Numbers

Bear in mind to keep the emergency numbers of the country you’re visiting, this can differ even by state or territory. Aside from the police, ambulance, or fire department, the numbers for car rentals, taxis, and embassies will come in handy. Alternatively, you may find all these necessary information in a business travel guide; try and get the latest copy for most updated numbers.

9. Consider the Jetlag

Jetlags can hit you when you least expect it. It can even occur after a short flight. Make plans with this in mind. You will need have a clear mind and be at your sharpest when you attend your business or work function, hence you should be well-rested. Try to reach a day or two prior to your work commitments in order to find your bearings and get on local time.

10. Be on Time

No matter where you travel to for work, punctuality is key in the world of business. Some cultures can find tardiness very disrespectful. Just to be safe, make sure you research the traffic conditions and commuting time from point A to point B, and leave at least 30 minutes earlier.

Bon Voyage!

If this is your first time going away on business, these business travel tips should help keep you in check. In short, you’d want to pack on time, pack light, and pack smart. We wish you success on your trip!


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