Netflix’s scandal-laden rom-com Ibiza may look like another Girls Trip, but it actually touches on a bigger topic: business travel. Depending on the gig, flying around the world for work may seem like the dopest perk ever or a headache that you’re really not into. Either way, there’s a learning curve that complements the added duty of representing your brand remotely. Here’s a cheat sheet.
Bring Your Own Cash
Treat business travel like a vacation—you’d never go to Jamaica with $50 in your pocket. Why? Because things can, and do, go wrong. Your corporate card may be declined due to no fault of your own. The car service your company arranged may have an issue. Your boss isn’t your parent—you can’t call and ask for money. Be prepared to handle whatever goes down and recoup your funds when you return. That reimbursement check is always lit.
Get Grown-Up Luggage
That duffle bag that’s been with you on every Spring Break and Memorial Day weekend in Cancun isn’t appropriate for professional travel. If—no, when—you run into colleagues or clients at the airport and hotel lobby you need to make a good impression, and that starts with what you’re wearing, how you’re interacting with staff and your luggage. If you have a corporate gig that means heading to your local department store or browsing online for a quality garment bag and/or weekender without any crazy prints.
Treat Your Corporate Card Like Limited Edition Jordans
Be careful with every step you take. Your boss and accounts payable department will comb over your purchases. Doing it big at the bar or treating friends who “happen to be in town” may not get flagged the first time, but won’t go unnoticed. Only whip out your card when you have to. Even more, review your reimbursement guidelines carefully to ensure you don’t overspend or expense ineligible items and end up having to re-pay your company—it’s not a good look.
Go Shopping—Or At Least to the Laundry and Cleaners
You always want to look on point when you’re working, but it’s important to step up your look when you’re meeting clients or presenting on behalf of a brand. This doesn’t mean you should stunt. Don’t take weathered attire. Have the ‘fits ready. Hotels may have issues with irons or dry cleaning services, so come with your basics prepped and fresh to avoid being stressed.
Skipping Business Meetings is a No-Go
The lack of direct eyes on you may make it tempting to sleep in or head to the pool instead of hitting up a meeting that seems insignificant. Don’t—even if your peers are skipping. It’s better to error on the side of being perceived as responsible than a flake. Plus, you never know who will call in, pop up or ask for a recap. Work first.
Your Hotel Is Enemy Territory
Everything you do in a hotel, from the time you walk in the door until you check out, is being monitored. Not only are there cameras everywhere, many companies have corporate relationships with brands they use for business travel, which means your habits will be reported. If you’re using a corporate card, rowdy or destructive behavior can and will be tracked and reported back to your company. Get into an argument, a lusty session or fight, or damage something and your boss will know.
Always Be the Least Drunk Person
Professional etiquette mandates that you dine and go to bars with your clients/colleagues on business travel. Here’s where things get tricky, folks will drink (and sometimes do drugs) while socializing. Engaging in legal activities is totally fine, the key is to stop way before you reach your limit. You may get teased for being a lightweight, but your presence allows you to network and your restraint prevents you from undermining your aspirations by getting too wasted. Stay in control.