Today’s guest author, Mike Neumann, is a frequent business traveler. Check out his tips on how to keep sane – and organized – with a hectic travel schedule.
I travel frequently for client work, and most often, the travel is international. I’ve traveled to Nice, France for a day, and around the world for a month. Each trip has its own differences, but some things are always the same. I’ll try to focus on these common things to help you make any business trip a little less harried.
Visas – Check Carefully
If you’re fortunate to live within any of the VISA Waiver Program (VWP) countries, then your pre-travel complications are few. Keep in mind, however, that some countries, such as Australia, require an Electronic Travel Authority, which is a form of a “light” Visa. You will be denied boarding at your originating airport unless you can prove to the agent that you have completed an ETA or have a valid Visa in your passport. Visa processing can be expensive if you wait to the last minute. Plan as far ahead as possible. You’ll need to purchase your flight before you can apply for either a Visa or ETA.
The Week Before
Check the news and weather for the city that you are traveling to. As I write this, the ash plume from Eyjafjallajökull has grounded air travel in Europe for nearly a week. Some things are beyond planning.
I also try to begin my expense report at least a few days before I get to the airport. An empty template with trip purpose, airline ticket and mileage to/from airport, is a good start. I then try to do a brief update of expenses each evening during the trip.
I’ve been through a shoulder bag phase, a roller briefcase phase, and now I’m firmly in the backpack phase. Regardless of the bag type, I must be able to run my business out of it.
The most important thing about any of these bags is the arrangement of pockets. My favorite backpack was a conference ‘freebie’. It had a large, narrow, yet separate pocket for the computer that kept it from getting too much pressure from the rest of the bag’s contents. My current backpack has a nearly perfectly sized external pocket to hold my passport, boarding pass(s) and customs form.
We have a lot of electronics these days. Fortunately, most things don’t require external voltage conversion (our adapters handle it automatically), but the plugs are still an issue. I carry adapters for the destination country as well as connecting airports. Also, I prefer devices that have USB “Synch-and-charge” cables. I power my computer from the wall, and charge the phone, Bluetooth earbud, etc., all off of USB.
Whatever you plan to take, think light and essential. In the next post, we’ll cover the night before travel and arrival at your destination.
This is the 1st installment of a 3-part series, so check back for more tips from Mike.
About the Author
Mike never planned to launch Agile Set, LLC and consult to smart card clients worldwide. He planned to be an astronaut. Now, he is a Certified GlobalPlatform Trainer and editor of ISO/IEC 24727-3, a standard poised to influence future card and system architectures. After earning his MSME from Virginia Tech, Mike intended to play for a year, and then get serious. Seventeen years and two kids later, the serious part has yet to kick in.
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