Posted: September 28, 2015

5 business trip etiquette rules to keep in mind
The rules of etiquette are particularly important when you're traveling for business.

It's important to follow social rules and etiquette when you're traveling for business. At your office, you have daily opportunities to prove you're a great person to have around. When you're traveling, each moment is far more important: Anything you do that's rude or thoughtless will leave the wrong impression. On the other hand, a trip free of faux pas will demonstrate your value. Here are five business travel etiquette tips: 

1. Research

Whenever you're heading out to a new city for work, do some research about the place you're visiting. This will benefit you in a number of ways, from planning the clothes you'll need for the weather to having topics of conversation to bring up with clients or colleagues. You don't need to become an expert: Just make sure you know enough that you would be able to answer basic questions about the area. 

Similarly, make sure you're ready for any meetings you'll have during your trip. Prepare as much as possible before you leave: Don't plan to make notes on the plane or in your hotel room. Assume there will be travel hiccups that might eat up any free time you had scheduled so if there are, you won't be forced to improvise. 

2. Pack light

Unless you're going to be out of town for a week or longer, you shouldn't need to pack any more than what will fit in your carry-on. You don't want to spend valuable time waiting for your suitcase to glide around on baggage claim, and those traveling with you don't, either. Bring only what you'll need, and leave anything extra at home.

3. Dress appropriately

Although you may dress in comfort clothes when you're traveling for leisure, business travel requires a more formal dress code – even on the plane. Again, don't assume you'll have time to change after you land. You don't have to fly in a full suit, but shoot for a business casual look when you head out to the airport. That way, if something comes up that requires you to rush straight from the plane, you won't show up in sweat pants. 

4. Manage your time well

Even though you'll probably want to explore the city you're visiting, remember that you're on a business trip. Anything business related should take priority – and that includes getting a good night's rest before important meetings. Resist the temptation to treat your schedule casually, the way you would if you were on vacation. 

Similarly, make an extra effort to be early for meetings and events by scheduling your trip with plenty of time between appointments. Some of these engagements might be your only chance to make an impression on an important client: Treat each and every one like it's your first and last impression.

5. Don't overindulge

There are a lot of opportunities to socialize on business trips, and drinks will probably be involved at some point. However, drinking too much can send a bad message, even if you're off the clock. Know your limits and don't pass them, or you may embarrass yourself and put an awkward tone on a professional relationship.

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