Tips for the First-Time Business Traveler

By Michael Acampora on 11 July 2012
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As the summer gets underway, thousands of newly-minted graduates will be entering the workforce and some will accept positions that require travel.  For many, it will be their first experience traveling for business.

Many companies have rules and guidelines that govern business travel but few if any organizations offer “Business Travel 101” as part of new-employee orientation.  Rather than leave it to chance, we’ve prepared a guide to your first business trip, including tips, dos and don’ts, and general guidelines.


After receiving a travel assignment, the first question on most new business travelers’ minds will be what to pack. In order to properly prepare for the trip, the best place to start is with your schedule or given itinerary. For any business lunches or dinners, bring appropriate attire, and always try to lean to the more formal end. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed for these types of events.

If part of your schedule involves an activity such as golfing or driving a car on a track, dressing comfortably and casually is appropriate.  This does not necessarily mean you should fill your bag with sandals and shorts, but you also do not want to be the person at a casual lunch at the golf course or country club who’s wearing a suit.

In addition to packing the obvious (clothes, phone, laptop, chargers, etc.), there are a few other items that are handy to have along on a business trip. Bring a small pad and pen with you just in case – sometimes you need to take quick notes, but won’t want to whip out and plug in your laptop or tablet. When it comes to packing clothing, see our packing tips from experts.


Expenses on a business trip can be a tricky subject, and one that should be discussed before departing for your journey. Speaking to your boss, or manager, is common protocol, and will set the guidelines for spending on your trip. Sometimes, you will be furnished with a per diem allowance, other times you will expense everything after the fact.

Certain things, such as typical meals (i.e. not fine dining) should be reimbursed, as will transportation to and from the airport.  Find out if your company requires the use of  a specific car service or mandates yellow cabs. It is also important to hold onto any receipts for your expenditures, and it is often required to submit them in order to be reimbursed. As long as you steer clear from taking advantage (and this will be very obvious), you won’t have to worry about paying out of pocket for most expenses on your trip.

Click here to continue to Page 2Networking and 14 Tips for the Newly-Minted Business Traveler

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