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Business travel sounds really glamorous -- until you actually have do it. Going abroad to negotiate a deal is less about seeing the sights, and more about sitting in a conference room all day. And here's a little hint: Conference rooms all look the same no matter what country you're in.
Now that we've given you some clarity on the reality of the situation, here are our top five how to's for making the most of your first, or your next, business trip.
1. Travel Light
This is not the time to explore your fashion personality. Check the weather for the locale and pack only what you need. Many luggage companies offer efficient carry-on suitcases that will fit a business suit and leave you enough space for everything else.
2. Study the Culture
Don't visit another country without doing a little research into how things are done there. You don't want to offend or insult anyone inadvertently -- especially a client or someone on the other end of a deal. This is your chance to finally meet the people you've been emailing and talking to on conference calls. Building upon, and solidifying these relationships, will make your work that much easier.
3. Be Prepared
Use your time on that eleven-hour flight to prepare and create objectives for the trip. Chances are, if you're traveling so far it's a method of last resort and you have your work cut out for you. Don't come back empty-handed.
4. Work Out
If you don't work out regularly, you may skip to #5. If you do work out regularly, you may want to consider packing your running shoes. Most hotels that your company will book for you will have gym facilities. Working out will help create a sense of regularity in your schedule, and what else are you going to do when you're awake at 4:30 am because of jet lag?
5. Sweets for the Sweet
Chances are you're not going to have time to sightsee or shop, but you should always bring something back to your special someone who hauls out to the airport to pick you up. It doesn't have to be much. It even can be a box of sweets from the airport -- something, anything that you can't find here. You'd be surprised, but it's the little things that go a long way.
With these tips in you back pocket your next trip should be a breeze. Now, if only we knew how to get through customs quickly ...