Answer by Mira Zaslove:
Great tips from& . They covered it. Just to add to their advice, I will tell an embarrassing story, that highlights what can go wrong if you don't follow some obvious business trip 101 tips (doesn't that sound like a tongue-twister?).
When I worked at(PBT), a biometrics payments start-up, I traveled a lot. The more I traveled, the lazier I got about it. Towards the end, I was breaking a lot of the rules.
I had a presentation scheduled for late Monday afternoon, just a short flight away. I had recently just started dating my husband, and didn't want to leave Sunday night. So I decided to take the first trip out Monday morning.
Because I was taking the flight alone, I figured I could wear comfy clothes, and just relax on the plane. I wore sweat pants, and neon crock flip-flops. I bought a tabloid magazine. I planned to just zone out for the quick flight. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I didn't want to work. I didn't want to do anything but read US weekly.
At the last minute I decided to check my bag, since I wouldn't need it on the flight. I usually worked on flights. But, after years of traveling and lugging around a ridiculously heavy bag, I figured it would be a relief to just have my little purse. I also didn't want to take my computer out at security. This was years ago, when you still had to turn on your laptop and start typing at security checkpoints to show it was, in fact, a computer.
And what was in that bag? My uniform, presentation, and computer. But actually the most important thing: bribes. Marketing had sent along a lot of freebies, including cute PBT hand-puppets, water bottles, notepads, backpacks, and t-shirts to give away during the presentation. These were always a big hit.
My flight was delayed. Which was ok. Afterall, I didn't have my big bag, so I was fine just hanging out at the Starbucks near the gate. My client and I were in touch. But as the flight kept getting delayed, we both began to panic a little. What if I missed the presentation? My boss's boss got a panicked call from the client and messaged me that I really should have taken the flight out Sunday night. Like the client had. Ouch, but ok.
The flight got out at a decent time. I landed, and had plenty of time to get to my hotel, take a shower, change, and get to the presentation. But you can probably guess what happened. They lost my bag! So yes, don't check your bag with everything you need on your trip.
I felt incredibly stupid telling the client, and my coworkers that I had checked my computer and powerpoint. I ended up buying an ill-fitting outfit on my way to the presentation. I had to wing it. Instead of a scripted powerpoint, I went with an informal Q&A session.
Thankfully, I knew the material, so I was able to deliver the message, but geez: it sucked! And of course, this embarrassment was easily avoidable with some common sense.