A travel assignment can be like a mini-adventure. You’re heading into new territory to interact with people you’ve never met. You’ll be eating different foods, sleeping in an unknown place, and navigating uncharted terrain.
Even if you’re not going far, you’ll still most likely be outside of your comfort zone. And while traveling for work can be fun, it can also be anxiety provoking. There are so many things to consider, especially when you are not just going on vacation–you are expected to demonstrate peak performance at your profession. So how do you plan for success? By doing just that—planning. With a little extra forethought, you can set the stage for a trip with minimal anxiety attached. Here are four steps for a well-planned travel assignment.
Step #1: Make a list.
All great planning starts with a good list. Start with a sheet of paper and just write down every single thing that you know needs to be done prior to, and on, your trip. Don’t worry about creating separate lists or categories, just get everything down to start with. Now that you have everything written down start to group different tasks into categories. For instance, things to pack, phone calls to make, etc. Then, create a spreadsheet on your computer with separate tabs for each category, or separate lists in one notebook. This will be a living list with items added and removed right up to your departure.
Step #2: Get your documents in order.
There is probably a document category on your list. Begin getting your required documentation in order well in advance of your departure, just in case you have track down a piece of information that you don’t have on hand. Check with your recruiter or the facility you’ll be working at about what you need to bring with you. Keep everything together in a single folder and scan each item into an electronic folder on your computer for backup.
Step #3: Organize housing.
The length of your travel assignment will determine your housing. Extended stay hotels, apartment sublets, or with friends or family are all popular options. Your recruiter will be an excellent resource as you line up housing from afar. Ask for recommendations on convenient locations with a minimal commute to where you’ll be working and go from there.
Step #4: Work out transportation.
Chances are, you don’t know your way around the city where you’ll be stationed for your travel assignment. Ease the discomfort that can come from navigating a new place with impeccable planning. Are you flying? Figure out how you’ll get to the airport and then to your housing. How will you get to work every day? Research public transit options now. Planning to drive? Get your car serviced and print maps in case your phone or GPS doesn’t get service. Think of every scenario that will require transportation and think it through, so that you can focus on what matters most when you get there—doing your job well.
These three steps should have you off to great start planning for your travel assignment. Start packing your bag and be sure to check your list often, including one last look before your depart. You’ll be well-prepared and ready to enjoy your work adventure.