Meeting business partners, new interesting people, learning about trends, sharing your knowledge and ideas, having fun at offsite events, meeting locals, discovering new places. Make sure to get the most out of your business trips. Here are 10 tips that might be helpful:
1. Pick the right events which are relevant to your business. Remember that time spent networking means time not spent building your product. Striking a balance between the two is important. Learn who else will be attending the event and start networking one or two weeks prior to event. Remember to do follow-ups. Focus on meeting people rather than watching presentations. I use these tips for relationship hunting by Elouafiq Ali.
2. Do not waste money on travel. Book tickets in advance. I use the GoEuro app to find bus, train, flight connections. Flixbus is my favorite company when it comes to affordable bus travel. Low cost airlines are also a good solution to cheaply get from A to B within Europe. Use car pooling services if you are a bit flexible. France’s BlaBlacar ridesharing company expanded across Europe. Now, it is no problem anymore to find ride shares between major European cities.
3. Do not waste money on expensive accommodation. Unless conference organizers cover accommodation, there is no need to spend much on a hotel. You will not spend much time in your hotel room, anyway. You will be busy out networking, or having fun in the city. Use Airbnb, or HotelTonight to get last minute deals at great hotels for one night. You can also couchsurf with people who share their homes. This will turn your trip into a truly social experience.
4. After your business event, take some time to meet local business communities. I use Startuptravels, a good database of entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts in over 160 countries.
6. Have fun in the city – ask your local friends to recommend you a good tour guide. Sign up for free tours. You pay after the show and you get often better services compared to commercial or city-sponsored pre-paid tours. I use Stay.com social city guides. You can create city guides with friends. It works offline on your phone. Tripomatic Trip Planner is also good.
7. Travel light. Be disciplined and strategic with what you choose to take along. Do not bring anything you will not use every day. Travel is about the experience, not what you bring with you. Use some tips from this list of travel hacking resources. Nomadic Matt shows some good travel hacks.
8. Use conference app (if there is one) to discover attendees and speakers. Follow the event’s hashtag on Twitter and arrange meetings. I use SIM Orange Mundo GO Europe for reliable and cheap data connection. You will get 100 MB data within a calendar day for €1 in the EU/EEA. For each 100 MB more, another €1 will be charged.
9. Download Uber, mytaxi, Lyft, or alternative transportation apps available in your destination before arriving. Conference organizers often offer discount codes, free rides.
10. Do not forget your daily rituals. I do Headspace meditation and swim if possible every morning. Every evening, I plan the next day and write something to my “gratitude diary”. And last but not least: Do not forget to call your family every day.