7 Business Travel Blunders to Avoid

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Business travel sounds easy enough at first glance. A quick flight, some meetings coupled with some potentially enjoyable meals and then you’re back home. You know better though, that things don’t usually go smoothly. Your flight is delayed, you forgot to pack your phone charger, you’re in a rush and that’s when you suddenly realize a simple oversight on your part will amplify the mess. Read on to see how many of these business blunders you’ve experienced.

1. Paying with the wrong credit card

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You put your whole team up at a chain hotel such as Hyatt for a night. Everyone enjoyed dinner, and a couple drinks were thrown in. When it comes time to settle the bill, instead of breaking out your Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card from American Express credit card to earn 1 Starpoint per dollar and 5% cashback or even your Hyatt Visa to earn a minimum of 5 points per dollar, you pull out your wallet and offer up your Chase Disney Rewards card which only gives 1% rewards.

2. Overpacking

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I read somewhere that the average person returns back home from a trip with six full unworn outfits. Six. That’s a whole week! There are plenty of websites and blogs with solid packing advice if you need some guidance. At a minimum, your back and arms will thank you for not straining them as you lift your bag into the overhead bin.

3. Neglecting to check your phone plan before going overseas

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Once you’ve arrived at your international destination and you turn on your phone to make a single call or download your email the cost has probably already exceeded the amount you would have spent if you had called your carrier first. Usually it just takes a quick call (depending on wait times) to add on a temporary international calling or data plan. If you forget to call in advance, call the provider’s international number which will be free. They can add the plan right then and perhaps reverse any charges for anything you did immediately prior.

4. Forgetting to book a return flight

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It’s often a really good idea to book flights as one-way instead of round trip. Sometimes you can get lower fares plus there’s great flexibility allowing you to fly on a different airline or out of a different airport. If you don’t book them at the same time though it’s easy to forget to book the return flight home until just a few days out and flight prices have soared. Plus, some carrier like American often don’t have same-day saver awards so you might get stuck paying way too much.

4. Wearing uncomfortable shoes

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You might be spending most of your time sitting in chairs for meetings, but what about those sprints through the airport after unexpected gate or flight changes? Worse, you don’t want to arrive at the office with a limp because you wear too-small shoes that cut into your tender skin. While you’re at it, consider wearing compression socks.

5. Buying souvenirs at the beginning of your trip

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It’s admirable to think of little Susiekins or Bobby back at home, but transporting a life-sized stuffed crocodile around all week may cause some raised eyebrows or chuckles. Also, you might be so bent on not leaving the thing behind that you can’t focus on your work properly. A good rule of thumb – If it isn’t small enough to stash inside your luggage, wait until the end of your trip to purchase.

6. Not having your reservations easily accessible

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Not everyone has an assistant. You know you booked the hotel, but standing at the check-in counter the hotel can’t find your reservation and neither can you. There’s a sinking feeling in the back of your mind that maybe you booked a different hotel this time, because you stayed at that hotel last week and didn’t like the water pressure. Stay organized with Tripit for flights and hotels, print out your reservations, save them to a labeled folder in your email account, or use whatever system works seamlessly for you.

7. Forgetting to check that your reservations are all ticketed and confirmed

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Even though you may have done everything correct when reserving your hotel, car or flight it is still wise to check your bookings before you leave for your trip (preferably not the night before either). There may have been a schedule change, glitch in the booking or a cancellation altogether and it is best to find out about it ahead of time when you can still contact someone to fix it or make alternate arrangements.

Want more travel blunders? Click here to read some real-life horror stories.

How many of these travel blunders have I been guilty of? All of them at some point or another, except for not checking my phone plan. How about you?

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  1. Miami Gringo
    Reply

    30 years of business travel here, much of it international. I’ve probably done each of these but my two favorite screw-ups were

    1.) The time I forgot to pack underwear and more importantly socks. I flew with some sport socks on and when I went to get dressed the next day, those were the only socks I had (I handwashed them and used the hair drier) but they were really obvious under my suit pants during a 12 hour day. I also had to admit my mistake to my coworkers to explain why I wanted to stop at a men’s store in Mendoza Argentina while going from one meeting to another. It did not make a great impression.

    2.) The time I carefully booked the hotel, the meeting venue and several business social engagements in one city, then bought a ticket to another. I just spaced. And of course the ticket was non refundable / non changeable and I realized my mistake the day before the trip. I never told my employer about it and just ate the cost of the ticket rather than admit it.

    • Melinda
      Reply

      Oh my goodness Miami Gringo, those made me cringe and laugh and the same time. They’re easy mistakes to make too. Thanks for reading and sharing!

  2. Steve
    Reply

    i forgot to tell my credit card company I’d be in London for a week. Big business dinner, card declined.

    • Melinda
      Reply

      On no, how embarrassing Steve. Hopefully you were able to resolve it quickly or had a backup card so someone else didn’t have to step in (and get all those points/miles!). Thanks for reading!

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