As I sat and waited for hours in various airports this past weekend to get back home to Seattle, I noticed the amount of people who were traveling for business.  It is pretty easy to spot this particular group of travelers by their sharp business attire, nice roller bags and laptops readily available.  I was lucky enough to be seated by a few of these travelers, and gained an understanding of the importance of preparing for business trips after listening to some unfortunate business travel tales.  From a woman who was forced to rush to a department store right after her flight so she would have something appropriate to wear to her interview because her checked baggage was lost, to a man who needed to grab a toothbrush so his client wouldn’t have to suffer from smelling his bad breath at a meeting later that day, it quickly became apparent that preparation for business travel can make or break your experience.

Whether you are traveling to meet with clients, going to an employee training or seeking employment, here are a few business trip tips and tricks to keep in mind.

1.Communicate clearly with the company that you are traveling for regarding who is making the travel arrangements as well as who will be financially responsible. While some companies prefer to book the trip themselves, others would rather have you book your travel, keep the receipts, and submit a form for reimbursement.

2.If you are booking your own travel but will be reimbursed, keep the expenses reasonable. Regardless of if you are interviewing or traveling for a company you already work for, staying in business class rather than first class will show the company that you aren’t trying to take advantage of them and wasting company money on frivolous expenses.

3.Don’t let poor time management stop you from a successful business trip; rather, arrive at the airport early on the day of your flight. Not only does it ensure that you make your flight, but it also gives you some time to regroup and prepare for the reason for your trip.  This is the time to look over notes, practice interview questions and answer work emails.

4.Bring your laptop/iPad/tablet charged and readily available during your trip. Pack these items in your carry on so you can use your travel time to work or prepare for your interview.

5.Don’t forget to pack the chargers that accompany those electronic devices in your carry on! In the event that your flight is delayed, you will want to have a way to work remotely, get in touch with coworkers, or alert your interviewer that you will need to push your interview back and the last thing that you need is for your phone battery to die mid conversation.

6.Make sure to keep hard copies of important documents (such as a copy of your resume) in your carry on. It’s not unusual for checked baggage to go missing, and having certain documents on hand can determine the success of your trip.

7.To avoid rushing into a meeting with a wrinkled outfit, bad breath or body odor, keep toiletries and a change of business clothing in your carry-on bag. That way, if your travel is delayed or checked baggage is lost, at least you can quickly freshen up before your meeting.

8.Although you should have your electronics and chargers in your carry on, it is always a good idea to travel with a pad of paper and a pencil in case you need to jot down some notes during your trip. This is also a smart idea in case technology fails you during your trip (which it always seems to do at the most inconvenient moments).

9.Throughout your travels, maintain a professional and friendly demeanor. Even though traveling can be tiring and aggravating, make sure that you treat those around you with respect.  After all, when you are on a business trip, you represent your company and you never know who you will meet during your travels!