When traveling for work, we need to be marvelously well-mannered and remember we're not only representing ourselves, but our bosses and our organizations too. Traveling can be such a treat but it can be a hassle when things go wrong – but whatever happens don’t be that person. The one who’s loud, obnoxious and unreasonable, without an ounce of self-awareness. We’ve all encountered that unfortunate individual.
Review our easy tips to help you put your most polished, polite foot forward by being respectful to others, and to yourself, on your next business trip.
Stay calm and travel on. Build a cushion into your schedule so you can always maintain your professional graciousness when any mishaps arise. Being early helps keep you from getting stressed, anxious and rude when you go off schedule. And because you have time to be so, you're more likely to be courteous and patient when dealing with individuals you encounter along your travels. Rude behavior and meltdowns are not a kind, professional look. If you need to convey your displeasure to someone – whether it be a rude fellow passenger or the ticket agent – do so politely. You get more flies with honey, not vinegar.
How you dress matters. With the amount of business travel going on you never know who you’re going to bump into at the train station or the airport. While you certainly want to travel in comfortable clothes, you should wear something that’s still professional– these two concepts aren't mutually exclusive. This tip is especially helpful if you’re headed directly to a meeting soon after you arrive. It can also be a lifesaver if your luggage gets lost. Layering will also help you stay comfortable temperature-wise. That means bringing a sweater or a wrap for cooler quarters. And, it goes without saying, keep your shoes on (unless you’re in first class with reclining chairs-beds on an overnight flight, then, lucky you!). Ladies, traveling in comfortable but chic flats will make travel easier (carry heels in a tote if going directly to a meeting).
Watch your volume. Don’t invade the auditory space of others with your voice or your electronics. Speaker-phone is not your friend in public and it’s rude to play videos or audio without earbuds, so others can hear. Speak quietly when on the phone.
Don’t speak out of school. As a professional, it’s important to protect your organization’s confidentiality and proprietary information. Don’t discuss sensitive business out in public so that others can hear and don’t do business online while using public wi-fi.
Don’t invade the space of others. We need not tell you that many of us are forced to travel in close quarters – no private corporate jets, yet! Please only use the space allocated to you. Don’t hog the arm-rest (the center seat owns both arm-rests), don’t put your feet up on the chair, arm-rest, or wall in front of you (we have seen all of these done) and don’t drape your hair over the back of your chair. People have strong feelings about the right to recline. In general, we find it most polite not to do so, except if you're on overnight trips where sleeping is expected. Space is tight! If you must recline, do so judiciously – and not for the entire flight. It’s considered polite to look behind you to make sure the person behind you doesn’t have a large lap top or food on their tray before you lean back. Then smile and say, “I’m going to recline for a bit if you don’t mind.” Most travelers would welcome that extra bit of consideration.
Don’t be an urban sherpa. Not invading the space of others also means don’t take so much baggage that you can’t control it. When you are bringing on carry-on luggage, be mindful not to hit others as you make your way down the aisle and when putting items in the overhead bins.
Be neat. When eating on long rides, remember to eat quietly, with your mouth closed and clean up your mess. Those seated nearby will thank you. And don’t get over-served with alcohol. Business trips are just that – business.
Happy travels! Have a marvelous week -