There are lots of reasons for small business owners to hit the road: meetings with clients, customers and investors; trips to conferences and industry events; and speaking engagements are just a few of them.

Road trips are a great way to network, learn and get ideas for growing your business. They can be fun and exciting when they go right, but just one little hitch can ruin the entire trip. So follow these tips for making life easier and more enjoyable on the road.

1. Call ahead to get the lay of the land.

When you make your hotel reservation, ask about amenities that matter to you. Do you need a pool and exercise facility to keep up with your fitness training schedule? Do you need a list of restaurants in the area that can accommodate your dietary restrictions? Don’t wait until check-in to get answers to your questions. Calling ahead will help you eliminate the need to come up with Plan B on the fly.

2. Pack light.

If you travel frequently, you’re probably collecting an assortment of non-essentials in your luggage. Before you travel again, clean out your bags and re-evaluate what you bring with you on your trip. Are you packing non-essentials out of habit? Overstuffing makes it difficult to find the things you need quickly (and leads to lots of extra ironing). Don’t wait until the last minute to pack either — you might find yourself packing everything in sight in your haste to beat the clock. Or, on the flipside, you might end up forgetting the most important items.

3. Charge before you go.

All the devices you need to take with you should be at full power when you leave. Create a checklist if it helps, and pack all the necessary adapters and chargers so you can recharge your cell phone, laptop and other gear at the hotel each night. If you can, consider buying duplicate chargers that always stay in your bag or suitcase.

4. Make copies of important documents.

You should photocopy your identification and keep it in a separate location in case it is lost or stolen while you are on your trip. The items are much easier to replace when you’ve got a backup copy. It’s also a good idea to copy event itineraries and your hotel reservation confirmation.

5. Make a list.

Or make several of them. Using checklists will simplify your life and give you peace of mind. You don’t have to stop at packing checklists, either. Write down the tasks you need to accomplish before you leave, like picking up the dry cleaning, scheduling the pet sitter, asking the post office to hold your mail and whatever else you need to get done before you go.

When you’re away from home, even the smallest things can cause a lot of stress. By using these tips to plan ahead, you can have a more enjoyable trip and concentrate on your goals for the trip.

What are some of your best business travel tips?

Image credit: cnina