3 Ways to Navigate Business Travel in a Post-Pandemic World
Work trips are back, but the travel landscape is still uncertain. Unexpected scenarios and challenges can put a serious and stressful wrench in your plans, but thoughtful preparation can help you travel easily and arrive ready to tackle the tasks at hand. These three considerations for business travel can bring you peace of mind.
Business travel is back on the runway, which is a relief to professionals tired of virtual conferences. However, it still hasn’t quite reached the momentum to match pre-pandemic corporate travel levels.
How long will it take for the coronavirus impact on business travel to simmer down? Probably another year or two. Delta predicted that by 2023, business flights would reach 70% of pre-COVID volume. Southwest Airlines felt that the return would happen sooner for domestic travel, which makes sense given the changing landscape of country-specific vaccination rules and requirements for travel. Those figures line up with 2021 U.S. Travel Association statistics that report a 70% decline in business travel spending.
For the present, business travelers are getting back into their seats, but they’re navigating a very different experience than before. Flights are diverted and canceled regularly, and the U.S. State Department continues to limit access to some countries. As such, plans can change at a moment’s notice.
As you return to the air and road to represent your company, you shouldn’t have to worry about unforeseen disruptions. By preparing (or overpreparing) for business travel today, you can work toward removing barriers and ensuring travel goes off without a hitch so you can focus on the tasks at hand upon arrival.
Tips for Alleviating Business Travel Anxiety
Business travelers don’t need to stick with meeting clients, partners, vendors, or colleagues via Zoom. They just need to put some measures into place to ensure hassle-free company trips. What are the best strategies business travelers can take to ease back into the process? Here’s where you should start:
- Understand restrictions in advance.
In the days before you travel, research restrictions on each country and city you plan to visit during your time abroad. Make sure to include layover towns and nations, as you may end up spending a few nights there if your flight is postponed or canceled.
It’s worth calling your host company’s HR or corporate travel department, too. They’ll know about local-level restrictions pertaining to both residents and foreign visitors. Most hotels will be eager to share everything from masking rules to vaccination expectations as well.
- Figure out when to exchange currency when traveling.
What makes having foreign money and knowing currency exchange options so crucial to business travelers? All it takes is one trip without foreign cash to understand why you want at least a little on hand. It’s nearly impossible to pay for a taxi or buy something at certain stores without local money. Not every vendor accepts credit cards or tap-and-pay features.
Of course, this brings up the issue of where to even find foreign currency at an affordable exchange rate. Thanks to the pandemic, airport kiosks might forever be a thing of the past, and everything from the disruption in supply routes to COVID-19 outbreaks has caused currency prices to fluctuate and increase rapidly.
Although you can wait until you get to your destination to find a money exchanger, you will likely pay up to 2% more than you would if you exchanged your currency at home. And if you try to get cash from a foreign ATM using your debit card, the fees can increase to 3%, plus a possible ATM usage fee on top of that.
It’s less expensive and time-consuming to order foreign money online and have it sent to your home or office before heading out. You’ll enjoy competitive travel currency exchange rates and know that you have a little paper money to use right away.
- Get all your health and self-care needs in order. Travel is an equal parts exhilarating and exposing experience. While a natural high comes with visiting a new locale or returning to an old favorite, you’re away from the safety net of local health providers and at-home self-care necessities.
Do you have seasonal allergies or need something extra to fly comfortably or sleep soundly? To find peace of mind on business trips, double-check that you’ve packed the medicines and treatments you need to be comfortable.
If those medications get misplaced or aren’t enough, don’t fret. Talk to your colleagues in the city you’re visiting and look for recommendations on pharmacies or physicians to help address your needs. The healthier you feel, the clearer-headed you’ll be when it’s time to work.
Traveling for business has been turbulent in the past two years, it’s true. However, there’s no reason you can’t begin to fold corporate travel back into your plans. Just do your homework beforehand and prepare well to travel and work comfortably.
Written by MJ Vogel.
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