How to Plan Business Travel Effectively in 2023
With delayed flights, increased prices, and flu season in full swing, how can you avoid complications to ensure a smooth travel day? This article will discuss what you should consider prior to booking your next international business trip.
Business travel is on the upswing, but that doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing (or flying). Professionals who are on the road are running into many obstacles. Planning may be the best way to prevent unforeseeable mishaps.
What are some of the biggest travel-related complications? Foremost is the cost and unpredictability of flights. Carriers including American Airlines have canceled thousands of direct flights out of major international airports. As a result, the cost of flights and the frequency of long layovers have gone up. Because of these issues, many business trips have been delayed as well.
Not surprisingly, rental car expenses have been driven up in tandem with airline cancellations and delays. In fact, since 2020, rental car rates have gone up by 50%. This means it may be more efficient, in some cases, to use rideshares or taxis rather than rent vehicles.
On top of the factors listed above is the time of year. Winter is flu season and travel hotspots like train stations, airports, and bus depots are prime places for germs and viruses to spread. Nothing puts the brakes on a business excursion quicker than a case of bronchitis or RSV.
All of that to say, business travel can still be exhilarating and productive, even if your business travel itinerary includes many stops across different time zones. Here are some corporate travel best practices to help prevent travel mishaps.
- Map out your documentation needs.
Gathering the correct documentation to visit different countries can be one of the most frustrating tasks for global travelers. For instance, did you realize that Canada requires additional documentation if you’re going there for business travel? Many people are unfamiliar with what they need to prepare and bring in terms of paperwork.
It’s wise to consider all the places you’ll be going, as well as potential layover sites. Will you need something other than your passport? As part of your investigation, consider any health-related expectations, such as required and suggested vaccines. Case in point: The WHO recommends malaria vaccines if you’re going to certain parts of Brazil and Africa. You’ll want to be aware of this and talk with your doctor before leaving.
- Order foreign currency beforehand.
Many people wait until they get to the airport to buy foreign currency and end up spending way more than they should . A better way to ensure you have foreign money as soon as your plane lands is to order it online with a reputable company. The great thing about most online foreign currency sites is they work to find you the fairest, most transparent exchange rates possible and deliver currency right to your door.
Waiting until you get to a different country leaves you without cash for tips or taxis. That’s not good — particularly if your flight is delayed. Finding yourself on foreign soil in the middle of the night without any local currency can be dangerous and set back your business travel plans. Always be prepared by ordering your currency ahead of time.
- Remain flexible in booking your travel dates.
You can’t necessarily change the date of a conference, but maybe you could fly into the hosting city a couple of days earlier. Being flexible with departure and arrival times can translate to hundreds of dollars of difference in airline fares. Reduced spending can also help you save your company money for future business trips.
Don’t forget that you may be able to piggyback some personal recreation onto your business travel. “Bleisure” is among the most popular global business travel trends at the moment. So, if you have some PTO to use, you may be able to extend your visit at the beginning or the end to save money on flights and get some sightseeing in.
- Accept that delays may happen.
No matter how much you hope you won’t get stuck at the airport, you could wind up experiencing an exceptionally long layover or delay. When that occurs, you’ll be glad that you packed your favorite snacks, pre-loaded a movie onto your laptop or device, and bought yourself some awesome earbuds or headphones.
In the week leading up to your travel, keep tabs on the airlines and airports you’ll be traversing during your upcoming business trip. Have any changed their airline rules? Do you know the best way to pick up hotel vouchers, refunds, or extra credits if you’re canceled or bumped? Are there nap pods or micro-rooms like MinuteSuites you can “rent” to get a private snooze while waiting to board? Knowledge is power when you’re on the road and the unexpected occurs.
- Stay on top of corporate influencers’ best international business travel tips.
There are lots of travel influencers on social media. Each one covers different travel issues in different ways. Paying attention to these influencers can keep you in the know about everything from foreign exchange rates to golfing trends. For example, if you plan on playing a round of golf in New Zealand, you better arrive with clean clubs and shoes. But you might not know that without an influencer’s advice.
It’s honestly amazing all the tricks and insights you’ll gain from reading social media posts, listening to business travel podcasts, and watching global travel-focused videos. Be sure to jot down the ones most pertinent to your needs so you can structure your trip accordingly.
Traveling for work isn’t as simple as just hopping on a plane and seeing where the wind takes you. However, with a bit of upfront planning, you can have the time of your life while getting some work done, too.
Written by Robert Hoffman.
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