Business travel can be stressful. You’ve gotta book a flight, rent a car, find your way around a new city, and make a great first impression on your colleagues. This is a struggle for even the best multitaskers. Follow these five simple steps to avoid potential problems. #5 could save you from hours of trouble…
- Plan ahead.
When you’re traveling for fun, it’s okay to go with the flow. “Winging it” isn’t the most efficient way to travel, but it’s fun to explore a new area without a rigid plan.
When you’re traveling for business, you can’t afford to wing it. You have important meetings and appointments to keep. Without structure, your trip will quickly fall apart.
The closer you get to a departure date, the more expensive flights and hotel reservations will become. It’s the law of supply and demand in action. The less options are available, the more they are worth.
That said, don’t over-analyze the situation. Most travel websites like Expedia and Travelocity have a similar database. You could compare costs on twenty different websites, but it’s not worth the effort. Choose one or two sites and stick with those.
- Know your company’s policy.
There’s nothing worse than spending $200 on a hotel reservation and finding out you weren’t supposed to spend more than $100 later. Awkward conversations with your boss are the worst. Let’s prevent that! Before you do anything else, find out the answers to these questions:
- Do you receive a company credit card for travel expenses or will you be reimbursed later?
- How much are you approved to spend on food, hotel reservations, and other travel expenses?
- Are you required to keep receipts and a running list of expenses; if so, who receives this info?
- Keep all receipts and confirmations in one place.
My inbox is a mess. Know the feeling? If so, don’t just dump all of your receipts in there haphazardly. They’ll get buried by other emails and you’ll be frantically searching for your flight confirmation while you stand in line at the airport. Create a new folder for documents related to your trip. Put it all there. (You’ll thank me later!)
- Inform a close friend and/or co-worker of your plans.
Create an itinerary for your trip. Make sure to include details like departure/arrival times; hotel name, address, and phone number; time/location of important meetings; and anything else worth mentioning. Type all of this in a simple one page document. Print a copy for a friend, parent, partner, or co-worker. If you end up in an emergency situation, a loved one will be able to locate you and provide assistance.
- Consider renting a car (and other transportation options).
Taxis are not cost-effective for most travelers. Unless you’re only traveling a few miles, the fees will add up fast. Airport car services are more affordable for travelers who want to explore the entire city. Make sure to invest in insurance, because even a fender bender could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. If you’d rather not risk an accident, inquire about limo services, luxury passenger van, or any other transportation options that include a driver.
Imagine how much stress having a driver could save. You won’t have to worry about rush hour traffic, navigating an unknown area, operating an unfamiliar vehicle, or struggling to find a parking space. Your professional driver will take care of everything for you. You’ll save brain space that can be applied to perfecting your pitch, nailing your presentation, or accomplishing whatever you came here to do. Why merely rent a car when you can rent a driver, too?
Do you have any friends or colleagues who travel for business? If so, share this article on social media. They will appreciate the advice.