18 July 2017 by Anna Staford
Being organised for a business trip is an art in itself. Unlike getting ready for a holiday, you may have little notice, no choice about the destination and you will certainly want to avoid stress and hassle. When travelling on business, there’s the added responsibility of representing your company overseas, so travel mistakes can have dire consequence.
Even the savviest business travellers can make a blunder, so here are some of the most common travel mistakes that even seasoned business travellers make:
If you are flying from one country to another, it is essential that you know the routing and whether there are any special visa requirements well in advance. This could jeopardise your entire trip (and any business deal) if you leave it too late. Worse still, you could find yourself being turned down at a border after you have travelled which will be embarrassing for you and your company and expensive.
Avoid travel itinerary issues disrupting business focus by taking the time to properly check the best route and schedule. Your company or travel agent may source the cheapest option, but beware of transfer times, risk of missing connections and expensive overnight stops near the airport if you opt for very early, or late flights. It may be better to pay the extra for a direct flight and reduce the risk of transport hiccups and extra stress.
Preparation is critical for a hassle-free business travel. Even if you have the luxury of someone else organizing your itinerary, take personal responsibility to check it in advance yourself – while there is still time to make changes. Check that meetings, calls, visits, networking events, contact details and locations are all set in your calendar and planner with invites issued (and accepted!).
This is one of the most common business travel mistakes. It’s essential to be diligent and not rely on your memory when keeping a record of expenses. You will save time in the long run because you just won’t remember all those small purchases after a few days, so don’t take the risk - especially because expenses do tend to pile up when travelling for a few days. Get a receipt for all purchases and make a note on the receipt as an aid memoire. Or better still, use the apps available such as Expensify, Concur Mobile, Shoebox, and Smart Receipts that help business travellers keep track of expenses.
Connecting with the rest of the world has never been easier with the availability of Skype and other online business meeting facilities. Aside from the time differences, connecting with people around the globe is now easy and cost effective. There will always be occasions where a face to face visit is necessary, however, it’s always worth exploring the remote meeting alternatives that will save time and money. What is the opportunity cost of being away? Can you accomplish the same goal through a video conference call? Is this the best time to go? Will it be advantageous to be face to face?
Being in a different city can add complications that you don’t need to consider in your usual lace of work. Are there good transport links? What is the traffic like? Will there be any public holidays that may impact travel? Make sure that you check the location of your hotel is convenient to where you have your business appointments. This is especially critical in busy cities like Paris, Madrid, Athens, where traffic is particularly bad. Check locations ahead of time and save addresses to your phone to avoid jeopardizing a tight schedule. It helps if you link to Google Maps and Waze traffic technology. That way, whether you are driving or if you have someone driving for you, you have directions on where you are heading.
The lead up to travel can be stressful and take a toll on your health. Try to maintain a healthy diet while away and get enough sleep, and rest time while on your business trip. Never travel without business travel insurance which will cover you in the event of an unforeseen medical emergency or if you lose your luggage.
Even as a seasoned traveler, don’t make the mistake of not checking your flight details thoroughly and in good time. Check departure times, terminal, and carrier luggage allowances otherwise it could be an expensive mistake. Business travel insurance for missed flights will cover you for trip cancellation and delays in certain circumstances, but not if you simply get something wrong!
Plan you trip in advance, visit the FCO website for health and safety abroad advice, and have a great trip!