Business travel is slightly different from domestic travel. For one thing, you won’t have your family in tow, and for another, someone else is picking up the tab. However, business travel can often be more stressful because when things go wrong, it’s not just you and the family you need to worry about. If you miss an important client meeting because you overslept, it could be your job on the line.
In this article, we are going to discuss everything you need to know about business travel, and a few pitfalls to watch out for along the way.
Booking Cost-Effective Business Travel
If you work for a large company, you probably won’t be responsible for booking your business travel. That responsibility will lie with someone else, perhaps a secretary or a dedicated business travel manager. However, just because it isn’t you booking the flights, rental car, or hotel, you are still responsible for checking the details of the itinerary and ensuring your passport is in date (if applicable).
Always double check the dates and details of your trip. It will be your fault if you someone else books flights and they turn out to be on the wrong day because of incorrect information. It is expensive to change flights and if you travel in economy, it might not be possible to change the booking. Hotels are easier to change, but some operators charge a booking fee or have a no-cancellation policy.
Even if you do provide the correct information, mistakes can happen. Double-check itineraries for incorrect dates or times, and if you do spot any errors, notify the travel agent immediately.
If you are responsible for booking your own travel, it is even more important to pay attention to the detail. Read the T&Cs when booking flights and watch out for onerous cancellation policies and luggage guidelines. Look online for the cheapest prices and try to book in advance where possible. You can save money on flights, hotels, and rental cars by using discount codes and loyalty points to score cheap upgrades or freebies.
It is wise to use a business credit card to book all of your business travel, as it won’t be debited from your account immediately, which improves cash flow.
When booking hotels for business trips, think carefully about what you need for a stress-free trip. Cheap is not always cheerful. Cheap hotels are often miles from transport hubs, lack facilities, and are not very comfortable. You need to be on your A-game when traveling for business, so a good night’s sleep is essential.
Try and book a decent quality hotel. Hotels with business floors are often more appropriate, as they have free Wi-Fi and a business lounge with printers, fax machines, and free snacks and drinks. If you are trying to save money, take advantage of the free food and drink and give room service a miss.
Sign up for loyalty schemes and earn as many points as you can. The more you travel, the more points you will earn. Make sure your business travel agent has a record of any loyalty scheme you join, so they can ensure your trips earn the correct number of loyalty points.
You can use any loyalty points you earn to upgrade future flights or pay for flights, rental cars, hotels, and other things. Avios is a well-known travel loyalty scheme, but there are many more. Always join a scheme, even if you don’t anticipate flying with that airline again. Loyalty scheme members often enjoy free upgrades and are less likely to be kicked off an oversubscribed flight.
When Things Go Wrong
Sometimes, things go wrong. It’s all part of the fun of travel. Have contingency plans in place in case things do go wrong. Keep a credit card somewhere safe in case you lose your wallet or luggage, have a list of emergency telephone numbers, and always take out business travel insurance to cover all eventualities.
If you fly on Delta Airlines, check in advance how to claim compensation if your flight is delayed or canceled. A Delta Airlines compensation claim could help you recoup some of the costs if you miss an important client meeting because of airline issues. It is a lot easier to use a site like AirHelp than it is to make hundreds of calls to Delta. And when this is your business, time is money!
Planning an Itinerary
Plan your itinerary with care. Business travel can be very tiring, as you are usually expected to attend meetings back to back, meet with clients, even when you are jet lagged. Unless this is a high-pressure trip and you don’t have time to rest, try to include a rest day to help you recover from the trip. This is especially important if you are flying long-haul. Attending meetings is very hard when you have barely slept for 48-hours.
Try to enjoy your next business trip – and remember, it is OK to do some sight-seeing while you are there!