If you are a frequent traveler, you may have noticed how some people make the most hectic and toughest of multi-city business trips seem like a walk in the park, while others fumble at even a weekend trip to a nearby location. Ever wondered what’s the secret to effective travel management? It is a well-prepared business travel itinerary – one that lets a professional maximize his/her time on the road, while also making time for some much needed relaxation and rejuvenation.
So how to prepare a business travel itinerary that lets nothing slip through the cracks? Here are four steps to get it right:
#1 Create travel itinerary templates, forms, and checklists: This may seem like a lot of work bit its well worth the effort, especially because once you have a format for these essentials, all your further trips are covered too.
- Traveler profile form: True to its name, it’s a document that lists profile details of all travellers – name (of person and organization both), location, contact number(s), employee ID, frequent flier number, airline/meal/seat preferences, etc.
- Traveler planning intake checklist: An exhaustive document carrying separate sections for travel arrangements (commercial/charter flight, departure and arrival airport with the flight and seat numbers, airline, and corresponding times), hotel accommodation, local transport, meeting/event/conference agenda and venue details, dining and sight-seeing reservations, foreign currency conversion, etc.
- Travel itinerary template: The final document that summarizes all planning details in an orderly fashion. You can download a variety of free templates available online – TripIt, for instance, is a great travel itinerary template that can be accessed from web, smartphone, or tablet, even if you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection while travelling. All you need to do is forward all your airline/hotel/transport confirmation mails to the TripIt app and it will automatically organize them all for you and even set alerts. If this sounds like too much work or you need a customized template for your unique needs, try a virtual assistant’s services, most of who are generally well trained on the job and can do it much quicker than you doing it by yourself.
Tip: A printed travel itinerary is always good to carry – internet connectivity still isn’t very reliable in many parts of the world.
#2 Plan ahead to get the best rates and meeting confirmations: A hastily prepared business travel itinerary is never a good way to go about it. Instead, schedule your itinerary at least a month in advance so you can get the best rates on airfare, hotels, local transport and sight-seeing tours. Do check the weather forecast in your destination so you can factor the same into planning and packing for the trip. Also, most c-suite executives are reachable only through their executive assistants, so you must contact them well in advance to secure confirmed meetings and finalize the agenda early on.
#3 Get the right currency: When you are on a business trip, having enough of the right currency to pay for local transport and other sundry expenses before you can make it to the hotel’s exchange counter is a vital part of travel management. Be sure to check in advance whether your ATM card will work in the destination country or you need to apply for a separate travel card with your bank.
#4 Spare some time for exploration: Inspite of having a well-prepared business travel itinerary, there are bound to be a few misses. Fret not – utilize the spare time to explore the culture, food, and places to see at your destination. The purpose of a travel itinerary is to keep you on track – it should not constrain you to prevent you from truly discovering places you visit.
Virtual assistants at Habiliss are trained travel management experts who help a variety of clients – from entrepreneurs, c-suite employees, to researchers, authors, and others to benefit from expert assistance on their business travels. Contact us to know more.