Tips for planning business travel

Business travel tends to be considerably more stressful than leisure travel. This is because there are so many things to think about and the journey itself is just the tip of the iceberg.

As well as being concerned about delays and similar inconveniences, the business traveller is preoccupied about making an excellent impression with the client or partner. So a high level of preparation is necessary to ensure that all goes according to plan and that the right impression is created. A properly planned business trip will allow the business traveller to concentrate as much as possible on the business aspect rather than on travel considerations.

Planning is important

Start making the plans as early as possible, to keep all the travel options open. This may not be possible if everything is left until the last minute. Times, locations and dates will need to be pinned down well in advance for this, and it’s even a good idea to actually arrive at the destination a day earlier than necessary, allowing a chance to unwind and acclimatise. Jet lag is something a business traveller needs to get over before any crucial meetings, as it can be like having a hangover.

Travel documents need to be checked to make sure they’re up to date, including a driving licence if it is intended to hire a car at the other end. Also, as business travel is often subject to last minute delays or changes in plan, refundable tickets should be procured wherever possible from an independent travel agent. Paying by credit card will increase purchasing power and will often provide warranties, travel insurance and other advantages.

What to take

Depending on the length of the trip, a couple of outfits along with an alarm clock usually suffices, and a laptop or notebook for keeping in touch, and a mobile phone. Mountains of socks and underwear will only take up space and these can usually be picked up locally if required. Enough local currency or travellers’ cheques need to be in there as well.

Getting around

A rental car, incidentally, should be secured ahead of the trip even if it’s unlikely that it will be required. It should come with an unlimited miles package, and cancellation fees can be checked in advance. If it’s likely that a rental car will be used at the destination, then maps of the area should be checked out and marked with the locations of relevant airports, hotels and other venues. The rental arrangement should be cancelled only upon arrival, when it is certain that there is no need for it.

Presentation equipment

If the business trip involves, for example, a presentation that requires bulky items of equipment or other kit that cannot be easily packed in a bag, this should be sent on ahead through a service that guarantees next day delivery.  Alternatively ask your hotel to hire the equipment for you or book it if they already have the facilities available.

A checklist drawn up before the trip will make sure that nothing is overlooked at the last minute, and it’s always a good idea to pack backups such as an additional outfit and an extra flash drive and lists of contact details in case anything goes astray.

The day before setting off, the airline’s website should be checked for travel status, and a call to the service desk is recommended too, just in case the website has not been updated.