Business travel, when arranged by a well trained and experienced corporate travel agency, should be incident free; plain sailing from departure to arrival.
It SHOULD be, but unfortunately every now and again things don’t go according to plan – birds on the runway that delay take off, the man in the flying lawn chair who’s in the flight path or a surprise snow storm in the middle of summer.
While you can’t control the flight path of a flock of fowl, or the man who’s looking to make his mark in the history books any more than you can control the weather, there are certain things that are in your control that make a huge difference when it comes to successful business travel. You’d be amazed how the little things really do make a huge difference: packing correctly, planning your layovers so that you can get some rest before you hit the ground running, hotel bookings that are near your centre of business, not having your cards blocked by the bank, not getting home to thousands of rands worth of data charges. The list goes on...
We have compiled a list of five of the most common mistakes made by business travellers, and what to do to avoid them:
- Pack Like a Pro – It’s not just about what you pack, it’s also about how you pack. So, for what to pack we recommend making a list before you start. Look at your itinerary, look at the weather forecast and then decide what you need. Pack clothes that can be worn day or night and that can be dressed up or down. Avoid items that crease easily. But how you pack your bag will not only determine what your clothes look like when they are unpacked but also how much you can fit into your bag. Rolling clothes is a very good trick – not only does it save space, but when done correctly can also keep items wrinkle free. That being said, you can’t roll pack a suit so invest in a good suit carrier for clothes that need hanging.
- Mind the Gap – Connecting flights can be the bane of even the most seasoned traveler’s existence. There is nothing worse than the hot sweat that starts thousands of kilometres up in the air when you realise that you don’t have enough time between your current flight landing and your next flight departing, especially when you have to take three different forms of transport to get from one airport terminal to the other. Book ample time between connecting flights just in case. You can always use the time to catch up on correspondence, do some duty-free shopping or catch up on some sleep. An experienced corporate travel agency will ensure that ‘minding the gap’ is not a problem for you!
- Hideaway Hotel – You are going on a business trip, not a spiritual retreat, so don’t want to be staying somewhere off the beaten track. Look at your schedule for the trip, chat to your travel consultant and make sure you book accommodation that is central, convenient and easy to access. You don’t want to spend hours in transit between meetings and appointments.
- Notify the authorities – It is essential to let your bank and your cell phone provider about your travels if you are leaving the country. You don’t want to arrive at your destination and have your card blocked because the bank thinks someone is using it fraudulently. It is also a good idea to ensure you have some of the local currency in cash, just in case. You should also notify your cell phone carrier, and probably turn off your data roaming. Data charges have been known to spiral out of control when you travel. Find a reliable local wi-fi spot or invest in a local sim card.
- Save Slips – Business trips often mean additional expenses that you might need to cover. Keep all your slips so that when you get back to the office you can do a quick and simple handover to the accounts department. Keep track of everything you spend.
While there isn’t much you can do about birds, unidentified flying garden chairs or whacky weather there are measures that both you and your travel consultant can take to ensure that the only inconveniences you suffer are those that are up in the air.