Making business travel arrangements is something that most people will have to do many times over the course of their career, but for those who are new to the process, it can seem intimidating and confusing. More than that, making thoughtful, well-planned arrangements can help to reduce stress and make the business trip more productive. When making arrangements for a trip, consider following these steps.
Prepare a Preliminary Itinerary
With most business trips, at least a portion of the time that is spent at the destination will be thoroughly scheduled. For example, a traveler may be attending a conference or convention, or he or she may have numerous meetings with different people across town planned. Everything from the location of the hotel to the flight times that are selected should be based around the schedule, so it is important to develop this schedule before making travel arrangements.
Look for Flight Times at Convenient Times
The flight times that are selected for a business trip are critical. Most people may have a busy schedule at home and may want to leave as late as possible and arrive back home as soon as possible. However, when the flight times are too close to the scheduled meetings, convention times or other activities planned for the trip, there is a chance of increased stress during the trip. This is because many flights will be delayed, postponed or canceled altogether. It is best to make plans to arrive the evening before the scheduled events commence if possible, and this will give the traveler ample time to arrive in town, get settled and rest before the activities commence. Likewise, stress can be reduced on the return trip when there is time for a meal, a change of clothes and more before rushing to catch the flight back home.
Consider Trip Packages
With business travel arrangements, there may be less pressure to find a great deal than if a traveler is making personal travel plans. However, most business travel arrangements will need to be approved by the company or business first, so it is wise to shop around to find the best deal available. Trip packages are often more affordable, and they may make it more convenient to plan the entire trip.
Reserve a Car
In some cities, reserving a car is not necessary, but car travel continues to be one of the most convenient and fastest ways to travel in most cities. In some towns like Atlanta or New York City, simply taking a shuttle or taxi to the hotel and walking, taking a taxi or using city transportation may be more convenient than taking a car. If you do need to reserve a car, make a car reservation as soon as possible. Some car rental options are limited at local airports, and travelers do not want to be without a car while traveling if this is the most convenient option available.
Find a Conveniently Located Hotel
A smart idea is to map the meeting destinations and to select a hotel that is centrally located between all of the destinations or to pick a hotel that is located close to where most of the meetings will be. This will reduce travel time between the hotel and meeting places, and this can reduce stress and make the trip more enjoyable. It can also minimize the chance of getting lost or stuck in traffic. Choosing a hotel that caters to business travelers with an early breakfast, wake-up calls, and wireless Internet access may be ideal as well.
Get Approval and Print Receipts
With most business travel plans, it is necessary to get internal approval from the business for the cost of major items such as the hotel and flight. Some businesses have a maximum dollar amount they allow employees to spend, and special approval may be needed if the cost exceeds the established limit. Be sure to print out receipts for the flight, hotel and more. With many business travel plans, the employee will pay for the cost of the trip out of pocket, and the business will reimburse the employee for the cost of the trip when receipts are provided. Keeping the receipts together makes this process easier.
Gather Travel Documents and Reservation Numbers Together
A final tip to follow when making business travel arrangements is to gather together all travel documents and reservation numbers. There may be reservation numbers for flights, the hotel, the rental car service and more. These may be printed out or stored in a cell phone. Well before the trip, gather personal identification, a passport if needed and other documentation as well.
Making plans for a business trip can seem confusing, but the process may be easier than it seems. When these tips are followed, the traveler may enjoy a more relaxed and productive trip without feeling unnecessarily stressed.
By Andre Bradley