Business trips are an excellent chance to meet new clients and spread brand awareness. Employees on the trip also have opportunities to sightsee and absorb the culture of a new location.
However, business trips can be complex. The planning process is intricate, with many details from beginning to end — especially if the trip is international. These complications can add unnecessary stress to an already tedious affair. Trip planners should prep as much as possible to make their travels stress-free.
Notifying the Bank
One of the first tasks business leaders should complete is notifying the bank of their trip. This advice applies to international and domestic travel. Access to debit and credit cards is essential on any trip, so trip planners should contact their bank or credit card company and notify them of upcoming travel. Providing the dates, destinations and card information helps the bank know whether to freeze assets due to fraud.
Nearly 65% of Americans have been victims of credit card fraud, so financial institutions heavily emphasize safety with bank cards. Many banks mandate their customers notify them of business trips. Company leaders should consider getting a travel card. Many institutions waive foreign transaction fees and offer other incentives for acquiring these cards. Logistics professionals who often travel internationally benefit from these features.
Saving Time at the Airport
Business trips often have tight itineraries with can’t-miss deadlines and critical meetings. These obligations underscore the importance of having everything run smoothly in the airport. The last thing business travelers need is a missed flight. Flights to international destinations may only run once daily, so being on time at the airport is critical.
One of the most time-consuming parts of travel is security checks. Professionals can save a lot of time by applying for PreCheck with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Research shows 89% of PreCheck users waited five minutes or less for their security screenings.
Sometimes, departure and arrival times are out of the travelers’ control. A late arrival could lead to these employees being late for meetings and other obligations. One way to make up for lost time is to schedule transportation in advance. This preparation means a taxi will be ready at the airport, or the employees will have public transportation tickets upon arrival. Travelers can also present their boarding passes on their phones if they lose their documents.
Accounting for Jet Lag
Traveling from Chicago to New York City is easy because the time difference is only an hour. However, Chicago to Tokyo has a 14-hour time difference, so the average person will feel out of sorts when their flight arrives. Jet lag is a legitimate problem — especially when travelers go from east to west. Businesses should give their employees flexibility and account for jet lag.
Planners should encourage their employees to adjust their sleep schedules on the days before traveling. Being alert and productive on these trips is imperative, so employees should have a flexible schedule to account for jet lag. The plan should include a day or two to adjust to local time on the trip and at least one day of rest when returning home.
Reading the Rental Insurance Agreement
Business trips often require employees to reserve rental cars. These vehicles are convenient when traveling to locations with limited public transportation. Laws require renters to purchase liability insurance, so it’s essential to read the terms and conditions for the company and see what’s covered. Some rental companies make drivers pay out of pocket — even if the incidents weren’t their fault.
Reading the terms and conditions is also essential to ensure employees abide by the rules. For example, most companies require drivers to be 25 or older to operate the vehicles. Also, most agencies don’t permit renters to cross international borders without prior authorization. Rental companies may allow drivers to drive into a country if they pay a fee and notify beforehand. Crossing the border without approval could lead to legal troubles for the renters.
International travel could mean being in locations with weaker cybersecurity laws. Business travelers often bring electronic devices with sensitive information, so protecting them is critical. Research shows cybercrime costs the world $6 trillion annually, so focusing on cybersecurity is worthwhile for companies.
Before departing, employees must check their devices for updates and ensure they have the latest security patches. Then travelers should encrypt all of the devices in case thieves do get a hold of sensitive data. Hotels and other public places likely have public Wi-Fi, so patrons should use virtual private networks (VPNs) and ensure their connection is secure before using the internet for business.
Meetings and presentations may occur in hotel conference rooms and unfamiliar places. It’s wise to bring power strips and adapters to ensure employees can charge devices like laptops and tablets. The hotel may have limited working electrical outlets, so power strips are an excellent backup plan for peace of mind.
Business trips require constant access to technological devices — primarily for safety and contacting the company headquarters back home. Travelers need to ensure portability with their devices in a couple of ways.
First, the trip planners should provide employees with portable chargers for the trip. These travelers may be away from the hotel for long stretches without access to an electrical outlet. They need to have a portable charger to ensure their devices can charge no matter where they are.
Next, employees must ensure they have portability with their files. The internet may be unreliable in the hotel or wherever travelers go, so business leaders should allow their employees to access specific documents and other materials offline for presentations or conferences.
Using Downtime Wisely
Some companies give employees flexibility on business trips and allow time for themselves. Employees may visit Japan, France or Argentina for the first time and want to see the sites while focusing on business. Business leaders should encourage employees to use their downtime wisely and have fun.
Organizations should use business trips to promote mindfulness while traveling and having enlightening experiences. For example, business leaders could give employees a travel journal to record their thoughts while sightseeing. The travelers will return with incredible stories to tell their co-workers and family while seeing a boost in morale.
Traveling With Efficiency in Mind
Business trips are an exciting time for employees. They’ll see new parts of the world and meet other industry professionals. However, these trips can induce anxiety if planners don’t make the proper arrangements.
Getting through security and ensuring electronics work overseas can be challenging. Businesses should equip their employees with these seven tips for stress-free travel.