Why is Business Travel Planning Important?
Most of our readers may be inclined to skip right over this section. I’ll admit it may seem intuitive to give importance to your travel plans; however travel planning should go far beyond buying a plane ticket and booking a hotel.
Poor trip planning or making assumptions about your pending travel can be a critical mistake. The seasoned traveler can be just as guilty as the novice at overlooking small details which can cause significant delays.
Make the most of your travel planning experience. Start well in advance and when properly done trip planning will ultimately save you time and money.
Business Travel Gadgets.com provides the absolute best business travel planning tools available on the market today. Review the many options for organizing your trip in advance; I promise you that proper planning will lead to a more enjoyable and successful business trip.
Create a Basic Travel Itinerary
BTG recommends that you begin your travel planning with a basic itinerary. As you get further along in the planning stages, you will be creating a more detailed itinerary. So for the purposes of this step you should include the following:
- Where you are going
- When you need to be there
- Preferences for transportation and accomodations
- Preferences for meals
- Special accommodations, if any
- Business meeting times and locations
- Supplies and Equipment required
You will build on this basic travel itinerary as you progress, so don’t over think this. It helps to visualize yourself going through each step of the trip and make notes along the way.
Accommodations for Transport and Stay
These are some of the more critical aspects of planning your trip. Second only to the business goals you plan to achieve, having a place to stay, a way to get there and a way home are very important. A seasoned traveler may have these nailed down. Most veteran travelers already have a favorite hotel chain, a preferred airline, rental car service and perhaps even a favorite restaurant. For the rest of us, some research may be required.
A few factors you should consider when selecting your lodging are: price, safety, location, reviews and amenities. You can find the full list of hotel selection essentials on our “Selecting the Right Hotel” page. Of course you will want to stay in the vicinity of the business or businesses you are visiting, but a little longer drive in exchange for a much better hotel experience may be an option. You may also want to consider asking your business contact for hotel suggestions.
Price is likely to be a factor when selecting an airline, rental car service, restaurants and everything else about your travel. So for now we will consider price a to be a known element of our travel planning decision making. Rest assured, Business Travel Gadgets will guide you toward the best values in business travel.
Selecting an airline will likely begin with finding flights that are available when you need them. Additionally, you will want to consider direct flights or non-stops versus layovers, the airlines safety record, in-flight services and of course customer reviews. You can find much more about airline selection on our “Selecting the Right Airline” page.
I find that people often have a preferred rental car service. One that they use often, have a customer rewards program with or just simply enjoy their commercials. In any case, I recommend that you have your rental car arranged for in advance. Beyond that it is more about the type of car that you will select and less about the service company itself. I do highly recommend that you get involved with a rewards program and stick with a company you are comfortable with.
Make your Reservations
Now that you have selected your preferred services, it is time to make reservations. And there is an art to making reservations. And we will go into great detail regarding reservations on our “Become a Reservation Expert” page.
For now, it is only important that you make them. Make reservations for everything you plan to do for which reservations can be made. Reserve your airline tickets, hotel, car meals, entertainment, your seats to the Opera, anything you plan to do… make reservations.
Research your Destination Thoroughly
What is going on around here? I recall a business trip in which I ended up in a town where a Fireman’s Convention was being held. Fire engines where everywhere. And I must say that fireman sure do know how to blow off steam (pun intended). Anyway, know what is going on at your destination. Check the local calendar of events for the areas you plan to visit.
As mentioned, checking the local Calendar of events can also provide potential “after work hours” plans. If you are entertaining clients during your trip, be sure to understand the interests of your guest and plan accordingly.
A very valuable tool for researching a destination is Google Maps. The satellite images that Google Maps provides can help you to determine everything from a parking spot to travel routes and even neighborhood you should avoid. Enter your hotels address and view the surrounding area with 3D high definition clarity. You will be familiar with the area while having never been there. I highly recommend utilizing this exercise.
Check the Weather Often
Here in the Mid-Atlantic the weather can change in an instant. You’ve heard the saying “If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes,” well that’s here. So check the local weather for your destination and check it right before you leave. Be prepared for the anticipated weather and never forget to bring rain gear.
Give the weather the attention it deserves. I recall a business trip when “props” where part of our presentation. One of our “props” was a candle and the temperature was above 100 degrees Fahrenheit at our destination. We threw the luggage in the trunk and when it came time for our presentation… No candle, just a puddle of wax. Think about the weather.
Gather your Travel Documents
Think passport! No, I mean that right now “Think Passport”. Even if you are traveling within your own country, checking the status of your passport is never a bad idea. Of all the travel documents needed, your passport will take the longest to get or get updated, so do it now.
So let’s review a comprehensive list of travel documents that you may need for your upcoming business travel:
Passport – As mentioned above, a valid and current passport may be required, particularly if traveling outside of the USA. Passports are a generally accepted form of identification, so having your passport handy when travelling is a sound practice to follow.
Travel Insurance – Insurance documents are an often overlooked travel document. We have used the general title of travel insurance for this topic, but packing your medical, automobile and trip protection insurance documents are an important trip preparation step.
Foreign Currency – This is a step deserving of some detailed research. First, I should mention that if currency exchange is a step you want to take, you should seriously consider doing while you are in the United States.
Air Tickets – Confirmed return air ticket. A one-way air ticket will be accepted only for students or working professionals (Student Visa or Work Visa holders), as well as dependents of the working professionals.
This post is intended to be a general overview for business travel planning. Business Travel Gadgets has provided links to more detailed pages concerning most of the sections of this post.
In addition, you will find every form of business travel checklist available within the pages of this website. Planning is the key to your travel success.