“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
― Abraham Lincoln
Preparing a Business Travel Itinerary
The quote above tells you everything you need to know about travel planning and creating a travel Itinerary. I promise you, when done properly the business travel itinerary will save you time, save you money and quite possibly be the difference between a successful business trip and a failed one.
Abraham Lincoln was a proponent for preparation. He has been credited with dozens of memorable quotes and the one above is my favorite. Additionally, I believe that the quote speaks volumes with respect to business travel preparation.
Utilizing a business travel itinerary not only organizes your travel plans, but allows you the opportunity to review your travel plans for missing agenda items, provides you with an hour by hour schedule and can even offer helpful reminders during your trip.
How to Create a Business Travel Itinerary
Use a BTG Business Travel Itinerary Template: At the bottom of this article BTG will offer several Free Business Travel Itinerary templates for you to choose from. These templates can be easily printed or stored electronically, which ever you prefer. Feel free to alter the templates in any way that suits your needs and all we ask in return is that you recommend us to other business travelers.
Prepare well in Advance: BTG suggests that you begin the itinerary process at least one month in advance. There are several reasons to get started early and “cost” is not the least of those reasons. Air fare, train tickets and even hotel reservations will be cheaper when booked in advance.
Additionally, preparing early will give you the opportunity to make changes, shop for better pricing and potentially avoid “no-vacancies” or “sold out” air flights. The advantages of booking your transportation and accommodation early are numerous, not the least of which are the best selection of seats, rooms and potential discounts.
Booking Flights and Accommodations: You should know by now that Business Travel Gadgets recommends Booking.com as your online travel agent and outlines exactly why we recommend the service in our “Benefits of Using Bookin.com” page.
The process behind using an online service for your travel needs is fairly clear. These services obtain better princing by grouping a large number of travelers and obtaining discounted pricing from airlines, hotels and car rental companies.
Once the reservations are made you can simply add them to your buisness trip itinerary along with the best times to leave for the given airport, train station or bus terminal.
Considerations when buying a plane ticket:
Airport Selection – Balance cost with convenience when selecting a departing and arrival airport. Obviously you may not have the flexibility to choose both, you can determine the best combination for your particular needs.
Familiarity with a given airport will be very helpful during a trip and should also be calculated into your selection. Remember to use Google Maps when needed to gain knowledge of an airports layout.
Ground Transport – Do not make assumptions regarding ground transport. Not every airport allows ride share and not every airport or hotel of complimentary shuttles. Keep in mind that Uber and Lyft are not the only ride share companies in the US or you may find yourself scrambling for a ride.
Schedule and Timing – Your time is valuable and we don’t always have extra hours built into our business travel plans or our life for that matter. Remain as flexible as possible and consider layovers, potential delays and wait times to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Airline Policy and Flights – Do not assume that all airlines are the same. There are significant differences between budget airlines and premium airlines. Always use cost as a determining factor when purchasing a seat, but make sure your specific needs are meet.
Consider direct flights, non-stops and lay-overs into your plans. Make sure that you understand what is involved with the flight start to finish. I once had a reader purchase a plane ticket from a local airport, only to find out she was to be bussed to another airport for her actual flight. This can be disconcerting at best, review your flight details carefully when making a choice.
Add Ground Transportation to your Itinerary
Getting a Rental Car? Your options for ground transport have increased dramatically with the advent of ride share companies. But this plethora of options should be counted with a increase in awareness.
Unless you are familiar with ride share, I would strongly consider a licensed transport company. And if you are choosing to utilize ride share be aware of the many pitfalls that this newer option presents, as outlined in this StreetsBlogUSA article.
Things to remember when using ride share:
- Confirm your destination thoroughly when requesting ride.
- Check the driver’s ratings and read the feedback before you confirm a pick up.
- Verify the identity of the driver and car before entering the vehicle.
- Confirm via driver’s photo, vehicle’s license plate, make and model of vehicle
- Sit in the back seat with view of driver and wear your seatbelt.
- Keep conversations about personal information to a minimum.
Additionally , be aware that ride share companies, like Uber and Lyft, have implemented “scheduled rides” and although I have not tried this feature, it sounds like a valuable tool, particularly for the ride to the airport.
Lastly, ride share app will allow you to schedule multiple stops during a single ride. So if you need to run into the convenience store for a quick coffee, I highly recoomend this feature.
Skiping the Ride Share, I’m Getting a Rental Car
If you choose to go the rental car route, BTG highly recommends Enterprise as our Rental Car Company of Choice. And here are more than a few reasons that we stand behind this recommendation:
Environmental Initiatives: Enterprise Rent-a-Car considers itself a leader in sustainability initiatives. To read more about their efforts which extend beyond a wide selection of electric, hybrid and fuel efficient cars…. Click Here.
Convenient locations: According to their website, “Enterprise Rent-A-Car operates more than 6,000 offices in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland and Germany. In the U.S., it has locations within 15 miles of 90 percent of the population.”
Diverse Selection of Vehicles: Enterprise offers an amazingly large selection of vehicles, they have everything including cars, SUVs, vans and trucks. You can choose anything from an economy car to a luxury car, compact SUV to a Jeep, minivan, cargo van or a full sized pickup truck.
Corporate and Loyalty Programs: Enterprise offers the full range of Business Car Rental Programs and Loyalty Programs. Their business plans include special rates, travel management services and long term rental plans and fleet services.
Enterprise also has four levels of Loyalty Programs; the levels are as follows:
- Enterprise Plus – Qualifying rentals needed: 0 to 5
- Enterprise Silver – Qualifying rentals needed: 6 to 11
- Enterprise Gold – Qualifying rentals needed: 12 rentals or 40 days
- Enterprise Platinum – Qualifying rentals needed: 24 rentals or 85 days
The Enterprise Loyalty Program allows the user to accumulate points and earn free rental days with no black out days from any where in the United States.
Let’s Summarize our Business Travel Itinerary progress so far..
At this point your travel itinereary should look something like this:
Arrange Business Contacts:
List all of your important appointments, including the dates, times and locations in order of their occurrence. Summarize the five Ws–who, what, where, when and why–for each entry on the itinerary so that you’re clear on every detail. Pull up an online map program, such as MapQuest, which allows you to set up a series of stops within one search, and print directions to guide you throughout the trip.
Check the weather forecast for the dates of your trip ahead of time in that location so that you can pack accordingly.