For executives in many industries, traveling for business used to be part of a normal day at work. Growing access to far-flung markets thanks to the Internet meant that a client meeting could take place anywhere between Houston and Helsinki. Covid-19 control measures may have put a temporary damper on business travel, but the world is beginning to gradually reopen. Here are some tips to prepare yourself for traveling in the future.
With business travelers previously making up around 12 percent of passengers but accounting for 75 percent of profits, airlines are understandably eager for business travel to resume. For business executives, the value of face-to-face communication for networking and customer relationship building cannot be replaced.
A survey by the Global Business Travel Association showed that 22 percent of members planned to resume domestic travel within the next 1-3 months, with 50 percent of employees somewhat or very willing to travel for work. Another encouraging result in the survey was that 16 percent of suppliers reported an increase in corporate traveler bookings.
I Believe I Can Fly
That said, air travel in the Covid-19 recovery era is still full of trials and traps. With frequent flight cancellations and new restrictions being put in place all the time, planning a trip via plane comes with a certain amount of uncertainty. Start by checking your airline or travel agency’s policies to ensure that they are flexible with flight changes, cancellations, and refunds.
In addition, standard insurance plans generally do not cover losses due to pandemic-related issues. Do your due diligence and read the fine print of your policy. Some insurance policies now provide ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage. These policies are generally more expensive but they do give you the ability to cancel your trip and receive a significant portion of your monetary investment back.
As most of us have gotten used to the new remote working routine, we demand a more integrated work-life experience. Travelers who tend to mix work with pleasure have now been given the rather zany moniker of bleisure travelers. By becoming a bleisure traveler, you can make the most of your time away. Extend your trip to accommodate leisure activities and see a little more of the world. Bring along your family member or partner as the add-on cost for an extra person in a hotel room is relatively affordable.
The younger generation of corporate travelers are also preferring to stay in unconventional accommodation over the usual business hotels. Boutique hotels and home-like accommodations with facilities such as kitchens are perfect when traveling with companions. For instance, when traveling with co-workers for a conference, it is much better value to rent a single house with multiple bedrooms than pay for several separate hotel rooms. Having the ability to cook for yourself also provides flexibility and familiarity while on the road.
On the Road Again
Given the stress involved in air travel these days, many people are choosing to drive to closer destinations instead. After being stuck mostly indoors for months on end, a business road trip may sound like a wonderful idea. However, there are still some essential pre-embarkation preparations to guarantee that you will have a smooth travel experience.
Needless to say, the priority is to do your research on your route. For example, if you are planning to travel across Texas via Interstate 10, you would look it up and discover that it is one of the most dangerous highways in the US. You do not want to be furiously searching for ‘car accident lawyer near me’ in the unlikely event that you have an incident, so do have a list of useful contact numbers saved in your phone. These numbers should include emergency medical services, roadside assist, and legal support for accidents.
Another useful consideration is the mobile Wi-Fi device. While you should definitely not be checking your emails and messages while at the wheel, having a good mobile Wi-Fi connection means that you can be productive even while you are in between places. Mobile Wi-Fi will help you stay updated on road conditions, caught up on critical work updates, and in touch with your loved ones no matter where you stop for a break.
Whether you are planning to fly or drive, looking after yourself over the course of travel is of utmost importance. Try to get plenty of rest and a good night’s sleep. Stay hydrated and eat well, making sure that you pack healthy snacks to keep your blood sugar steady during your journey. Try your very best to limit your alcohol intake. Wear comfortable, loose clothing that allows freedom of movement—you can always change to business attire on arrival.
Lastly, it is prudent to have copies of all major records. Make photocopies of identification cards, travel tickets, accommodation bookings, insurance information, and any other important documents. At the same time, back up crucial files from your computer to a flash drive. This way, you will be covered should you lose your wallet, mobile phone, or laptop somewhere along the way.
Leisure travel is rebounding across the US and business travel will not be far behind. As long as the travel and hospitality industry continues to emphasize traveler safety and service value, there will be motivation for businesses to venture out. Although the business travel experience will never be the same as before, it would be nice to shake hands in person again.