Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of Godisable Jacob.
How To Prepare For Business Travel This Holiday Season
The fall season brought back the return of business travel for people around the world. Whether it’s a team offsite or a company-wide All Hands meeting, many travelers are gearing up to hit the skies for work this holiday season.
There are a few steps you can take to travel efficiently and comfortably during the holiday months. Although it’s one of the busiest travel times of the year, business travel this holiday season can be smooth, easy, and fun. While you should always practice diligent travel habits year-round, add a few of these pro tips as you travel for business this holiday season.
Book Your Plans In Advance
It’s exciting to prepare to head out of town on a business trip. Many people have been working from home since the pandemic. So in a remote work environment, linking up with your team in another city could be a good change of pace. However, nothing ruins a trip like last-minute preparations.
Be sure to communicate with your boss and team about flights, hotel arrangements, and the trip itinerary. Is the entire group staying at one hotel? Are you responsible for any of the costs associated with travel? Get clarity on all of these things and any other concerns before heading out of town.
Some companies use apps like TripActions to help organize corporate travel for their employees. Check-in with your boss to get on board with any tools that’ll help you plan your business travel plans in advance.
Depending on how long you’ll be traveling for business, take a good inventory of the items you’re packing. If you’ll only be traveling for a few days, there’s no reason to pack your entire wardrobe. By planning ahead, you should have an idea of your trip itinerary. Use this to map out what outfits you’ll wear for each planned occasion or meeting.
When traveling for business, some companies don’t pay for checked luggage. Packing light will help you fit your planned outfits into a carry-on-sized bag to avoid extra fees.
Create An Itinerary
Having an itinerary allows you to keep your trip organized from beginning to end. This is especially important during the holiday season when travel can be delayed, canceled, and overcrowded. Take time to plan your travel to and from the airport based on your flight times in advance. Your job may arrange travel for you, so it’s important to iron out all of the details.
Outlining your trip in an itinerary also allows you to plan out your after-work hours. Business travel doesn’t have to be all work and no play. You may want to invite your team members out for drinks or dinner. Or perhaps you have family or friends who live in town and you want to set up a time to visit them. Finetuning your travel itinerary for your business trips keeps you from missing opportunities or having unnecessary anxiety because you didn’t plan things out beforehand.
Make Sure Someone Covers Your Back While Traveling
Just because you’re traveling for business during the holiday season doesn’t mean your job stops relying on you. Most business trips happen during the work week. So if you’ll have a lapse in communication while traveling, be sure to communicate that with your boss or other team members.
It’s important to keep in mind that you’re traveling during the holiday season. So many employees will be on PTO during that time or spending time with loved ones. Be proactive by notifying your team of your business travel early to prevent confusion. If you have a heavy workload with tasks that need to be done, consider making an Out Of Office document detailing what needs to happen while you’re unavailable due to travel.
Layovers Are For Lounging
Due to the high volume of travelers funneling through airports, the holiday season is prime time for delayed flights and long layovers. Waiting can get exhausting and most airports aren’t set up for entertainment. If you’re a frequent traveler, this is a great opportunity to tap into lounge perks provided by your credit card company.
American Express, Citibank, Chase, and a few other companies offer airport lounge access with some of their premium travel credit cards. Depending on the lounge and airport location, travelers can enjoy buffets, free wifi, comfort, and privacy while they endure long layovers. If you want lounge access without needing a travel credit card, consider checking out LoungeBuddy where you can get passes for as low as $25.
Sign Up For PreCheck & CLEAR
Getting signed up for TSA PreCheck and CLEAR is one of the best decisions you can make when traveling for business during the holiday season. It only costs $85 and you won’t have to worry about taking off your shoes, unpacking your laptop, or liquids again.
The pass can be used at 180 US airports and typically gets travelers through TSA PreCheck in less than 10 minutes. Remember, holiday travel lines can get long so this is a great way to skip the lines especially if you’re in a hurry.
Don’t Fear Holiday Day Of Travel
While the holiday season is always a busy time, you’ll find many airports cleared out on the day of the actual holiday. These are excellent days to travel if you have no intention of being with family that day. Many travelers have already arrived at their destination by the day of so you’ll miss the holiday before-and-after rush.
Of course, you’ve called your bank to notify them of your travels so your debit cards won’t get shut down. But what happens if the ATMs at the airport or hotel aren’t working? Carrying cash keeps you covered in case of emergency when traveling for business. Be sure to keep all of your receipts in case your job reimburses you later.
Remember to enjoy yourself when traveling for business this holiday season. It doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Be open-minded to spending time with your co-workers while out of town. If no one is down to hang out, consider looking into other activities and excursions outside of work hours. Life is about balance so be sure you get a manageable dose of work and enjoyment when traveling during the holidays.