The business trip has its inherent dangers to navigate, and you’re typically concerned about work and not about the intricacies of the travel experience. In order to plan the most productive business trip without incident it’s important to plan appropriately so that work is your major concern and not travel hassles.
Step 1: Before the trip
Is there a pre-travel orientation or brief on company policies?
What about a rundown of what to expect once you arrive to your destination?
If not, you should take a closer look at the protective measures your company has in place to protect its travelers. This may include insurance, travel agencies and on the ground support.
Check with the Program Manager; they should have the details on the insurance policy and any additional steps the company takes to protect you while traveling for them. If not, check with the Human Resources director. For a barometer to know what you should have at a minimum, review a RoamRight travel policy designed for the road warrior. Typically, company policies do not cover lost luggage - this one element alone could be worth taking out your own coverage.
Step 2: Plan for the unexpected
Do not get caught off-guard. By doing a little research into the most common issues for travelers in the destination you will have a leg up on what to expect and how to avoid the pitfalls that others have experienced.
Step 3: Get proactive
Communications: Make sure your office and any emergency contacts back home have a means of contacting you in an emergency. Find and have on-hand the local embassy contact information if you’re traveling overseas. I also recommend signing up for the State Department’s STEP program if you leave the country.
The emergency: Know who to contact in the event of an emergency and how to notify your company that there has been an issue. Do you have a local connection? Is there a company that will handle your needs, or are you on your own?
Packing: Light is right. Ideally you should travel carry-on only but if you can’t, make sure to have a change of clothes in your carry-on in the event your luggage goes missing. You do not want to attend a important meeting wearing the same clothes you just traveled in.
Picking a hotel: Many times companies have specific hotel policies, but if you are allowed to choose your own there are a few things to keep in mind. Location is key when traveling for work since you will likely be short on time and need to make the most of every hour on the ground. Highly ranked hotels usually also have more business services as well as security. Do a little research and see whether or not the hotel’s neighborhood is in a safe area.
Consolidate your emergency information: Create a cheat sheet with emergency contact numbers, blood type, exchange rates and the overseas collect numbers for any credit cards you carry while on travel.
Other points to keep in mind
- Will you be driving? Some countries require drivers to have an International Drivers Permit (IDP), which are easy to get before you leave. If your work requires you to drive, check out this article on driving overseas before you go.
- Give your office a complete itinerary. Be sure to notify the local company manager, your family, and your stateside emergency contacts of your travel plans.
- Obtain the name, address and telephone numbers of the local office or offices you will be visiting.
- Withdraw a small amount of local currency if traveling overseas.
- Plan for emergency notification to you. Your family should have the following telephone numbers: U.S. Embassy, corporate security, local corporate office, U.S. Department of State, and the Red Cross.
- If you find that your company does not cover you to a level that you feel comfortable, then it is time to invest in your own policy. Since the company is footing the bill for flights and hotels, your main concern is for your own well being. Look for items such as emergency evacuation and lost luggage coverages that will put your mind at ease. It is a small price to pay for peace of mind. Instead of worrying about what happens to your luggage, you can get back to focusing on the reason you are traveling in the first place.
If you're a Road Warrior then take a peek at our special Business Travel Insurance plans!