In the United States, business travel is relatively routine. Every year, Americans travel 405 million times for business, and about 1.1 million people are traveling for business every day. Unfortunately, a good number of them are making some serious mistakes.
Unlike personal travel, which should allow travelers plenty of time to pack and budget appropriately — as well as relax and enjoy the experience — business travel tends to be fast and stressful, which makes it rife for costly and irksome errors. Here are some of the big and small missteps that can occur over the course of business travel and what businesses can do to stop them.
Big Mistake: Incorrect Reservation Details
Rarely do business travelers make their own reservations. Much more frequently, they delegate this time-consuming task to assistants and administrators, who might have less than a week to coordinate flights, accommodations, transportation, and more. In the mad rush to secure everything a business professional needs to reach their destination and accomplish their goals, details can slip through the cracks. Unfortunately, the ultimate result can be missed flights, inadequate accommodations, untrustworthy transportation and worse.
Business travelers should double and triple-check the details of their travel reservations before they embark on any step of their journey. Whether they made the reservations themselves or they assigned the task to a member of their team, travelers should verify that they are headed to the right destinations at the right times, that they know where they are staying and for how long, and that any additional reservations — dinner or events, for example — have been confirmed.
Big Mistake: Blowing the Travel Budget
Most of the expenses associated with business travel are covered by a professional’s employer. Companies can deduct travel-related costs to reduce their corporate taxes, but even so, most organizations do not want to pay more than they need to for their employees to achieve their goals during business trips. Thus, business travelers have strict budgets on expenses like lodging and food — but not all travelers are aware of their limits.
Travelers should review their company’s travel policy before making reservations for their trip. Employers might take advantage of tools like Coupa Travel to simplify the management of travel-related spending. When all parties can understand and easily view the expenses associated with travel, it becomes much easier to control budgets and costs.
Small Mistake: Last-minute Reservations
Business travelers should try not to delay in making reservations. Plane seats, economical hotel rooms, and rental cars are popular among all travelers, and they can become unavailable weeks before the trip date. Thus, when a business professional is planning a trip at the last minute, they will likely need to devote more time to searching for available reservations that fit their criteria. Last-minute travel cannot always be avoided; some business trips are planned months in advance, but many professionals have a week or less to organize business travel. Still, when given the opportunity to make reservations weeks or months ahead of time, business travelers should not procrastinate.
Small Mistake: Eating Poorly
It is normal and even beneficial to indulge during personal trips when a traveler can relax and fully enjoy their destination. The same is not necessarily true for business travel. Most business trips are quick journeys with specific goals, during which travelers must focus on their tasks before returning home. Many business travelers endure a dozen or more business trips every year — and if they indulged during everyone, they might not ever achieve a feeling of health or wellness. Business travelers who can commit to eating healthy meals are likely to feel a greater sense of control, which will improve their attitude and their ability during their trip.
Medium Mistake: Tardiness
As mentioned many times above, business travelers have clear goals for their trips, which often involve important meetings with important people. Getting to these meetings on time helps professionals make positive impressions, which will typically make their goals easier to achieve. While the tribulations of travel do not always allow travelers to reach their destinations on time, business professionals should nevertheless keep watch on the clock to prevent tardiness as much as possible.
Though the internet has reduced the need for business travel in many circumstances, there remain hundreds of millions of business professionals who travel every year. Avoiding the mistakes listed above will make business trips easier and more enjoyable for all of them.