Globetrotters who traverse the world for business have many challenges to face. Frequent Travel tends to take both physical and psychological toll on business travellers. But with a little preparedness and forethought, it's possible to improve the quality of your travel experience and stay ahead of the curve. Our mission in business is to make sure you have your connections covered while on the road and an access to all the cool online business travel tools that make your life so much easier. This checklist will make sure that your next business travel will be less daunting and more rewarding, not forgetting the traditional means of preparing your travel for success.
Stay Connected, Stay Secure
The internet has become an inextricable part of our daily life. Staying connected and being up to date has a direct impact on productivity. Using the internet abroad can be quite expensive. You wouldn't want to make another headline about coming back home from a trip to a humongous bill. Media these days sing of the omnipresence of Wi-Fi. But bumping into public Wi-Fi right when you need is just the luck of the draw. But we can't really call it a luck, can we? Because the convenience of free Wi-Fi is accompanied by real threats. It leaves you susceptible to snooping. You wouldn't want to expose yourself to the vulnerabilities of the public Wi-Fi and put company's data at risk. In such situation, mobile hotspots come to your rescue. Hotspots not only keep you safe from eavesdropping but also proves to be a real lifesaver when it comes to fighting back Bill Shock. You can enjoy the internet on the go. With a right service provider, you can even splurge in the data and luxuriate in the faster speed with totally transparent cost. Depending upon the frequency of your travel and the connectivity requirement, invest in a Wi-Fi hotspot that best suits your need. Just make sure that all your travel destinations are available and it has ample data to get you covered. You don't have to be a silent roamer or reduce your data usage abroad when countless ways of easing your roaming pain have been unfolded already.
Notify your bank before travelling
You definitely wouldn’t want to be informed that your transaction has been declined, right when you are about to pay for your ride or pay your restaurant bill. Most of the banks keep track of your spending pattern and your transaction can be flagged as a suspicious activity if you use your card overseas without informing the bank about your travel plans. Prior notification is a good idea in order to avoid an unwanted interruption in the service. Bank-by-bank rules might differ, so it’s better to find out how yours deal in this matter. And make sure your contact details in the bank are updated. Nevertheless, O2 UK has recently launched a Travel Alert service which seems like a promising step towards wiping out credit card fraud.
Prepare For The Unexpected
It’s important to understand the vitality of preparedness before leaving your home. Don’t just look for what is expected to occur during the trip. All your itineraries are planned, meeting times are fixed, you’ve decided how you are going to make the most of your waiting hours and you have a perfect plan set ahead. But what about the unexpected events like accidents and medical emergencies? How prepared are you? Failure to anticipate such situations can lead to life-threatening and costly results. You need to think of the worst case scenarios and plan ahead to mitigate them if ever encountered. Getting medical care in a foreign country can add up to thousands of dollars. And it might take you forever to recover those expenses. But there is a way to minimize the cost and save you a lot of inconveniences. Before travelling, talk with your insurance company and make sure that the insurance policy covers your health and medical emergencies while overseas. You might not bother making insurance while travelling for a short span but remember, accidents occur when least expected. It’s also a good idea to know the emergency phone numbers of the country you are travelling to. Normally, travel insurance not just covers your emergency medical expenses but also lost or stolen luggage, cancellation costs and liabilities.
Take a Carry-On Challenge
Business travel packing list is not the same as your leisure trips. Even though the number of items that you carry depends upon the duration of your stay, it's always recommended to pack light. Think of all those things that you didn't even touch during your last trip. Master your mix-and-match attire skills. Carry-on is the best answer to your smart packing. Invest in a good carry-on that meets the airline (that you are likely to fly often) requirement. It saves you the hassle of checking in your luggage and you don't need to worry about your luggage being delayed or lost - traveller's worst nightmare. You can leave the airport confidently, sidestepping the jadedness of waiting at the carousel.
Dress For Success
Now, who wouldn’t love to get a free flight upgrade? It’s not a commonplace to get a surprise upgrade, nor are there any sure cut ways leading to a free upgrade. But some tactics can be followed to increase your chances. Travel during quiet times, be loyal to an airline, get early, get late, be nice, talk politely, ask directly - and many more ways have been revealed by travellers that have opened them the door to first class. Being a business traveller, the best way for you may be just to look like one. If the flight is looking for someone to upgrade, they will most definitely turn to the one who seems to belong there. Sometimes we get tempted by comfort wears when it comes to long haul flights. But shorts and flip-flops are definitely not going to land you in the first class. If you want to try your luck for a free upgrade, work your part and dress up. Anything to get out of that economy class is worth a shot. There’s nothing to lose after all.
Be The Airport Ninja
You cannot be a pro jet-setter if you are not equipped well to vanquish the airport turmoil. Exploit some room in your smartphone and fit in some more apps that will help you become an airport pundit. GateGuru and iFly Airport Guide are two most popular apps when it comes to easily navigating around the hundreds of airports around the globe. Along with the detailed airport and terminal maps, they provide you with the information about the restaurants, shops, parking options and other available airport amenities that will save you a lot of time and energy. Additionally, GateGuru also informs you of the waiting time at the security checkpoints. If you are a frequent traveller, you can download LoungeBuddy app for finding lounges in over 500 international airports. It claims to be an answer to finding a place to relax and be productive. FlightBoard is one app that turns your iPhone into the arrival and departure board for any airport in the world. It ensures that you never miss your flight and impedes the prospect of being stranded in an airport.
Manage Your Business Card Mayhem
Business cards are still in the trend when it comes to demonstrating professionalism and increase networking. If you are the person who frequents the trade events and business conferences, you surely return home with a pocket full of those business cards in the hope of creating a business lead and connection in the future. But the thing about the tangible piece of paper is that it tends to get lost. And sometimes your busy schedule inhibits you from entering those contacts to your CRM program or phone contact list. And one day you find yourself rummaging in through the mess of your drawer in order to find one important contact you had hurriedly tossed inside. Instead of going through this exasperating situation, you can let your smartphone do the smart thing for you. There are many business card scanning apps that easily transfer the contact information from the business card to your phone and saves the contact details in the apps' database that can be easily accessed whenever needed. Easy. Right? No more walking around with the bulging pocket; full of business cards and no more entering the information manually in the outlook. Business Card Reader, Camcard, ScanBizCards, just to name a few.
Claim Business Travel Expenses on Tax Return
It's true that your business related travel expenses are tax deductible. However, there are many factors that determine the deductible expenses. A person travelling away from his tax home for a temporary work assignment is entitled to business travel tax deduction. Be careful not to be lavish with your expenses as such expenses are not considered tax deductible. Expenses must strictly meet general business expense requirement. List of claimable work related expenses incurred as an employee may vary depending upon the country of residence.
Digitize Your Travel Expenses
One of the headaches of business travel is filing the travel expense receipts for reimbursement. If you want repayment for your work-related expenses, you need to keep those maddening recipes safe in your pocket. Waiting till the last moment not only makes it harder to organize the receipts but also increases the possibility of misplacing them. Earlier, it was advised to keep a travel diary in order to minimise the errors. But with the evolution of mobile applications, there is a cornucopia of options for you to digitize your receipts. Now you can make your travel organised with the expense tracking apps like Expensify, Xpenditure or Shoeboxed. You just need to scan your receipt using your smartphone camera and the digital copy of the receipt is stored in the app for safe keeping. Some apps make the report submitting, even more, easier by extracting and organizing the information from the picture. You can now get rid of those nasty papers and focus on your mission with a peace of mind.
We hope that you found this checklist informative. If you liked what you read, subscribe to our newsletter below for more information on the essentials of making life easier on the road. Our objective is to help you stay on the top of your game no matter where you go.
- Chandani @Uros