Planning to jam-pack your next work trip to avoid staying overnight? It goes without saying that if you are going to fly to another city just for the day it’s likely to be a long one. So you will want to make it worth your while!
While it’s nice to travel light and be back with your family and in your own bed the same day, if you’re accustomed to more leisurely, overnight work trips, there are a few common pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. Here at FCBT, our team of Travel Managers are business travel experts, and understand just how important it is that your trip is not just comfortable and seamless, but also productive and achieves an ROI for your company.
As seasoned travellers ourselves, we know all the tricks of the trade. If you want to avoid having to make a second trip or spending the night to achieve everything, here are our top tips for maximising your time.
"BY FAILING TO PREPARE, YOU ARE PREPARING TO FAIL" - Benjamin Franklin
- When deciding which flight to book, factor in enough time to get to your first meeting. How long will it take to get to your meeting, and could there be traffic?
- Allow for delays. It’s not uncommon for flights to be delayed due to weather or other technical issues. If a 30 minute delay will ruin your tightly packed schedule, it’s best to give yourself a buffer and book an earlier flight, even if the extra half hour of sleep would be nice!
- If you’re not sure exactly what time you’ll be finished, better to book later than earlier and give yourself the time you need to accomplish everything. Some ticket types allow flexibility to move to an earlier available flight at no cost. Ask your Travel Manager for these options when planning your trip.
- Pre-book your seat when you're confirming your ticket where possible. If you wait until check-in to choose, you might find yourself less than ideally situated, in a middle seat, towards the back of the plane, costing you precious extra minutes when disembarking!
MISSED DEPARTURES WILL RUIN YOUR DAY - DON'T LOSE TIME GETTING TO YOUR FLIGHT
- How are you getting to the airport? If you’re going by taxi or private ride-share, pre-booking for a particular arrival time at your house saves delays (and the stress of) waiting for an available driver.
- If you’re driving yourself, have you considered where you’ll park - how long will it take you to find a park and get to the terminal, and how much will it cost? The cheapest private car parks are usually the furthest away.
- Our experts can pre-book private car transfers and airport parking for you, both of which can be expensed back to the company without you needing to pay upfront.
- If time is especially precious, it might be worth considering the valet services offered by some airports, airlines and parking facilities to shave a little extra off your total travel time.
- Save time by avoiding queues (and unnecessary contact with others) - check in online before you reach the airport. You can head straight to the gate if you don’t have luggage to check.
DON'T UNDERESTIMATE THE EFFECT YOUR SEAT & LUGGAGE CHOICE CAN HAVE ON YOUR SCHEDULE
- As any gold or platinum frequent flyer member will tell you, the closer you sit to the front, the quicker you get off and on your way
- Some airlines will also disembark from the rear as well, but it can be subject to weather and airport facilities so never guaranteed
- If every minute counts, it may be worth paying a fee to pre-book one of the first few rows when possible (that is if you’re not a high tiered frequent flyer with complimentary seat selection)
- It’s obvious, but take carry-on luggage only unless you need to transport large or dangerous items which can’t be taken in the cabin. You don’t want to be waiting another 15-20 minutes for checked baggage at the other end
- Small, soft carry-ons are best for the most time poor. If you can fit your baggage under the seat in front of you, then you won’t be forced to use an overhead locker many rows behind you if it is full when you board, costing you an extra 5-10 mins when disembarking. This might also mean you have extra time to grab a takeaway coffee while others hurry to board! Just don’t pick a seat in the very front row where bags have to go overhead
GETTING AROUND ON ARRIVAL
- Have you considered the quickest way to get to your first destination? Sometimes driving is more direct than public transport, but peak hour traffic congestion could set you back.
- If taking a taxi, queues can be long during busy arrival periods. Again, pre-booking a service could save you a lot of time, and could be expensed back to your business directly if done via your Travel Manager
- If you need to visit numerous locations outside of a CBD, it might make sense to hire a car for the day to avoid searching and waiting for taxis. Car rental offers greater social distance and can also be charged directly back to your company via your Travel Management Company
- Some rental companies even offer express pick up and drop offs - ask your Travel Manager for more info.
MEETINGS: WHERE MINUTES ARE TAKEN & HOURS ARE LOST
- Try to reconfirm all your meetings the day before to avoid travelling unnecessarily if someone has to cancel, or allowing you to make alternative arrangements in place
- Consider where all of your meetings are, and try to plan in a logical fashion, geographically, if possible
- Bring people to you - save yourself additional travel time by starting as soon as you land. Some airlines, airports and nearby hotels offer private meeting and conference rooms, so you can conduct have your face to face without having to go much further than the arrivals lounge. Your travel manager can help you to source and book these facilities
- And for increased productivity, don’t undervalue allowing yourself a little time in between meetings. This will ensure you have enough time to reflect and prepare for the next one!
REMEMBER TO REFUEL YOUR BODY...
- Time is precious, but eating is essential, especially if you want to maintain focus and energy
- Scheduling a lunch meeting is a great way to kill two birds with one stone, as is ordering in for a working lunch
- Or if you like to eat on the run, consider if you have room for some light snacks in your carry-on for grazing
....AND YOUR TECH!
- Be prepared - make sure all your devices are fully charged the night before
- Make room for chargers if you know your devices won’t last a full day. Hunting for a compatible phone charger is not a good use of anyone’s time, and nothing kills productivity faster than a dead laptop!