Different types of travellers and what you can learn from them
Just as we have different personalities and work styles, we tend to have a travel type. Whether you have a calendar of planned travel or jump on a flight at the last minute; if you enjoy the experience or can’t look past the negatives, Marina Wood has seen it all.
Marina was a Travel Manager for nine years and is now the Training and Customer Experience Leader at Flight Centre Business Travel. Here, Marina provides an insight into different types of travellers and what you can learn from each of them.
The Go-Getter is organised, from booking early to having all their movements mapped out. They enjoy the challenges of travelling for work and thrive on finding their way around new cities. They might be a veteran of work travel who loves the lifestyle or an up-and-comer who is embracing the opportunities.
"A lot of people who enjoy travelling for work can find being stuck at their desk quite boring. The buzz of getting away from the 9-5 and being in different cities is quite exciting for this type of traveller," says Marina.
Learn from The Go-Getter: plan ahead and make the most of every opportunity to work and travel. Got some time before your meeting? Look up what’s around the venue to check out. Or plan a dinner to catch up with friends who live in the city you’re visiting. Scheduling in downtime is also acceptable if you’re keen for a break after a long day. It’s all about embracing the freedom you have while travelling.
The Tech-Savvy Traveller
The Tech-Savvy Traveller uses technology to make the most of their work travel. Think: checking in via an app, getting traffic and weather updates online, booking transfers with the tap of a finger…you get the idea. They even plan ahead by downloading podcasts or their favourite Netflix programs to binge on during their long-haul flights (this comes in handy when there’s no in-flight entertainment!).
“Most travel services are available online now so it’s not surprising that tech-savvy travellers are able to use technology throughout their whole travel experience. Even off-line bookings made for you by your Travel Manager can be synced to your app. And if you’re environmentally conscious like me, having your boarding passes and itineraries electronically is a great option,” says Marina.
Learn from The Tech-Savvy Travellers: find a trip management app that works for you, like TripCase, and consolidate all your bookings and itineraries for your trip. You’ll also get real-time updates and notifications, such as flight delays or gate changes, weather conditions and transport services.
The Frequent Flyer
The Frequent Flyer is on the road more than they’re at home. They’ve got work travel down-pat. They might be a veteran of work travel or well on their way with the km’s they’re clocking up.
“Frequent travellers are those travelling once or twice a week for work, but even those travelling once per fortnight can be catching enough domestic flights to reach Platinum status. Make sure you’re getting the benefits that come with that much travel: earlier flights when available, priority check in, first on the plane and storing luggage above your seat – these things all add up to save you time when you’ve got somewhere to get to,” says Marina.
Learn from The Frequent Flyer: work out the best system for staying connected with those at home. It can be lonely to be away so much, so connect with an app like WhatsApp that uses WIFi and check in with your loved ones every day, even if you’re only away for a night or two.
The Reluctant Traveller
The Reluctant Traveller dreads work travel. They focus on the negatives of the experience: flight delays, airline food, stuffy hotels, long meetings, isolation. It can be lonely, but what makes an experience more bearable is connecting with people.
“The nature of business means you often have to be at certain places at certain times, so you can’t always do the little things you might want to do. I much prefer to travel with a colleague so that I have someone to share experiences with. If you’re not travelling with someone, reach out to a friend in the city you’re visiting or chat with people you come into contact with, like other delegates,” says Marina.
Learn from The Reluctant Traveller: Rather than taking a leaf out of the Reluctant Traveller’s book, flip around your thinking to highlight the benefits where you can. Is your flight delayed? Catch up on some work so you have more downtime when you’re home. Not a fan of your hotel? Get out and explore the city instead.
The Last-Minute Traveller
The Last-Minute Traveller leaves everything to the last minute, especially booking flights and hotels. They might be disorganised, or the nature of their work is such that their need to travel is decided at the last minute.
“Booking in the week of travel is considered ‘last minute’. We’ve had people call us to book a flight on their way to the airport. This only takes us a minute to process, so nothing is impossible, but it does come down to how much you’re willing to pay. Often leaving things to the last minute means that prices and available options aren’t as good for the traveller. But for those who travel regularly, this can often just be the nature of the beast,” says Marina.
Learn from The Last-Minute Traveller: book as soon as you know you’ve got to travel. If that’s on the way to the plane, then so be it. But if you’ve got time, lock in the best price and your preferred options by booking as early as you can.
The Bleisure Seeker
The Bleisure Seeker jumps at the chance to travel for work so they can add some leisure travel while they’re on the road. They love exploring new places but are equally excited by finding something new in a familiar city.
“Combining some leisure travel with work travel is very common these days. Staff are taking advantage of the opportunity of being somewhere new to add a few extra days and explore, while businesses are concerned about their staff’s comfort and enjoyment, so if that means allowing people to extend their trip and do something for themselves while there, they are often willing to support that,” says Marina.
Learn from The Bleisure Seeker: Mix some leisure with your business travel. If you can add a couple of days on either end to explore, great! If not, seek out a unique experience that you wouldn’t normally do. See if there’s an event, show or shop that you can visit that plays into your interests.
So, which travel type are you? Or are you a combination of two or three, or four? Regardless of your most regular travel style, there are tips you can take on board from others to make work travel more efficient, exciting and enjoyable.