How to deal with business travel’s biggest mishaps
Business trips can be extremely exciting for employees seeking new experiences and new opportunities. Trips should be carefully planned well in advance for maximum opportunities as well as cheaper travel deals.
Within any travel experience, things can go wrong, however when problems occur when travelling for leisure there is normally more flexibility within the plans and the negative impacts of the mishaps are reduced. When travelling for business, short trips carefully planned, well in advance to time and budget can easily be derailed by inconveniences that are out of the control of the traveller.
Below are 3 of the biggest business travel mishaps – how to prepare for them and deal with the aftermath.
1. Lost luggage
Lost luggage is not only extremely inconvenient but can also be quite upsetting as personal items can be lost. When luggage is lost every situation is different. Sometimes the luggage is found quickly and returned, for some others it can take a while to receive the luggage and in some unfortunate circumstances the luggage is never found.
In most cases, travel insurance should be able to cover the monetary value loss and allow for emergency purchasing of items however this does not make up for the inconvenience of rebuying as well as the loss of sentimental personal possessions.
Lost luggage, no matter the scenario, is extremely inconvenient for a business traveller on a tight schedule. A travelling business professional may need specific clothes for a big meeting, may need specific documents for a presentation or electrical devices that will allow them to work abroad.
In order to reduce the negative impacts of lost luggage, try to wear business meeting appropriate clothing on the plane when possible (for shorter flights) in case there is no time to rebuy before heading to an appointment. Avoid bringing many personal or sentimental items or pack them into your carry on eg. Lucky ties, books or gifts. Always pack important documents or electrical devices in your carry-on luggage to avoid being separated from them.
Try to always stay in accommodation that is close to facilities such as shopping malls, pharmacies and supermarkets rather than in business districts with nothing close by. This will make it easier to rebuy what you need on an emergency basis in terms of clothing, toiletries and medication. The benefit of staying near a mall is that it has a mix of stores as well as high end shopping. You may need to rebuy meeting attire such as a suit or an executive gift or even a new suitcase. These items can usually easily be found in a shopping mall.
2. Flight Delays
Flights can be delayed for many reasons including the weather, faulty aircraft and even worker strikes. In most cases theses are circumstances, particularly the weather, that are out of the airline’s control and nothing can be done about the delay. If it is not possible to change your flight to a different airline or connecting destination, then unfortunately the only thing to do is wait!
In order to reduce the negative impacts of a delayed flight try to plan your trips so that you have a big-time buffer between arriving and your first meeting. It is ideal to fly the day/night before particularly for long haul flights but even for shorter flights allow some time to accommodate a delay if it does occur. If you have no time to spare always inform your appointment attendees as soon as possible of the delay, apologise and keep them updated on any further news.
If you don’t already, try to gain regular access to a business airport lounge where you can wait comfortably for the delay, enjoy some food and beverages and even use the time to work by taking advantage of the wifi and comfortable workspaces. If you are not able to work, make sure you always have a book or a pair of headphones on you to keep entertained for a couple of hours with reading, music or even movies on your device.
3. Getting lost
Getting lost in a foreign country where you do not speak the language is extremely easy! Even if you are staying close to your business appointments catching public transport or walking can lead to getting lost and therefore being unnecessarily late!
There are many ways to avoid getting lost. Firstly, you may want to consider the benefits of catching a cab, an uber or ordering a private transfer to get you to your appointment. Your driver will have the address and will drop you out front! As traffic can be extremely bad, make sure that you allow lots of time to arrive early. This option is better than driving yourself as you will not have to stress about local driving conditions or parking.
If you must catch public transport or walk, ensure that you are prepared with local currency to pay for tickets or transport passes, make sure you grab a map and research the journey and estimated arrival time, don’t be afraid to ask the locals for directions and again leave plenty of time in case you take a wrong turn. The App City Mapper is perfect for navigating other cities with transport options so make sure you have your phone charged up and that you can use international data. Google Maps is another fail safe option when walking to show you where to go. If you are having trouble connecting to the internet, Starbucks or Mc Donald restaurants are always good places to stop to access Wifi.
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