This travel checklist walks you through the business Traveler’s journey in a world that is still recovering from COVID-19.
Business travel in 2022 is completely different than it was in 2019. Yes, we’ve recovered a great deal from the start of COVID-19, but the pandemic is still affecting travel in ways big and small. Expect this to continue for the foreseeable future.
To help you navigate through a transformed business travel landscape, we’ve created a post-pandemic travel checklist that aims to answer common questions and help you create trips that are as productive, comfortable and hassle-free as possible.
Travel Checklist for All 5 Phases of Your Trip
Business trips go through 5 distinct phases. Here’s a look at what you should be thinking about and doing during each phase.
1. Planning the Trip
When planning a trip, the most important thing right now is to determine the travel requirements. Do you need a vaccine? Do you need a negative test? Are there other constraints that could limit your ability to visit a specific destination? Platforms like Sherpa are invaluable in helping answer these questions.
Duty of care is a hot topic in a world that has experienced COVID-19. All companies have a duty-of-care responsibility to support an employee’s health, wellness and safety while he or she travels away from the office. But employees must do their part to help their employers live up to that duty-of-care responsibility.
For example, all employees should update their travel profiles and emergency contacts before hitting the road. Also, compliant booking helps companies find their Travelers if something goes wrong during the itinerary.
2. Booking the Trip
As noted above, booking within compliance helps employers keep Travelers safe and live up to their duty-of-care responsibility. Be sure you’re booking within compliance so you stay as findable as possible if the company needs to lend assistance.
Part of any company’s compliance is getting approval to travel. Before you book, ensure you have proper internal approvals in place. This will help streamline the booking process, and it will also prevent any post-booking issues — like trying to get retroactive approval.
Be prepared for travel requirements to surface during the booking process. Many companies use booking platforms that include integrations that check to ensure requirements are met before travel plans are ticketed. Make sure you have everything needed to meet requirements before jumping into the booking process.
Finally, check your company’s policy on attaching personal time to a business trip. Many companies are now approving bleisure, which simply means extending a trip so that you can relax, sightsee or otherwise enjoy your destination. It’s common for Travelers to stay over the weekend and enjoy a city after working there to end the week.
3. Prepping for the Trip
Prep for your trip by huddling with your Travel Manager. Travel Managers should be able to provide information related to:
- What personal protective equipment is reimbursable.
- The documents and technologies that might be helpful specific to the trip.
- Arranging any needed COVID-19 tests before or during a trip.
- Any other guidelines that would help you travel safely.
It’s helpful to review travel policies prior to a trip. But a conversation with your Travel Manager can yield actionable, helpful guidance that ensures the best experience possible for the Traveler.
Stay in close touch with your home office as you travel. Specifically, you should know how to get in touch with your Travel Manager whenever possible.
Other considerations when traveling include:
- knowing your meal per diem,
- keeping updated on itinerary changes,
- connecting to resources and alerts,
- understanding what modes of transportation are available,
- and knowing where to go and what to do should you fall ill during the trip.
Again, staying safe while also enjoying a comfortable and productive trip is a partnership between the Traveler and the Travel Manager. Get all of the information needed for your trip ahead of time, reference it as needed during the trip, and contact your Travel Manager whenever needed with questions.
5. Getting Home
COVID-19 has introduced a series of return-trip tasks and considerations that did not exist before the pandemic. For example, you may need to quarantine away from the office after traveling. You may also need to get a COVID-19 test to ensure that you are virus-free before interacting with your co-workers again.
Travel Managers may request that you put more time between trips to ensure health and safety. They may also request that you complete a post-trip survey so that they can learn more about the experience. Travel Managers and Executives are doing their best to create travel policies and procedures that support business objectives and that respond to Traveler needs. But these policies are dynamic, and your feedback may help improve the next iteration.
Support Throughout the Travel Process
As COVID-19 has transformed business travel, organizations are struggling to keep up in a rapidly changing environment. The right travel management company can help through all 5 phases of the travel process: planning, booking, preparing, traveling, and returning.
At JTB Business Travel, we support a wide range of organizations that rely on business travel to drive revenue. Behind every service we provide and every recommendation we make is a common-sense approach to business travel.