As many countries ease their COVID-related travel restrictions, opportunities for international business travel are again opening up. Although attending conferences and business meetings internationally can be a fantastic chance for a businessperson to learn and grow their network, international business travel can be difficult to manage, particularly amid the very different landscape of travel we face in a post-pandemic world.
The difficulties of booking international business travel
One of the biggest challenges of booking international travel after the pandemic has been purchasing airfare online. Although travel options have been opening up, staffing and supply chain issues — among other problems — have made it nearly impossible to book any connecting flights from affiliated airlines. As such, it is imperative to plan ahead and call the main airline directly, as they will be able to help more over the phone than the online booking system would allow.
It can also be challenging to book international travel for multiple people. Keeping everyone’s details organized can be difficult if you do not have a system to manage everyone’s schedules and booking needs. Particularly if the people traveling have different rental cars or accommodations, keeping track of all the moving pieces can be tricky unless you keep everything organized.
When booking travel for multiple people, it is crucial to have thorough documentation containing every bit of information that may be necessary. In addition to flight times and numbers, details like full names, dates of birth, visa numbers, traveler’s miles program numbers, and contact information are all essential to keep handy, especially for potential cases of emergency. Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep photos of passports, visas, and other necessary documents to protect against this necessary documentation being lost.
Ensuring the proper precautions are taken when booking international travel
One of the most common mistakes a business or professional can make when booking international travel is not paying for travel insurance. Many people think that travel insurance is optional, but like many forms of insurance, you don’t think you need it until you actually do. You may have dozens of trips go off without a hitch, but when that one trip goes wrong, you’ll wish you had paid the small upfront fee for travel insurance.
Some airlines will boot you off the plane and force you to catch a different flight at your own expense. In these cases, travel insurance can provide the necessary protection to avoid unnecessary out-of-pocket costs. Travel insurance also generally offers protection against Covid-related cancellations these days, meaning that if a trip has to be canceled due to international travel restrictions or if you fall ill, you are not left to eat your losses.
Another mistake that frequently happens when booking travel is not paying attention to layover time. Booking a domestic flight with a layover is very different from booking an international flight with one, though there is a “goldilocks zone” of a layover between 1.5-3 hours. If the layover is too long, particularly in a country where it is not safe or practical to leave the airport, a long layover could mean being stuck in an airport for hours with nothing open. The same goes for a layover that is too short, which could cause you to miss a flight.
However, just because it can be difficult to manage does not mean that businesses should avoid international travel. On the contrary — those businesses who manage international travel properly have a tremendous opportunity on their hands to take advantage of a business community that is itching to globalize after a period in which isolation became widespread. With the proper protections in place, international business travel can be not only a fun experience but also an enriching one.
Photo by 123RF