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Let's Plan a Successful Business Trip
Fortunately for the global business community, the world is now slowly moving away from quarantines, lockdowns, and travel restrictions. And because of this, many companies are ramping up their business travel again. Below, you’ll discover how to prepare for your business trip. We’ll cover how to plan a business trip, what travel documents you’ll need, and more!
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With the return of post-COVID business travel, employees are reacquainting themselves with work-related trip management and planning. Whether the purpose of the trip is to visit a client or inspect a manufacturing plant, the savvy business traveler knows how important work travel can be!
On this page, we'll explore a few of the different types of business travel and how to best prepare for them. We'll also break down how COVID-19 has impacted business travel and what you need to know when jumping back into it.
And, because many folks traveling for business will have an associate back in the office handling the logistics, we'll share a few pointers for them as well!
Business Travel Management
If you are responsible for your team's travel itineraries and planning, you may consider enlisting some help from experts! Business travel management companies can help with all aspects of planning business trips. Online booking tools (OBTs) exist and travel management companies (TMCs) may utilize them, but they offer a whole lot more as well.
Your TMC will be aware of all firm travel policies and guidelines, then follow them without any direction from you. They can also utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other software platforms to ensure that you receive the best pricing possible. And because of their large volume, TMCs may be offered low pricing and other perks that would otherwise be unavailable to your company.
Here are a few to check out:
Most of these firms now offer apps to their clients so their services can be accessed on the go. Be sure to look into seamless expense management services when you are making your selection.
Domestic and International Business Traveler Tips
Domestic and international business travel each come with their own challenges. From booking hotels to finding the best deals on desirable flights, knowing tips for navigating these plans can make things a lot easier.
Any experienced international business traveler knows business travel gets a little more complicated when you leave your home country’s borders. Travelers must consider travel restrictions and requirements for their destination country, which often means filling out more paperwork and applying for a work visa.
For example, Asia is a popular destination for business travel, according to Travel Weekly Asia. Business travelers who are Asia bound might want to choose an Asian-based airline for an elevated travel experience. These airlines, such as Singapore Airlines, are very focused on the needs and requirements of today's business travelers.
However, some countries in Asia, like China, still have strict COVID-19 procedures in places that mandate quarantines and limit who can enter the country. Outside of COVID-19 restrictions, business travelers to China also need to apply for a business visa (M visa) in order to enter the country on business.
See travel restrictions and requirements for different countries around the world using this interactive travel restrictions map.
And if you are a business traveler to the UK, you may need to apply for a UK business visa. The UK government website has a helpful breakdown of all the steps you need to take for a business trip to the UK. COVID-19 restrictions have predominately been less impactful on foreign visitors to the UK than China’s restrictions, but they should be reviewed carefully before planning a trip.
Curious about business visa to the USA from India requirements? See our “Business Travel USA” section below.
As you can see, business travel can vary widely by where you are traveling and where you are coming from.
Step-By-Step Business Trip Guide
As you can see, business travel can vary widely by where you are traveling. A step-by-step list can help ensure you plan everything accordingly.
Follow these steps from Hotel Engine to stay on top of everything:
1. Prepare an Essential Itinerary – Include dates, times, and locations for meetings and events to ensure you work around this schedule. It will be very important when it comes to planning flights, car rentals, and accommodations.
2. Make Travel Arrangements – Start researching all necessary reservations like flights, car rentals, and accommodations.
3. Book Accommodations – Now start booking all necessary accommodations for the trip. Make sure you do this well in advance to ensure you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.
4. Create a Detailed Itinerary – Now that reservations are booked, create a complete itinerary to include travel plans and accommodations.
5. Get Your Travel Documents in Order – Gather all necessary documentation for your trip, like a passport, airline tickets, visa, etc. Download our international travel documents checklist to make sure you stay on top of travel documents.
6. Create a Packing List – Business trips are different from family vacations, so consider the unique items you’ll need to bring for the trip like a work laptop, business clothes, business cards, and a briefcase or bag.
A travel medical plan like Atlas Travel can provide citizens and residents of most countries with coverage for unexpected medical expenses as well as some travel-related expenses as they travel outside of their home country. This type of plan can provide coverage for the unexpected if your regular health insurance plan provides limited or no coverage abroad.
If you will be taking multiple international trips within a one-year period, consider an annual multi-trip plan like Atlas MultiTrip. This plan can provide coverage for any number of international business trips you take in a one-year period.
Business Travel Tips
Below are a few links that can help you prepare to get back on the road! Business travel is an art unto itself, and there is a lot to learn from seasoned travelers via sites, blogs, and articles.
- The Art of Business Travel offers a lot of fantastic articles that can help business travelers stay informed and up-to-date on global news and happenings.
- If you are looking for handy tips for packing and making the most of your business trips, The Travel Team has you covered.
- It's no surprise that Entrepreneur Magazine is an informative resource for international business travelers.
- My Adventures Across the World is a blog that offers many great tips for those looking to optimize their business travel.
- Travel giant Concur offers a lot of wonderful articles that even the most seasoned road warrior will find helpful.
- For business planners, TravelPerk has you covered with a long-form article about how to manage travel planning.
- Planning a trip for your boss? Insight on how to research, plan, and manage your boss's preferences are all part of good trip planning. Wisestep breaks it all down in this helpful article.
- Executive travel is not always a straightforward proposition. Luckily, the team at OfficeNinjas is here with some effective tips on planning and executing the perfect trip for your boss.
- Executive Support Magazine is another great resource for anyone who handles their boss's travel schedule.
- WikiHow has a step-by-step illustrated guide that can help you flawlessly manage all of your boss's travel needs.
Creating an international travel packing list is essential for business travel abroad. Don't forget to include these important items:
- Laptop or tablet
- Charger / adapters
- Personal hotspot
- Translator app
- Memory stick containing any presentations or marketing materials
- Business attire
- Extra dress shirts (in case of spills, etc.)
PRO TIP! Most business travelers prefer to only use a carry-on suitcase to avoid lost luggage or other similar types of mishaps. If you are only going to take a carry-on, you may choose to take a garment bag in order to keep your clothing looking tidy.
Business Travel to the USA
Even though business travel to USA COVID restrictions temporarily slowed travel, the U.S. remains an important destination for business travelers. International business travel to the USA requires passports, visas, and other relevant paperwork.
For your trip to the U.S., you’ll want to make sure you have the right visa. A USA business visa and a U.S. tourist visa are the two most common U.S. visas, but there are many different visas offered to business travelers:
- B-1 Visa (Temporary Business Visitor) – This is for those who intend to consult with colleagues, negotiate a contract, attend a conference or educational seminar, or take part in a short-term training program.
- H-2A Visa (Temporary or Seasonal Agricultural Worker) – These are for employees who will be picking fruit, tending to fields and livestock, and assisting in production or harvesting crops.
- H-2B Visa (Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker) – These types of workers may include those who work in hospitality, retail, service, construction, janitorial services, or maintenance.
- L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transferee) – This visa allows executives or managers from foreign offices to transfer to an affiliated office in the U.S.
And these are just the most popular business visas. But can B-1/B-2 visa holders travel to the USA now? How about other work visa holders? Yes! Just make sure to complete your application far in advance to ensure your visa is approved in time for your trip.
You’ll want to make note of business visa USA requirements before beginning the application process. Here are the documents you need to gather:
- Passport (valid for at least six months beyond your stay)
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Application fee payment receipt
Check your home country’s U.S. embassy or consulate website for application details. You may also need to provide evidence of the purpose of your trip, your intent to depart the U.S. after your trip, and your ability to pay all costs associated with the trip. And don’t forget to review U.S. travel restrictions before traveling!
Business Travel COVID
For those planning business travel, COVID restrictions are important to consider. Many business travel COVID vaccine requirements are now in place, in addition to negative COVID test requirements or quarantine mandates.
Before planning business travel during COVID in 2023, research travel restrictions using our interactive travel restrictions map. Select your home country, destination country, and vaccination status to learn about your destination’s specific requirements.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State also provide helpful tips for traveling during COVID. Check out the CDC business travel guidelines webpage and the U.S. Department of State’s travel page for resources when it comes to planning travel—especially international business travel.
And don’t forget to review travel advice and recommendations for returning to your home country after a business trip abroad!
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WorldTrips is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies.
WorldTrips’ Atlas Travel Series and StudentSecure international travel medical insurance products are underwritten by Lloyd's. WorldTrips has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency, Ltd.
WorldTrips' Atlas Journey, Atlas Cruiser, and Atlas On-The-Go trip protection insurance products are underwritten by Tokio Marine HCC's U.S. Specialty Insurance Company (USSIC). USSIC is a Texas-domiciled insurance company operating on an admitted basis throughout the United States. Coverage is available to U.S. residents of the U.S. states and District of Columbia only. This plan provides insurance coverage that only applies during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home, and automobile insurance policies. Coverage may not be available in all states.
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