Nothing quite beats getting face-to-face with customers, suppliers and other people in your industry. That’s why so many business people still travel to meetings, conferences, workshops. But travel isn’t quite as glamorous as people think – so here are some of our top virtual assistant business travel hacks to help you do things better.
Sign up for loyalty programmes
If you’re going to be a regular traveller, it’s worth signing on for one or more of the loyalty programmes around. Whether it’s with an airline, a hotel or a group of travel suppliers, you will build points and rewards. This means you can put yourself in line for upgrades and better service; and you can also use your points to pay for family outings and holidays, which is a real perk.
Get into airport lounges
If you’re in a loyalty programme you will usually gain entry into an airport lounge. The number of times you can do this will depend on what type of programme you’re in, but there are other ways of getting out of the crowds and sitting in a comfortable chair with a good cup of coffee. For example, being a member of the Institute of Directors gives you access to lounges on an agreed basis at certain airports.
If you can, travel with hand luggage only. Most airlines accept small wheelie cases as hand luggage and if you pack smart, you can fit in everything you need. It’s one of the top things on our virtual assistant checklist for business travellers, because it means no queuing at check-in and a swift exit from the airport at the other end. Plus, no dragging and lifting heavy cases at the airport or at your hotel.
Be prepared for security
The quicker you can get through the security process at the airport, the better. Get yourself a re-usable clear bag for toiletries and invest in small travel bottles for anything you’re taking with you. That way, you don’t have to stop on the way to security to pick up a bag and sort all your stuff out. This is particularly important if you’re using the light luggage tip, because everything in that bag will have to go through the security process. Have your laptop, tablet and phone out of the bag whilst you’re waiting in the queue so that everything can go into the security tray quickly and safely. The sooner you’re in; the sooner you’re out.
Know your schedule
You need to have all the details about your flights, hotels, transfers and meetings to hand. The more organised you feel, the more you can concentrate on the work you have to do when you get there. One of the benefits of choosing the virtual office assistant route for travel booking is that you’ll get all your documentation together. All you have to do is check-in and go. What’s more, there’s someone at the end of the phone who knows all about your booking, so should anything go wrong, or you need to make changes to your plans while you’re away, you can get it done without having to take time out of your working schedule.
Organise visas and health checks well in advance
Some destinations will require you to have a visa, and while these can often be processed fairly quickly, you need to make sure you have time before your trip to get everything done. The same applies if you are heading to a destination where it’s recommended you have injections or a health check before travelling. Factor this into your booking, so that you have enough time before you fly to get everything in place.
We rely on technology to keep us in touch with the office and to make travelling easier. Whether you need your phone so that you can see emails as they come in, or your tablet so you can watch downloaded movies on the flight, you want your tech to work. On our virtual assistant FAQ for travel, we always include checking your power cables, buying a portable battery pack, and even taking your own extension cable so you have enough sockets in your hotel room so that you are able to stay connected.
Keep track of expenses
You can download apps that will help you manage your expenses while you’re away – scan your receipts and keep a log of everything you have spent on company business. You might also want to pack an empty envelope to put the paper copies in, just in case. Then, when you get back from your trip, you can just hand everything over to your accounts staff, or let your virtual assistant admin team sort out your travel accounts for you.
We hope our virtual assistant business travel tips help you to make the most of your next business trip. If you’re short on time and would like to talk to us about how we can support you, or if you need help with organising your business travel, feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or click here to request a free consultation.