When German companies increasingly send their employees abroad on business trips, they also bear a certain responsibility. Business trips should run as smoothly as possible, from booking to follow-up. Booking processes should be automated and tailored to the company. In addition, the security of employees as well as the protection of internal company data on business trips must always be guaranteed.
There listed important things to consider before, during and after a business trip. What is important for travel management, from booking to expense reporting, and how to avoid unpleasant surprises on business trips, can be found in the Top tips for a successful business trip. Finally, there is a checklist to print out and check off.
Tip 1: Prepare your trip with foresight
Every business trip should be preceded by thorough planning, provided that there is enough time under today’s deadline pressure. Especially for business trips outside Europe there is a lot to consider. Travel period, preferred airlines, hotels or rental cars should be clarified between business travellers and travel management. It is also indispensable to inform yourself about the respective entry and customs regulations, e.g. on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.
If you are travelling to less known countries, e.g. Arab or Asian countries, there is no harm in knowing the political situation and being informed about important cultural customs or possible sources of danger. Here, too, the Federal Foreign Office provides reliable country information.
Tip 2: Book hotel and rental cars at company rates
When booking hotels and rental cars, care should be taken to ensure that bookings are made at favourable company rates and not at the prices that are available to everyone in the usual booking portals. It is also advantageous for the traveller if he can view and manage his bookings online in a personal account and has access to his travel documents at any time.
For hotel bookings, we recommend the online club for business travellers profitrip, which allows you to book hotels such as Marriott, Hilton, Mercure, Radisson and many others at special rates. We have generally had good experiences with AVIS and Budget when booking rental cars. Budget also offers its customers the possibility to manage bookings conveniently online.
It is generally recommended to carry booking confirmations of all bookings with you. It is also very helpful for hotel bookings if it has been clarified in advance that the business traveller will get a room in the respective hotel even if there is a travel delay. This can already be taken into account when booking.
Tip 3: Stow travel documents in the document folder
In order for a journey to run smoothly, all necessary documents, such as the identity card or passport, must be carried with full validity (partially valid until 6 months after entry required). Visas or transit visas must be applied for prior to the trip and must also be carried. In addition, the itinerary and all booking confirmations must be available in addition to the flight or train ticket with seat reservation.
If you want to rent a car outside Europe, you will also often need an international driving licence and an international insurance card. It is advisable to extend the ADAC membership to cover foreign countries (ADAC Plus) and to prove this with the ADAC Plus card. In addition to the vignettes, the European accident report should also be carried.
Essential documents are also the health insurance card for business trips within Germany, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or for business trips outside Europe the foreign health insurance certificate. Attention: For the health insurance protection in non-European foreign countries a private additional insurance must be locked frequently. Ask your insurer for more information in good time.
In principle, copies of all important documents must be kept separately from the originals in your luggage. A stable and nevertheless very light document folder is ideal for this purpose. On site, you should lock the originals in a safe and carry only copies of all important documents with you.
Tip 4: Pay attention to vaccination protection and carry your first-aid kit with you.
A trip to an all-decisive meeting can end quickly in the hospital. Contaminated water, spoiled fish or crustaceans, which unfortunately were no longer fresh, cause nasty stomach and intestinal problems. In many parts of the world, such as most African countries or East Asia, the dangerous infectious disease hepatitis can still be found. Those who travel to Africa without the necessary vaccinations against yellow fever, malaria or typhoid fever run a high, unnecessary risk.
It is important to note that some vaccinations require a certain lead time to ensure optimal protection. Helpful information is available at the Institute for Tropical Medicine of the Charité in Berlin. The small first-aid kit is just as important as vaccination protection. This should not be spared. Business travellers with a small first-aid kit should also be prepared for all eventualities such as minor stomach and intestinal problems, allergic reactions, headaches, colds or minor injuries.
Tip 5: Always secure your luggage well
The luggage of business travellers should be lockable and always well kept in mind. For security reasons, no detailed information about the purpose or destination of the trip should be given to strangers. If you have given pickpockets an inattentive moment, the luggage with all the important papers, credit cards, cash or the laptop with highly important internal company data and information can be quickly gone.
Organized white-collar crime is also increasingly coming to the fore. In addition to financial damage, it can have unforeseeable consequences if documents or even internal company data end up in the wrong hands. The Abus TSA lock, a business trolley with an integrated lock (e.g. the Travelite ELBE One) or a luggage belt with an integrated TSA lock are the ideal luggage security devices for business trips.
Tip 6: Inform about local safety precautions
Even if business travellers usually have a tight schedule and only work through their appointments at the destination, they should first inform themselves about local security risks after arrival. German business travellers are usually spoiled by the high German security standard. Especially if you are travelling to a place for the first time, it is generally advisable to inform yourself about security precautions on the spot.
For all destinations it is also recommended to deposit money cards, cash and the originals of the papers you have taken with you in a safe place. The room or hotel safe can be used for this purpose. Then you should only carry a minimum amount of cash and copies of your personal documents.