The international business traveller has a lot of work to do before each trip. The preparation of the journey can be complicated and usually requires quite a bit of time in order to finalize visas, appointments, hotels, transportation, and tickets and connections.
I highly recommend an international travel destination file be created and maintained for the countries and business destinations that you or your organization travels to.
This should be updated each time someone visits the destination. This important accumulated business travel information will save time, money, trouble and aggravation for everyone required to travel in the future.
Notes should be written during the trip and a final executive summary presented and filed at most 5 days after your return. This is not a personal travel diary, and should be focused on providing practical useful information for the next person who is required to visit the destination on business.
The file should contain the following information and observations:
- Is a visa required? Contact information for the embassy or consulate, required information that must be submitted and the time required for the process from start to finish.
- Travel agency and airlines used. Comments and observations about flights, connections, and prices.
- Information about hotels that you have stayed in, names, addresses, telephone and fax numbers, email. Comments about the cost, distance to clients, pros and cons. security and other observations.
- Alternative hotels to consider for the next trip and contact information.
- Airports, names and airport 3 digit code. What services are available at the airport, money changing, auto rental, taxis, airport taxes upon arrival or departure, how far from the city or hotel, other comments.
- Restaurants, recommendations, places to avoid, addresses and contact information.
- Information and comments about business manners; the way people dress, gift giving, what NOT to do, other observations.
- Cultural tips and observations. What and when do people eat. Tipping, what is correct. What to do or where to go in your off time.
- Weather and climate. Recommendations for how to dress and what to pack.
- Information about average costs, hotels, meals, transportation, and other related business costs
- Other observations: What would you do differently and why? What would make the trip better or more efficient the next time? Recommendations for the next traveller from your organization.
The institutionalization of this information will result in more efficient planning and execution of travel plans, better administration of costs and time, and more satisfaction for the international road warriors in your organization. They can dedicate their time to getting work done, and not about travel worries.