Travel is stressful, but creating a comprehensive travel itinerary will keep both you and your boss calm and organised.
Think about all the different bits of paper you have to keep when you travel – tickets, hotel details, travel guides. Well, along with the usual stresses of travelling, your boss also has to attend meetings and act professionally, when in many cases they are dealing with jet lag and the business back in the UK. Therefore, a detailed itinerary will help them enormously. It will enable them to be organised when you cannot be there.
Below is a list detailing everything you should incorporate in a comprehensive itinerary. Some of the information will be repeated depending on how many flights and hotels the trip includes.
•The date of the trip
•The time differences
•Name of the car service
•Type of flight class
•Length of the flight
•Time of arrival (local time zone)
•Information on arrival at the airport, e.g. the details for a local taxi company or contact details for the car pick up service
•Name and address
•The address and telephone number of the local office
•Name and contact details of attendees
Along with the itinerary, there are other things you can do to make your manager’s trip as simple and stress-free as possible. Do prepare for the worst. I know this is a negative approach, but if you have thought of all the possible outcomes prior to the trip, you will be better prepared to deal with anything that occurs. Additionally, if you have equipped your manager with emergency information, they will be able to cope without you being there to help, particularly if they are in a different time zone. I always include the following:
• Out of hours telephone number for the travel agent
• Telephone number and address of the local embassy office
• Airline emergency and customer service numbers
• Air miles / Executive Club details
Along with the travel itinerary you should have the following as separate documents:
• Maps and directions for hotels and meeting points. If they have numerous meetings, include details on how to get from one point to the next. This means they will know how long it takes and also the quickest way to travel.
• A list of good restaurants close to the hotel or office. This allows them to show their local knowledge with clients, and if they are eating alone, they won’t have to wander around looking for somewhere to eat.
• A local weather guide for each of the countries on the trip. One country may have completely different weather to another, so make sure you check the weather before they leave the UK so that they have the appropriate attire and do not feel uncomfortable.
• A list of the hotel amenities. I also inform the hotel if my manager will need a late check-in.
If your manager has a smart phone or tablet, do make use of online city guide apps. They are packed full of useful information on the city and can be used without Wi-Fi. A lot of the apps are free, or only cost a few pounds.
Remember to print off the itinerary and additional documents for your manager. I always put the documents in an A5 plastic wallet so they are all together and can fit easily into a bag or briefcase. Also I send a copy to any colleagues that need to know their whereabouts, and to family members when necessary. In addition, I suggest you upload the information to an online document management website (Dropbox for example), just in case they misplace the paperwork.
Last but not least, don’t make additional work for yourself. If the manager is working from another office, but it just happens to be in a different county, I ensure they have everything on their outlook calendar as I normally would if they were in the UK, so I don’t have to include any meeting details in their itinerary.
Happy travel arranging!”