Why Sound Business Travel Reporting Matters

For any company that has their employees engage in regular travel, it is important to have a good corporate travel strategy. Part of developing and improving on a corporate travel strategy is solid business travel reporting. Business travel reporting provides the company with details about the cost of travel and how the money is being used. This data not only helps to keep track of expenses but it also can be used to identify areas of waste and inefficiency. When this information is tracked and analyzed it can be used to improve upon your company’s business travel strategy. Using the service of a corporate travel agency is an effective means toward achieving all of these goals.

Due to their experience and their connections in the travel and finance industry, a corporate travel firm will be especially suited to provide these services with the highest degree of detail. A corporate travel agency uses a variety of methods to analyze and track a clients business travel expenses. They can use data from banking and credit card records along with the travel records to identify the most and least efficient travelers in your company. They can help to manage airline data to find which carrier is providing the most business friendly service for the most affordable price and they can help to identify waste and abuse of funds.

A corporate booking agency can also help employers to analyze information in a way that can determine how effectively the employees travel and how well they stick to the itinerary and how closely the individual employees stick to the travel strategy. This can be achieved by referencing the data accumulated from credit cards, expense accounts, airline data, hotel bills and rental information. Once all of the data is collected and analyzed, the corporate travel firm can prepare a complete report. The reports will cover a variety of different areas and will often be accompanied by a written summary of the overall information. Clients can also request specialized reporting from a corporate travel agency. These may be to address an area of concern or to see how a new aspect of the travel strategy is working.

Most business travel agencies recommend that their clients schedule regular meetings with their travel manger to go over the business travel reporting and to find ways to improve the corporate travel strategy. The management of a business should meet with their corporate travel manager at least once a year. In these meetings the travel manager can help the client go over the business travel reporting and understand what all of the data means. The manager will help to identify areas of waste and point out parts of the travel plan that are working well. At this time the client can address their concerns about the travel strategy and work to adjust the business travel strategy. A corporate travel agency can also help their client with a plan for implementing the new strategy and addressing the changes with their staff.

Having the services of a business travel agency is a necessity for any company that engages in regular travel. Having a well thought out strategy will not only save the company money, but it will also make sure that the staff is getting the most out of their trip.

Why International Business Travellers Need Specialized Travel Insurance Cover

In this work driven world, people are goal-oriented and often financially driven; and sometimes people take for granted the importance of physical safety. Insurance makes security tangible. The insurance industry has delved its hands into various aspects of life, securing animals to kids to education to cars. You name it, insurance can secure it. Insurance has become so important in our everyday life that it’s now considered an imperative need.

The largest group of insurance companies are engaged in the travel insurance business. These insurance companies typically offer specialised policies to business travellers. The policies cover risks associated with international or domestic travel which include accidents, deaths, trip cancellations, lost tickets, damage to properties like car rentals and other concerns related to travelling. Procuring this type of insurance is important because it provides security not only to the traveller but also the employer.

Business travellers, especially those travelling internationally, are people on the go. Their employers are potential policy holders. Business travellers are exposed to more risks. The risk covered by the corporate travel insurance is unique to the business the traveller represents. For example, a business traveller working as a car dealer meets an accident while on a Cessna plane can be compensated by a travel insurance covering the risks of medical expenses while working on the job. In getting a corporate travel insurance policy, it is important to tailor the policy in order to cover all the risks that the business traveller is exposed to in relation to the work he’s involved in. Equity dictates that tailored fit policies are necessary for the safety and security of both the employer and the business travellers because of the basic reason that their travels are considered work; it is but a natural obligation for the employers to compensate and insure them.

Corporate travel insurance differs from the usual holidaymaker insurance because it cover more risks and could be specialised in accordance to the type of business the business traveller represents. For example, if the business traveller is working for mining company, the travel insurance policy can include accidents met while visiting a mining site. Because of this specialisation feature, the premium paid for these corporate travel insurance is higher than the usual travel insurance.

A tailored corporate insurance policy is being offered by various insurance companies. One of the most comprehensive policies is the group business travel insurance. For this type of insurance, it is important that the insured or the policy holder is the employer and the beneficiaries are the employees or group members. As to the requirements, each insurance policy provides for different requirements; basically if the employer can pay the premium and the insurance company is willing to cover the risk then a tailored group business insurance policy can be issued.

People work to earn a living. Often than not their work is the cause of their injuries. It is important for employers as well to prevent lawsuits filed by employees they send for travel. The best and equitable solution is to procure corporate travel insurance.

Business Travel Insurance Policy – Getting The Right One

If you travel regularly on business, you should always carry a business travel insurance policy. This is essentially just a insurance policy for traveling that is customized to the needs of the business traveler. Nearly all of these insurance policies for business travelers will include coverage of any travel arrangements, luggage loss, and rental car accidents.

While it is possible to purchase a policy that will cover a single trip, for regular business travels, annual business travel insurance policies are typically a better deal. Insurance plans for business travel are usually cheaper than regular insurance plans, depending on coverage needs. It is also cheaper to purchase domestic business travel insurance plans than insurance coverage for international business travels.

Typically policies for business travels will include up to $50,000 in benefits whether it is a one-time policy or an annual policy. But regular insurance plans often caps coverage at $25,000.

Luggage coverage goes beyond just checked luggage. It also covers laptops, cell phones, pagers, projectors, and any other equipment the business traveler typically carries.

If the trip gets interrupted by bad weather or mechanical problems the business policy holder can cancel the trip and be reimbursed for the cost of the trip.

This plan also includes trip cancellation insurance which is much like regular travel insurance’s trip interruption coverage. However, business policies usually include more coverage, such as allowing for changes in accommodations to complete the trip.

Funds are provided for anything lost on the trip. This can be very important if passports or tickets are lost during the trip.

You may also be able to get some legal services in case of accusations of crime by you or crime committed against you. Generally luggage or equipment that is stolen is covered. In some cases even kidnapping ransoms will be replaced by your business insurance policy.

One of the coverage benefits you’ll want to look for in your coverage is medical expenses. You’ll want to know for sure whether all medical expenses are covered or just accidents and emergencies. In particular, find out what kind of coverage is provided for illness. Many travel medical insurance policies cover emergency evacuations, but many do not cover other medical expenses. You’ll have to decide how much medical coverage you need.

Fortunately, even with all of the available coverage options, business travel insurance is generally quite affordable. Some other features that may be included with your business insurance plan include road side assistance and life insurance.

Slash Thousands From Your Business Travel

When it comes to your business travel we all know that this comes write out of your bottom line, but in order to keep good customer relations this is something that you must do. One of the most common things to do is to hire a business travel manager to handle all your business travel arrangements.

Did you realize that the median salary for a business travel manager is $73,000.00 per year? (FACT) Where’s the savings?

The best way to slash thousands from your travel expenses is to out source. You can have a travel agency do the same things as a business travel manager without spending thousands doing it. By having a travel agency handle your travel arrangements, you can save anywhere from 80 to 90% depending on how many traveler’s you have. By doing this makes your bottom line more profitable.

Let me ask you, would you rather spend 73,000 or 10,000?

The responsibilities of a travel manager are to choose transportation and lodging for company employees, advise about passport and visa requirements, rates of currency exchange, all things that a travel agent is already doing. Additional perks of hiring a travel agent is they can handle convention planning and group vacation organization for employees.

One of the best benefits from hiring a travel agent over a business travel manager is that a travel agent is offered reduced travel rates from preferred vendors as to where a business travel manager is not.

By out sourcing and hiring a travel agent over a travel manager, you are not only saving from paying a large salary, but you also save by not having to provide benefits such as health care and retirement. These could easily bring the cost of hiring a business travel manager to well over $100,000.00 a year. That’s Insane!!!

There are so many more benefits from hiring a travel agent over a business travel manager because they are so much more knowledgeable in the travel industry. How, when, and where travel is booked whether online or offline is very important when it comes to saving money on your business travel. These are techniques that only travel agents will know because they deal directly with travel vendors. Nine times out of ten a business travel manager will either call a travel agent or go to a travel agent’s web site for their information.(FACT)

Haven’t we learned in the past couple of years that foolish spending is not the way to go? Look at what it has done to big business. It’s time we get smart and trim the wasted fat. Wouldn’t you rather spend the money growing your business than hiring someone that’s probably looking out for them self rather the company?

When looking for a travel service for your company make sure that they have incentive and rewards programs. Look for a service that has the customer’s best interest at heart.

I understand that customer service must come first in order to have long standing business relations. I want to help you to accomplish this same goal.

5 Tips For a Smooth First Business Travel Experience

Travel help from business travel experts is as good as meeting a business tycoon for management tips. Learning from them will bring smoothness in your trip.

In today’s working world, business operations have become more global. There are many business travel opportunities for the newly hired or promoted employee. While grabbing these travel opportunities a must, first time business travellers like you should travel smarter.

Sort Things Out
For first timers, it is best to be aware that you have two major classifications of the things that you will be bringing. One is your work-related things and the other one is your personal stuff.

Therefore, while choosing a light carryon luggage, it is also suggested that it is multi pocketed so you can enjoy more spaces.

Be Organized
In order to have an organized business travel, create a travel checklist of the work-related things that you need like your laptop, flash drive, printed reports on folders, brochures, calculators and the like. This will protect you from forgetting important or urgent tasks that your boss asked from you.

Make sure that you brought a good number of your business cards. Businesses can start with your plane mate or some other people you have bumped in the airport lobby.

Also check the lifespan of the batteries of your communication device so you won’t miss any important office correspondences and instructions.

Be Budget Conscious
If your office allows you to take care of your own transportation and reservation as part of your per diem during your business travel, the internet is your tool to check online for the best flight and hotel deals in Europe or Asia available.

Look for package deals, promo flights, and reasonably-priced business hotels or even nearby hostels. Tips would be to ask if the published rates are inclusive of applicable taxes. Also ask for the rates of late check-ins so you can include it in your travel budget.

Always Be Prepared
For your personal belongings particularly your clothing, it is best that you have brought clothes with business colors and shades like black, dark blue, brown, white and gray. This will allow you to be flexible in doing some mix and match so you maintain your being presentable as well.

In the business world, there are times that first impression lasts. As first time business travellers, you may not be familiar or accustomed to the foods of your destination, it is highly recommended to have anti-histamine with you all the time. This will help you stop allergic reactions instantly in order not to disrupt or disturb your meeting schedules and appointments.

Follow Airport Rules
Your liquids, including gels, in the array of your toiletries should be in zip-lock plastics as it is mandatory in any airports. It is also best to use slip-on shoes going to the airport so it would not be time consuming for you to untie and tie your shoelaces during security checks.

With these travel help gathered from seasoned business travellers, you will be ready for a remarkable business travel that will widen your perspective of the career you have chosen and loved. This might be the start of a series of world travel experience from work to leisure.

Business Traveller Flying to London? A London City Guide for Getting to the Centre

London. The vibrant, beating heart of the United Kingdom. It’s one of the world’s most popular destinations for tourists, and for business travellers too. The amount of commerce that goes through London is staggering, with a financial centre second only to New York, and service industries that cater for both the UK, European and international markets. As the world’s most multicultural city – there are over 300 languages spoken by a population of over eight million people (twelve million if you include the metropolitan area) – the opportunities for business are clear.

With the UK strategically positioned for the business traveller on the western edge of Europe, London is a global hub for air travel, providing easy access to mainland Europe, and a stepping stone to the United States. Primarily served by five airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Stansted and Luton – London is easily reached from anywhere in the world. But with the exception of London City Airport – smallest of the five and located in East London, close to the business district of Canary Wharf – the other four airports are satellites evenly dispersed around the city. The most popular, Heathrow, is located to the west of London; Gatwick is situated to the south; Stansted to the north east; and Luton to the North West. Knowing this before you make your travel plans can be useful. Since the greater metropolitan area of London covers over 1,000 square miles, your final business destination may not be right in the centre. Researching which airport is closest to your destination can save you time, effort and money.

However, whether you’re a business traveller flying from within the UK or from overseas, your starting destination may often determine the airport you arrive at. Other factors, such as your chosen time of travel, budget and availability will also make a difference. For example, if you’re travelling with a major international carrier from a major city, such as New York, the chances are you’ll arrive at Heathrow or Gatwick (Stansted also receives flights from New York but is the smallest of the three). If you’re travelling locally from within the UK with a budget carrier you’re more likely to arrive at Stansted or Luton (though not exclusively). And if you’re travelling from a major European city, particularly a financial capital, such as Frankfurt, London City Airport is a likely arrival point (the airport was created specifically to cater for short haul business travellers, particularly between financial centres).

Each airport is served by comprehensive rail and road infrastructure, providing business travellers with a variety of options to enter London. All five airports offer direct rail travel into the heart of Central London, coach travel to the main Victoria terminus, and hire car, mini-bus, licensed black cab and taxi services by road. If you’re a VIP business traveller, chauffeur services are also available, and with the exception of London City Airport, each also offer direct helicopter transfer into the heart of the city.

London Heathrow Airport

The busiest of the five airports is London Heathrow. Located less than twenty miles from central London, Heathrow is situated to the west of the city within the M25 motorway metropolitan boundary. The fastest route into London is via the Heathrow Express train service, taking just 15 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3 to Paddington station (located on the western side of Central London). If your flight arrives at either terminal 4 or 5 it’s a further four and six minutes travel time respectively, and you’ll need to transfer on to the main London-bound service at terminals 1, 2 and 3.

The service is excellent, offering comfort and convenience, but does not always suite everyone’s travel budget. The standard ‘Express’ single journey ticket costs £21.00 (€25.00 / $35.00), but business travellers can get better value when purchasing a return ticket, priced at £34.00 (€40.00 / $56.00). The ‘Business First’ ticket is more expensive, with singles costing £29.00 (€35.00 / $48.00) and returns £52.00 (€62.00 / $86.00), but it does afford business travellers considerably more leg room, the privacy of a ‘single seating’ layout, and a fold out table. The experience is akin to that of air travel. All passengers across both pricing structures enjoy access to electrical sockets, USB ports and free Wi-Fi. The overall quality of service and passenger experience generates a ‘wow’ factor, and if your budget can afford it, is certainly the smoothest, quickest and most convenient way to travel into London from Heathrow. Trains run regularly every fifteen minutes in both directions, particularly useful for last minute dashes to the airport.

There are two further rail options available to business travellers, both considerably less expensive, though this is reflected in the quality of service. That’s not to say either is not a good solution for business travellers, just that there is a noticeable difference in convenience and comfort.

With a service typically running every thirty minutes, and a journey duration – depending on the time of day – of between 23 and 27 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3, Heathrow Connect is more than adequate for business travellers who are not in a hurry. Like the rival Express service, Connect also arrives at Paddington station, but unlike its faster rival stops at up to five other stations before reaching its terminus. The ‘inconvenience’ of this less direct journey is compensated for by a considerably less expensive ticket price. Single journey’s cost £9.90 (€12.00 / $16.00) while a return is £19.80 (€24.00 / $32.00). There is no saving to be made from purchasing a return ticket. While the convenience and comfort of the traveller experience cannot match the Express, the Connect business travel solution is an acceptable compromise that suits a greater number of travel budgets.

The third – and least expensive – rail option is the London Underground ‘tube’ network. Despite the network’s name the majority of the journey from Heathrow is overground, until the business traveller nears Central London. Starting on the Piccadilly Line, the service connects all five Heathrow terminals and provides frequent trains into London, stopping at a considerable amount of outlying stations before arriving in the capital’s centre. This continually ‘interrupted’ journey – there are seventeen stops between Heathrow terminals 1, 2 and 3 and Paddington Tube station (the nearest equivalent tube terminus for a fair comparison) – and takes approximately fifty minutes journey time on average, considerably slower than its more direct rivals. This journey comparison also requires the inconvenience of a transfer between lines.

So why would the business traveller consider using the tube from Heathrow to Central London? Simple. The frequency of service, the array of destinations, and the cost. At a cash price of just £5.70 (€6.80 / $9.50) for a single journey in either direction during peak hours (06:30am to 09:30am), financially the Underground is an attractive option. At nearly half the price of the Heathrow Connect, and at just over a quarter of the price of the Heathrow Express, this service is comparably good value for money. Further value can be found if the business traveller purchases an ‘Oyster Card’, the ‘cashless’ electronic ticketing system beloved by so many Londoners. Available to purchase at Heathrow London Underground stations, this useful option allows you to get tickets cheaper than for cash – in this case a reduction to just £5.00 (€6.00 / $8.30). Off-peak travel with an Oyster Card offers even greater value, with Heathrow to Paddington in either direction costing just £3.00 (€3.60 / $5.00) per journey. The Oyster Card can also be used for unlimited travel on buses and trains throughout London, with a maximum daily spend capped at £17.00 (€20.00 / $28.00) peak time and just £8.90 (€10.60 / $15.00) off-peak for a six zone ticket (destinations across London are divided into six main zonal rings. Travelling from Heathrow to Central London crosses all six zones).

The Underground is primarily a city-wide mass transit system, rather than a ‘train’ service. As such the level of comfort and convenience is substantially less than that of both the Heathrow Express and Connect services, and at peak hours can be considerably uncomfortable. Having endured a recent flight, business travellers who choose this option run the risk of having to stand up the entire journey if travelling during peak hours. If the carriage is full to squeezing point (as is often the case at peak time) managing your luggage can be a challenge. It should also be noted that the tube network – which, as the world’s first urban mass-transit system is over 150 years old – is often prone to signal failures and delays. If the time between your arrival at Heathrow (don’t forget to factor in clearing immigration control, luggage collection and customs) and your business appointment is tight, particularly during peak hours, it is not unfair to say that you are taking a risk if you choose to use the Underground.

Compared to using rail, travelling by road into Central London is far less convenient. Like every major city around the world, traffic congestion plagues the streets of London. The M4 and A4 route from Heathrow into London is always busy and in parts can be slow moving at times. No matter what your method of road transport, the business traveller is vulnerable to the risk of delays and accidents.

Buses and coaches are plentiful. The dominant carrier is called National Express. They operate services between Heathrow Airport and London Victoria, the main coach terminus in London. From here travellers can travel to many other destinations around the UK. The coaches run from Heathrow Airport Central Bus Station, which is located between terminals 1, 2 and 3. Its well sign posted so easily found. If you’re arriving at terminals 4 or 5 you’ll need to first take the Heathrow Connect train to the central bus station. From Victoria Station you can get to any other part of London with ease, via the Underground, plentiful buses, local trains and licensed black cabs / minicab taxi services.

A single journey tickets start from £6.00 (€7.20 / $10.00), while returns cost £11.00 (€13.20 / $18.00). Although you can purchase your ticket at Heathrow, it is advisable to do so in advance, and online. This will ensure you have a guaranteed, reserved seat on your coach of choice, and also provide you with the opportunity to select a time of departure and/or return that best suits your needs. Typically this service runs three coaches per hour to and from London Victoria coach station. The journey time can vary, dependent on the route taken, the time of day and traffic conditions, but you can typically expect your journey to take between 40 and 90 minutes.

National Express also offers business travellers a Heathrow hotel transfer service to and from the airport, known as the Heathrow Hoppa. With hundreds of services each day running around the clock, it’s a clean, comfortable and affordable way to get about, costing £4.00 (€4.80 / $6.60) for single journey and £7.00 (€8.40/ $11.50) for a return journey. This service is particularly useful if your business appointment is located close to Heathrow and you have no need to travel into Central London.

An alternative to coach travel is taking a bus. This can be particularly useful if you arrive at Heathrow late at night. Depending on the day of the week, the N9 night bus runs approximately every 20 minutes to Trafalgar Square in Central London, from 11.30pm to 5am. The journey time is approximately 75 minutes, subject to traffic delays. It’s a very affordable service, and as part of the Transport for London infrastructure a single journey can be paid for with an Oyster Card (£1.40 (€1.70/ $2.30) or by cash (£2.40 (€2.90/ $4.00).

If your journey into London requires the freedom to choose to travel whenever you want, to wherever you want, or you simply require privacy, then private hire transport is readily available at Heathrow. If you’re just interested in getting from A to B and back again, without any other journeys in between, taking a licensed black cab or minicab taxi may suit your needs. Travelling in an iconic licensed black cab into Central London will take approximately 45-60 minutes, subject to traffic delays, and can typically cost between £50.00 (€60.00/ $83.00) and £80.00 (€96.00/ $132.00). If you do find yourself delayed in traffic the journey will cost more, since black cab meters also charge for waiting time when not moving. Black cabs are readily available at all hours, and good sign posting at Heathrow means they’re easy to find. At a squeeze up to five business travellers can be accommodated, though if you all have large luggage it will be a problem.

An alternative private hire to black cabs are licensed taxi services. This could be a better option for the business traveller, particularly if a number of people with luggage are travelling together. An array of vehicle types are available, ranging from standard 4/5 seater saloon and 6/7 passenger people carrier cars, up to 15 or 17 seater minibuses and even coach taxis. An added advantage is you can book your vehicle of choice in advance and at a fixed price. With so many different companies offering these services, prices – and quality of service – can vary, but typically for a single journey the business traveller can expect to pay a fixed, advance price of £40.00 (€48.00/ $66.00) for a saloon car; £50.00 (€60.00/ $83.00) for an estate car; £55.00 (€66.00/ $90.00) for an executive car; £55.00 (€66.00/ $90.00) for a people carrier; £65.00 (€78.00/ $108.00) for an 8 seater minibus; £80.00 (€96.00/ $132.00) for an executive people carrier; and £165.00 (€198.00/ $272.00) for a 16 seater minibus. Savings can be made on all tariffs if a return journey is booked in advance.

Travelling by black cab or licensed taxi affords the business traveller the freedom to travel at his or her own pace, and can take the hassle out of a journey. It can be a very relaxing way to commute from the airport into London, particularly after a long flight, and offers the business traveller an opportunity to unwind prior to their business appointment.

If you need to arrange senior executive or VIP transportation, chauffeur driven services are readily available (booked in advance) between Heathrow and London. The vehicle type and the length of time you require it for will dictate the price you’ll pay. Chauffeur driven services are readily available to find online. The same is true of helicopter charter services which can transfer the executive business traveller from Heathrow into Central London (Battersea Heliport) in approximately 15 minutes. Flightline Travel Management is experienced at providing our customers with both modes of transport, and we’re happy to take your enquiry.

Business Travel Tips – How to Pack For A Business Trip

Use these business travel tips pointers to create and plan a stress-free business packing travel plan.

Ladies:

 

  • When you are putting together your clothes for business, experiment with one color instead of all your favorites. This makes it simple for you to combine and present an ideal business persona for your meetings. With a one color-scheme, you will not need to pack multiple pieces of clothing.
  • If you’d like to add a bit of color, you can include a colored shirt or scarf you like (maybe it is your favorite, or it gives you that ‘extra OOMPH’ that you need for self-confidence – or to compliment your look).

 

Tips on packing shoes: As much as shoes are something that some women say they can’t ‘live without,’ pack no more than two or three sets. Make certain you have a set of flats and only one set of high heels in your luggage. If you wear high heels all day and evening long, then during your company trip, when what you want (need) most is to shine, you may be experiencing painful leg and back discomfort.

In addition to sensible shoes, women who travel may want to pack makeup. On a business trip and with makeup – Less is better. Makeup during a business trip really should be minimal so that you present an experienced, knowledgeable and professional look. Foundation, powder, mascara, lip gloss, eye liner, and eye shadow, are a few of the things that you need to consider in packing. Less is more – mascara and lip gloss can go a long way in making a professional looking presentation.

All Travelers:

 

  • Frequent business travelers should make it a habit of packing their bags as soon as they return from a business trip. This way, when they have to travel on short notice, the stress and worry of packing is diminished.
  • Frequent travelers on business really should try to use regional airports instead of major air-ports. Local and small airports are less congested, and then there are fewer security hurdles.
  • When you are on company business, choose the most direct routes instead of the least expensive routes. The least expensive travel arrangements usually make for the longest distance, and this also means you will likely have to use your precious time for traveling and staying in hotels.
  • So, instead of saving money, your cost may actually go up, with the less expensive, less traveled route, Because you’ll make up for the cost with longer flights and maybe even an extra day stay at a hotel – which means more money all the way around (food, cab or car rental,.. ). Consequently, it’s always best to go on a direct flight route to save time and expense, even if you have to fly first class.
  • If you’re able to fly mid-week, you will be happier because you may be able to save money on trip expenses. Traveling on a Monday or Tuesday normally costs more. Take these travel tips into account when you are paying your own personal air flight to help you cut your costs.
  • Also think about the distance from your hotel room to where you are meeting. Have a look on the internet on a map so you see exactly where you’ll be meeting, compared to where you are going to be staying. In case you do not know the local or surrounding area, you might want to stay near a company or civic facility in which your company is holding their business.
  • Business travelers understand how to make the most of the resources offered to travelers specifically on business. Find hotels that focus on the travelling business person. These hotels won’t have amenities for families and neither are they attempting to attract buses of adolescents in route to a camp. When you need to pay attention to business details and not the kids running in the hallway, this will help you find appropriate (and professional) lodging.
  • Packing vital electronic things is likewise one of several business travel tips. In case you are traveling overseas, make certain you are aware of the telecommunications requirements of the country. Make certain you pack a couple of USB memory sticks. You will never know if they may require them.
  • Never pack your laptop inside your luggage. Your laptop may be a pivotal element of your trip. Inside a flight terminal in an unexpected emergency situation, your wireless laptop may be used to adjust reservations so that you can prevent all those long lines for getting your next flight out. You’ll be able to arrange accommodations by automobile or snag just one of the few remaining rooms in hotels in the city straight from the convenience of the seats in the airport terminal.
  • If you plan well, then you can normally just walk to your meeting or hotel, while the people around you are stressed – simply because you knew the way to balance technology plus the need to help yourself out of a situation that could have been a problem.
  • But one way to use your laptop computer to help yourself if there is a situation where the airport terminal is shut all the way down would be the limited electric power of laptop computers. To see your electric battery go lifeless just when you wanted it by far the most is a lot like watching your tire go flat on the freeway because you drove over glass on your way to the meeting.
  • What few people know is that you have open electric-powered outlets in air terminals which are there for cleanup crews. Once you are at the airport – discover exactly where those outlets are. Normally you can find these outlets just underneath the windows that look over the landing strips. If you can secure a seat close to these outlets, it is possible to replenish your laptop computer and maintain your lifeline to everyone you need to.

Combining Your Vacation and Business Travel to Save on Taxes

A vacation can be quite a high expenditure, yet may be a necessary break for you and your family. As vacations are typically considered a luxury expense, it means that you have to bear all the costs for your vacation with no help or breaks from Uncle Sam. However, with proper tax planning, you can deduct some vacation expenses under business travel. This is common practice is especially popular in the corporate world. Ever wondered why management meetings, corporate strategic meetings, or client entertainment are done in extravagant and lavish hotels?

You need to be careful when deducting the vacation/”business” expenses to ensure that you are within the rules of what the IRS qualifies as permissible costs. Furthermore, besides business travel, you can also deduct expenses for travel that couples as trips in looking for a job. These tips will help you properly plan your trip and maximize on possible “business” deductions:

Job Hunt Travel Expenses

The tax code allows for individuals to deduct travel expenses for travel to look for employment, even if one does not consequently get a job. However, you need to have been searching for a job that is in line with your current occupation. You cannot claim deductions if you are a first-time job searcher or if you are looking for a job outside your current career field. The IRS does not also allow taxpayers to deduct expenses if they have been unemployed for a long time and are looking to get back into the job market, even if their search for a job is within his or her former business or career specialty. The IRS permits deductions for expenses including travel, meals, and lodging accommodations. Therefore, when planning your vacation, you can combine the travel expenses with the expenses accumulated in search of new employment to claim the deductions.

Transportation Costs for Business Travel

Business travel deductions come with several rules that have to be carefully followed. The IRS is aware that a lot of business expenses can be misused to cater to personal expenses. Therefore, this could be a red flag area for IRS audits and therefore, you need to be careful when claiming such deductions. Costs for transportation within the U.S. are allowed if a trip has a business purpose. For international travel, a taxpayer will need to demonstrate that at least 75% of the trip’s purpose was for business to have the costs allowed as a deductible. If not, the taxpayer will need to set aside the business elements of the travel costs from the personal elements. If business travel is on a cruise, then it has to be on a U.S. vessel and the vessel must avoid docking at foreign harbors to be tax deductible. The business expense deductible for a cruise has at a cap of $2,000.00 a year.

Accommodation and Meals for Business Travel

For accommodation and meals, one needs to show that the stay was business-driven. However, you can overstay in your travel destination and enjoy a vacation after the business dealings are done. In such a case, you can only deduct the transport expenses and the expenses incurred during the business period of your trip. You will have to shoulder the full expenses of the extension time, as this is a personal expense. For business meals for yourself and your business associates, the tax code allows for only 50% of the cost to be deductible (you will need to foot the other 50% without a deduction break).

Other Expenses

The IRS also allows the deduction of any other business-related expenses while on your business travel. These expenses include tips, any taxi or car hiring expenses, phone calls, Internet connectivity charges, and laundry. However, the expenses need to be reasonable to avoid unnecessary audits. Furthermore, the IRS can reject deduction claims based on the levels of extravagance. There is a fine balancing that needs to be practiced here to avoid any IRS problems.

Travel with Family

If your business and vacation travel includes your family, you cannot deduct any of the expenses relating only to your family. You can however, deduct any costs that you shared with your family as business expenses. If for example you traveled to your destination for business in your car with your family in tow, then the transport will be an allowable business expense. You can also combine other costs such as car-hire costs and shared accommodations.

Why not combine business with pleasure? If you have the opportunity to travel for business, you can enjoy some new restaurants, hotels, or entertainment spots with your business associates and be able to get some tax relief from Uncle Sam. Or, maybe you can take some “personal time” on the road and do some job hunting on your trip to get some tax breaks.

Do Not Let Business Travel Disrupt Your Fitness

You have your ticket, you are packed, and the airport van is picking you up for your next business trip. Leaving Sunday afternoon and returning Friday evening has become routine over the last couple of years. You ran your errands and spent time with the family. You managed a brief workout early Saturday morning so you could attend the kid’s soccer games and birthday parties. Business travel is difficult. Lately you are feeling your clothes tightening around your waste. It has not gotten to the point of buying new clothes, yet. Ask yourself if this sounds familiar. There are more and more business professionals challenged with stressful jobs compounded by stressful travel. Surely, this takes a toll on the family and personal life[1], but even more important it could be destroying your health. When your health is gone, your family and job is in jeopardy.

Health and fitness for traveling business professionals is a serious concern, “But it is also a source of a variety of stresses, often overlooked or denied by both organizations and travelers themselves. The World Bank, studying its own travelers, discovered that both their physical and mental health-care claims were significantly greater than those of nontravelers.“[2] The typical executive travels 3-5 days per week. They eat ninety-five percent of their meals in airports, restaurants, or fast food establishments. They eat late while entertaining clients. Most of them do not exercise on the road even though gyms are available in hotels. In addition, most traveling business professionals do not get the deep sleep they need. Any medical professional, or fitness expert, will tell you this lifestyle is a recipe for disaster.

There are several resources offering ways to eat right and workout while traveling.[3] Videos abound on exercises you can use while traveling.[4] Still with all this information available, the vast majority of business travelers fail to eat right and workout on the road. Why is this? The problem is more behavior than access to good food and workout facilities. The solution is more education about fitness, not more facilities, workouts, and supplements. People who understand “why” about anything tend to accept and change more than those who do not take the time to understand a subject. Think about this principal. Continuing education is designed to make you more proficient at your job. The more you know and experience the more valuable you become to your employer. Your self-worth and self-esteem increases. This is true when it comes to fitness. The difference is you are your own boss. Here lies the root cause of the problem. If fitness is not a priority in your life, you have too many irons in the fire, you are stretched thin, and now your travel time takes up twenty percent of your waking hours, then you will put fitness on the back burner. The next thing you know you are twenty-five pounds heavier, your body fat percent is nearing obesity, and you have little energy at the end of the workday. At this point, your doctor informs you that your blood pressure is elevating and recommends blood pressure medicine.

A CEO who has all the distractions mentioned earlier recognizes the problem, does not drop everything, and still attacks the specific problem. They would contract a professional, e.g. lawyer, CPA, or consultant to help them filter through all the information and establish a good plan to attack the problem. These professionals allow the CEO to attack the problem while dealing with all the distractions, and still achieve his/her goals. The traveling businessperson should have the same approach to solving their fitness problem. Their professional is a private personal trainer, or fitness consultant.

Private personal trainers have the ability to provide you the right amount of information you need at the time you need it without you spending large amounts of time researching nutrition or exercise routines. They have the ability to assess your current fitness level then design a nutritional and exercise program that works for you. In addition, they can continually assess you, and make changes that will allow you to progress. Good private personal trainers have the ability to council behavior as well as design programs. They hold their clients accountable the same way a CEO uses a consultant to help them maintain accountability for a strategy. In most cases, a private personal trainer is more expensive than a gym personal trainer, but offer services that are more customized and personal. They are normally much less expensive than business consultants. You should consider a private personal trainer as an investment not an expense, the same way a CEO considers a consultant as an investment. So if you are traveling how can a private personal trainer help? You sure are not going to pay them to travel with you. The good news is technology helps to solve this problem.

Today private personal trainers have a wealth of technology available to them to help resolve the two biggest problems preventing fitness while traveling, i.e. education and accountability. Private personal trainers normally have their own web site. This web site provides the tools necessary to help their traveling client. Let us review a few tools that provide a near personal training experience on the road for a fraction of the cost.

 

  1. You have access to articles, other web sites, and educational material on your personal trainer’s web site. Your personal trainer can provide information based on your level of fitness. In other words, they provide the right information at the right time. You are not wasting time.
  2. Your personal trainer can provide a private login on their web site that has all your information, e.g. measurements, training schedule, exercise videos, meal programs, etc. This section of their web site is password protected for your privacy. Google documents offer great tools for this type of interface.
  3. Accountability is available with the use of Google’s calendar and SMS notifications. SMS messages are pre-assigned via the Google calendar for clients. They receive alerts on their phone saying to snack, complete a workout, etc. Business travelers have the ability to respond through SMS text messaging, email, or a phone call letting the trainer know what they have eaten, or that they completed their workout routine. If not contacted the trainer will follow-up. This happens no matter where the business travelers, or the trainer, are in the world.
  4. Clients can sign-up on
  5. It is less than $10.00 per month and offers the ability to track and monitor nutrition, activities, journals, and moods. By providing their trainer access, the trainer can track all activity 24/7. This combines nutrition, exercise, and behavior extremely well. This provides the trainer the information needed to council clients through a variety of virtual techniques, e.g. SMS texting, web site response, email, phone call, or SKYPE.
  6. Skype, Google Video Talk, and other video conferencing tools allow clients to schedule times with their trainer in order for the trainer to view the business traveler’s workout. This is convenient if they are working out in a hotel room.
  7. Finally, it is important to meet at least once a week when possible with your personal trainer face-to-face to celebrate your progress, establish new measurements, and set new goals.

This type of professional and private personal training is available to travelers. One company providing this service is Strategy for Fitness(TM). Overcoming a lack of education and accountability will be a big step to improving your fitness level. These services are an investment in your life. You have someone who is interested in your health and wellness and can counsel you on an ongoing basis no matter where you are. Using technology reduces your overall cost for personal training. Accountability is a powerful motivator. Trainers can hold business travelers accountable through advanced technology services. Do not let excuses become a barrier to improving your fitness while you travel. There are no excuses.

[1] Espino, C, Sundstrom S, Frick H, Jacobs M, Peters, M, “International Business Travel: impact on families and travelers”. Occupational and Environmental Med Medicine. January 11, 2010 .

[2] James Striker, Lennart Dimberg, Bernhard H Liese, “Stress and business travel: Individual, managerial, and corporate concerns”. Journal of Organizational Excellence Vol. 20 Issue 1 pages 3-10. January 11, 2010

The Upside to Business Travel

Many people abhor traveling for business, while some only hate it when they are consistently on the road as a road warrior. They frequently miss home, having their own familiar place to stay, and home cooking. Still, there are a number of tips for the business traveler that can make the best of traveling for business.

Free Fun Travel
Traveling for business can also help increase traveling for pleasure. While flying, staying at hotels, and renting cars one can be collecting loyalty points for future use. This means that one can be traveling for fun with the rewards of their business travel. It is a liberating feeling to walk to an airline counter and cash in some points for a trip to anywhere in the world- Vegas for the weekend or take someone special to Paris.

Travel Perks
Being a frequent traveler with the loyalty programs will have you an established elite traveler in no time. Pay attention to the requirements and do what you can to get elite status as soon as you can. The perks are tremendous with free and sometimes unexpected upgrades. Preference in the check-in lines will make a huge difference when you are pressed for time or dog tired at the end of the day. Preference in check-in/check-out times will be a perk you will use often.

Be In The Now
Every major town will have its unique flavor and will have some tourist must sees. See them when you have down time. When you are constantly on the road it will seem enticing to stay in a hotel room and relax to some TV, but when you do this day after day, town after town no wonder burn-out settles in. Get out and explore, get to know the town, it will undoubtedly help your business in that town to know more about it. Try the specialty foods of the area, stay away from national chains. And if you do find that you travel the same cities consistently, then make it your town. Find some favorite places to eat and entertain yourself, then you can actually look forward to visiting again.

Being able to travel for business is a wonderful opportunity and should not be seen as a burden. Changing of the attitude may be as simple as looking to the pluses and not focusing on the negatives of frequent travel.