Business Travel: The Most Common Mistakes to Avoid

Business travel can be an exciting and productive experience, but it can also come with its own set of challenges. Many things can go wrong during a corporate trip, from unexpected delays and language barriers to lost luggage and canceled flights. 

To ensure that your travel goes smoothly, it is crucial to be aware of the most common mistakes and take steps to avoid them. Whether you’re booking your own itinerary or your assistant is taking care of it, this list will help you stay clear of the most common yet easily avoidable business travel mishaps.

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EXEC Members receive preferred pricing and other benefits with many of the services listed below—and a good deal more—with an EXEC Membership.

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1. Procrastination

One of the biggest business travel mistakes is procrastination. Whether packing or booking, give yourself enough time to ensure you're ready for your trip. 

Procrastination can be a significant source of frustration because facing your deadlines is difficult when you start putting things off. But, by rushing through the process, you could easily miss important details and run into problems on the road, such as: 

  • Missing an opportunity for greater convenience (or worse, wasting money)
  • Not knowing what you need and forgetting essential items
  • Ending up with a schedule that conflicts with other obligations
  • Laying the groundwork for stress and disrupted sleep when you travel

Booking travel in advance can also prevent overspending because most hotels and airlines offer discounts and benefits for early booking. 

Arranging corporate trips as early as possible will save companies on their travel budget in the long run. The cost of booking a flight within a week of travel is typically 40-45% higher than the same trip booked 15+ days in advance. These savings can amount to a significant total in annual travel spending. 

2. Forgetting The Budget

When traveling for business, it's easy to let your spending get out of control. You're in a new city, meeting with people you've never met before and probably won't meet again, staying at a fancy hotel, and eating at swanky restaurants — this can quickly add up to a much higher bill than expected. 

While it's essential to have the right mindset when traveling for business, there are some practical things you can do to ensure those expenses stay manageable.

  • Ensure you’re aware of the company travel policy and the expenses they’ve approved
  • Track your costs with the company’s expense management software
  • Make a list of must-have items and stick to it
  • Know what is considered reimbursable and distinguish between personal and business expenses 

Read more here for a guide on getting the most out of corporate travel discounts.

EXEC is a benefits program tailored to offer exclusive travel discounts and curated resources to make corporate travel convenient and hassle-free. 

EXEC Members receive preferred pricing and other benefits with many of the services listed below—and a good deal more—with an EXEC Membership.

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3. Not Incorporating Bleisure 

Planes, trains, automobiles — and if you're lucky, maybe a Segway or golf cart. 

It's important to remember that during business travel, you still have time for leisure and exploring—and that means taking advantage of it. So to help keep yourself from getting stuck in a rut and burning out, stay grounded in reality rather than becoming immersed in your work by making changes to your daily schedule while on business travel. 

Avoid burnout by incorporating bleisure in your trips—set up free time to explore the city you're staying in. Take advantage of local amenities like parks, museums, and restaurants. It's also important not to over-schedule yourself with appointments and meetings that take away from personal time and rest. 

Only schedule what is absolutely necessary: having large blocks of free time is more productive than being constantly busy with things to do because it allows for reflection and creativity.

Check out EXEC’s guide to bleisure for several popular destinations, including New York, Miami, and Las Vegas

4. Making Unhealthy Decisions

Whether it’s lack of sleep due to jetlag, the lack of time to exercise, or that hard-to-resist cocktail at a client dinner, it can be tough to make the ‘healthier choice’ while traveling. 

Getting on the sleep schedule of the city you’re in is critical to a successful business trip. In addition, avoid overindulging in alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and meals that lack nutritional value. 

Click here for an in-depth read on the healthy habits of frequent travelers and how you can protect your well-being when traveling for business.  

5. Not Making An Emergency Plan

It's always better to be safe than sorry.

When traveling for business, preparing for the worst is critical. If you're going on a trip, especially long distance, where the unexpected is likely, make sure you have an evacuation assistance plan. This can include anything from a simple calling card to a comprehensive travel insurance policy, but it should always address your concerns in case disaster strikes. 

Programs like Covac Global and Medjet have fully indemnified memberships that allow members to travel freely with peace of mind, enabling them to focus on what matters most. Whether it's a medical emergency or a natural disaster, these companies keep your safety at the top of their priority list. 

EXEC Members receive discounted membership rates with Covac Global and Medjet. 

Wrapping Up

Given the hectic nature of business travel, it's not surprising that mistakes and mishaps will occur along the way. But you can take steps to prevent them from happening in the first place. Preparing for corporate travel can mitigate the risks and foster a better traveling experience for everyone involved.