Karolina Kosik, Category Manager for Travel, shares some tips to help you safely return to business travel.
After a few months of working from home and not being able to travel pretty much anywhere, we are so eager for things to return to some sort of normality. For some, it may be commuting to their offices, visiting customers or suppliers locally, while others may be already thinking about more complex longer stays, either within the UK or abroad. If you do not feel ready yet, that is fine too. Whatever the purpose of our travel is, and whether it is tomorrow or in six months’ time, we all need to make sure we plan it well and adapt to the new normal.
Regardless of the mode of transport or service required, it is recommended that you book all your travel through your Travel Management Company (TMC) or a dedicated specialist supplier. They will be able to advise you on border restrictions, in-country legislation and local protocols, as well as other elements of your journey such as transfer options and accommodation. They can also alert you to any changes and provide electronic documentation, such as e-ticketing options to maintain social distancing and minimise your need for physical interaction with staff and technology.
These tips are generic to help and support all travellers, but of course, when travelling on business, it is important to always check and book in accordance with your employer’s travel policy.
Before you go
- check-in online and save your boarding pass/ticket on your phone (when possible) for a contactless journey through the airport or station
- take your passport and necessary documents and have them easily accessible – at some airports, you may be able to hold your passport up rather than hand it over to border control to avoid contact
- pack a few face masks and hand sanitisers as you will need them at every stage of your journey
- take snacks in case the meal service is not available or is reduced – you can ask your TMC for more information about your flight / train operator
- don’t forget your pen, as in some places, you may have to sign something. You will likely get a pen that has been disinfected, but just in case, have your own
- pack your debit/credit card as you should try to use contactless payments rather than cash, where possible
Public transport and car journeys
- use your own car, rental car or book a taxi (your TMC will be able to help you) to get to/from the terminal and station
- in a taxi, sit in the rear left seat and never in the front (the further from the driver the better). Have windows open, where possible. If travelling in a group, use more than one vehicle
- if you hire a car, go for a paperless pick-up, where possible. Your supplier should be able to arrange that for you
- wipe the steering wheel and other surfaces in the car with a disinfectant before you set off. In addition, all cars should be thoroughly cleaned after each drop-off
- wear a mask and use hand sanitiser (frequently) throughout the journey
- travel at off-peak times, especially if you have to use public transport. Wear a mask and remember the rules on social distancing
- reserve your seat on a train, if available. Train operators are able to distance you from other confirmed passengers
Travelling by plane
- plan some extra time at the airport to familiarise yourself with the new regulations. There may be a new pedestrian traffic flow system in place and a limited number of people allowed in each check-in zone
- consider checking in your bags, if possible. Some airlines suggest keeping your hand baggage to a minimum
- change your face mask every 3 to 4 hours if you are travelling long-haul
- sit back and relax – airlines prioritise your health and safety and are disinfecting all surfaces after each flight. The HEPA filters replace the air in the cabin every 2-3 minutes. That’s probably better than in your office
- many airports have a disinfectant facility for luggage but you should remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before you leave the airport for the next stage of your journey
- choose contactless check-in and check-out when available. Your TMC will be able to explain how this is operated
- wear a mask in all public areas and use hand sanitiser regularly (if you can’t wash your hands). All public areas are frequently cleaned in most hotels and have rooms disinfected after each guest
- take advantage of room service, if you prefer a contactless stay. In some hotels buffets are not available and restaurants may be still closed. There may be some take away restaurants in the vicinity of a hotel that can deliver so check with the hotel if they accept them
- ask for an electronic invoice rather than a paper one
Need more information?
Hopefully you have found the tips above useful. If you need any more advice or guidance, please contact our travel team and we will be happy to help you.
You can also find out more about each of our travel frameworks, and our suppliers, by following the links below: