It’s Time to Prepare for Winter Business Travel

After the languid months of summer, the fall arrives to remind us that the time has come to be serious. But it’s not until the winter season that business travel becomes a real challenge to manage. It’s hard to plan ahead when weather conditions can be so unpredictable.

Winter planning means thinking through the possible impact of heavy rains or big snow storms on all types of travel. It means factoring in cancellations at the airport and possible slowdowns on the streets.

That’s why it’s important to start planning as early as possible. The best time, of course, is right now.

Here are some tips for making winter travel as smooth as possible:

1. The middle of the day is better for travel than early in the morning or late at night.

Schedule as much of the moving around from place to place for the middle portion of the day. It is the warmest time of day and also the most important to general commerce in any given city. So municipal leaders will make more effort to keep the roads clear and traffic moving.

It also makes sense for air travel times. When planes are being delayed or cancelled, the middle of the day offers the most alternatives. That allows you to be flexible if a route is canceled due to heavy storms.

2. Look for hotels that offer the widest possible range of services.

If the weather is particularly cold or rainy, people are not going to want to venture outside unless it’s absolutely necessary. So the more you can provide for your colleagues at the hotel itself, the higher the morale will stay during the course of the trip.

Most hotels offer a place to eat. It’s also helpful if the hotel has space for meetings so that if your staff are hosting clients for lunch or dinner and the weather suddenly turns for the worse, the staff members can help both parties by keeping them warm and dry.

3. Avoid layovers as much as possible.

It also makes sense to plan direct flights rather than saving money by booking flights with layovers. The extra destinations double your chances of a cancellation that could set your timetable off course. At the same time, if a layover is crucial to the visit, make sure there is enough time between flights to cover a modest delay.

If you can’t manage to plan the travel without a stop in another city, try to minimize the impact of a cancellation by packing as lightly as possible. If it can be managed, limiting travel to carry-ons only can make it easier if a connecting flight is missed because of delays in departure.

4. Fly to smaller airports

The total number of people being served at a given airport could have an impact on how the airport responds to various situations. For example, if a flight has to be rescheduled, you want as few people as possible in front of you competing for the limited number of seats on the next flight. It could also be the difference between a cancelled flight and a delay.

On the other hand, smaller airports tend to be farther outside of town than larger ones. So that means there could be greater difficulties getting from the airport to the hotel if the roads are closed due to bad weather. However, waiting for the roads to get plowed tends to be shorter than waiting for a new flight.

5. Use an app to scan receipts for accounting and for VAT return claims

Keeping track of receipts of all different shapes and sizes and languages is one of the most challenging aspects of travel to get right. Invariably, a taxi receipt that was stuffed into a pocket will get lost, or a receipt for a large dinner will be illegible by the time it reaching the accounting office.

The best solution is to have an app on the phone that lets you scan the receipts in and keeps them organized. The app will not only make life easier on the weary travelers who are charged with keeping all the records but also help the trip planners see exactly where all the money is going at a glance.

Best of all, the latest apps also perform some of the most tiresome tasks such as filing for VAT returns. Instead of leaving money on the table, the apps do the heavy lifting so that you get the money that rightfully belongs to you.

For the complete story on recovering VAT in EU countries, download our eBook.

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