Top Tips for savvy travellers

As the week slowly draws to a close does Lillian Gaitho take a look at how to make travel easier …

Top Tips for the Millennial Business Traveler

From a conference in Accra to a high power luncheon and workshop in Cape Town, and a weekend with family back home; nothing says ‘global village’ more than the itinerary of the new business traveler. What comes to mind however, are the number of countless researches that point to the new business traveler hitting a high chance of being a millennial as compared to the Baby-Boomer and their Generations X counterpart. Why, you may ask, because most of them are fast rising professionals, have less to tie them down and are generally more flexible and open to lifestyle experiences and opportunities. Travel for business does not have to be drab and exhausting; whether across the country, region or the continent, here is a list of tips from Lillian that will help you get the best for your buck and save time in your corporate-related travels.

Be Loyal

We all know the Millennial as a value hunter; the kind who will place a search on the best priced flight months ahead of the set date. But, business travel may deny you that predictability, forcing you be like a scout – always prepared. One way to make sure that your endless and sometimes unforeseen globe trotting pays off is to enlist on Frequent Flier Miles as well as build up on your credit card points. While away from the familiar, ensure that you have either a payment plan that will allow you to reap big for your loyalty. A disclaimer to this good advice is that sometimes frequent flier mile maybe outdone by better, cost effective flights; do your math where need be and take the option that favors both your (financier’s) pocket and your comfort.

Be Nice, it could score you some favour

Low season, a warm smile and the right words could make the magic formula capable of upgrading you from your usual single room to the penthouse; well, (dreams are valid) but if they don’t take you to the peak, a suite will still be way better, and who knows; afford you the best view. All I am saying is, sometimes being nice to the receptionist or your booking agent could yield great reward. Again, it doesn’t hurt to ask, if you notice the hotel is half empty, make the suggestion and see what happens. Remember what they said about the lad and the fair lady?

Proximity is key; where all factors remain constant

I am a strong believer in boarding in the same hotel as the meeting will take place. But, like most things ( I am a Millennial), flexibility is key. If you can afford to stay in an out of town location that will give you more value for money in terms of experience without compromising on your work schedule; go for it. For instance, if traffic ever improved along Entebbe-Kampala road, I’d always chose to stay in the former while driving to the capital for any meetings. This way, I’ll have the pleasure of enjoying the beaches, birding and botanics in Entebbe and still steal some hours to tour the main city.

Get a grip of your flight plan

This goes beyond knowing your boarding date and time, to understanding the route, stops and layover times. The greatest confusion in a flier’s language lies in differentiating between direct flight and non-stop flight. While the former is a bit twisted in that, you can fly from destination A to B without diverting elsewhere, the latter could insinuate possible layovers without switching plane! It’s very possible to mistake direct for non-stop, and end up losing crucial time that could interfere with the rest of your itinerary.

Leg room, in-room and all around entertainment

If there is one thing that causes anxiety in the finance department anytime a bunch of young professionals send their budget for business travel, it’s the need for comfort and the inability to make ‘little sacrifices’. Which, if I may play the devil’s advocate, is their right. You want a well put together presentation at the next convention, you might as well be ready to cover a little above creature comforts for your flag bearers. There’s however, several ways that Finance and the traveler can implement and meet each other halfway; part of this include having a well understood and fair corporate travel guideline that covers the interest of both parties. Also, ensure that while making travel plans, the key party – who is the traveler- is engaged through the planning, and their (special) needs considered. They may be value hunters but research does clearly indicate Millennial won’t mind spending a little more of employer’s buck that they would if they were covering their own cost!

The social experience

This is a big deal; because every last moment of the new traveler seems to have been perceived, planned and executed on the world wide web. After a day-full of meetings, keynote address and high insight presentations, your never-failing, energetic and eager to explore Millennial self will no doubt be out for a memorable time. Make sure you place yourself on the right scene. A hotel with friendly social experiences will come in handy, hotels that are now recreating their services to fit this new and growing need. Among others, hotel-organized activities such as happy hour, bonfire, group walks etc seem to be a hit. Check on such details at the time of your booking to avoid disappointments.

Fly charged!

Well, this only goes for your devices. Final thing to do after you ensure your carry on is within ideal weight is to ascertain that your gang of gadgetry is wielding full power. There’s nothing as frustrating as playing frozen on one spot during layovers because your dear battery is dying on you. You may want to assume that the airport lounge have since embraced the new dawn by providing charging stations; but chances are you are not the only one with this assumption, why not play safe?

By Lillian Gaitho