Courtesy and Trip Planning
Many American businessmen do a great deal of travelling as part of their job. Others travel only occasionally. In neither case is a business trip a spur-of-the-moment affair; it must be planned if it is to be successful.
The planner may be the businessman or businesswoman who will be the traveller but very often t is a secretary or traffic manager who handles the details of planning It is in making arrangements for someone else that courtesy and etiquette come into play. That is why this article and also the next one (listed at the bottom of this article) are written for the person who plans a trip for another. But many of the hints and suggestions given here will be helpful to the person planning his own trip.
Basically, there are two kinds of travellers One kind travels to see specific people and companies; he makes appointments, then lays out an itinerary that will get him to those appointments. The other kind of traveller who is apt to spend more time on the road, is the area or territory traveller He tends to plan his route first, then make appointments according to the route.
When you plan a trip, no matter how long or short, you can save the traveller’s time and temper if you get all necessary information before you try to get reservations. Have the traveller tell you the departure time, cities to be visited and when he must arrive there to keep any appointment he might have, length of stay at each place.
Learn the personal likes and dislikes of the traveller in regard to hotels, modes of travel, and so on.
Arranging an Itinerary
It is an absolute “must” that you set up a written itinerary, or trip plan. If you don’t you will find that information on train, plane and bus schedules will get lost in the shuffle.
Keeping Track of Itinerary Plans: Set up a work sheet with plenty of room for alternate methods of travel. Include the following columns:
- Method of transportation (make this a wide column)
- Departure time
- Time of arrival
Start by noting the date and destination for the first lap of the trip. If for some reason the traveller does not give you instructions about the method of transportation he wants, get information on both plane and train accommodations. This will take a little more time than if you knew how he planned to travel, but it may save you both aggravation and time later, when you are making final arrangements. Don’t forget to get both arrival and departure times in every case.
Note: Also be sure to include which airport or rail-road station the plane or train leaves from (and arrives at) in your “method of transportation” column. The traveller will be quite unhappy waiting at East Terminal while his train pulls out of West Station.
Little Things Mean a Lot
Below are some points that may seem elementary but are easy to overlook in the task of getting information together. These are the “little things” that can make a business trip a pleasure instead of a chore.
- Remember that there is a difference in time zones. Be sure that everyone concerned with the trip is talking about the same time.
- Include in your list (if you know it) the amount of time that the traveller will need to get from the airport or railway station to his appointment. It is disconcerting for a traveller to reach his city of destination at 1:50 when he has an appointment on the other side of town for 2:00 o’clock.
- Find out if he can have lunch or dinner en route. If not, allow time for him to eat before his appointment.
A Sample Itinerary
Now that you have planned the itinerary and made the necessary arrangements, type up the final itinerary in the form shown below:
Extra copies of the itinerary should go to the traveller’s family and to co-workers who may need to know how to reach him.