Most businesses maintain operations year-round, which means that traveling during the holiday season is inevitable. If you know that your employer will be sending you on a business trip during the peak holiday season, start your travel planning now to avoid delays, disappointments, and challenges.
The challenges of holiday travel
There are many factors that make holiday travel difficult, including costs, weather, and the sheer number of people who travel to see family and friends this time of year. Below are some of the reasons why there is a higher risk of disruption during a holiday business trip.
The uptick in travelers between Thanksgiving and New Years Day means that airlines, car rental companies, and hotels can all charge more for their services. As a result, the cost of business travel can be expected to soar.
In addition to driving the cost of travel up, holiday crowds can also make travel more frustrating: There are more people in travel facilities, creating longer lines. There is also an increased risk of being bumped from flights or showing up at a car rental facility or hotel only to find out that they’ve overbooked and you don’t have the room or vehicle that you expected to have.
There’s an increased chance of severe weather conditions this time of year, which can lead to cancellations and delays, which can be expensive, particularly if you have to pay to change a flight or are stuck spending extra nights at a hotel. Driving conditions can also be hazardous, which means that you’ll have to be particularly careful while on the road.
If your traveling dates are close to specific holidays, you will want to ensure that you are able to enjoy planned family events. The threat of delays or cancellations that could keep you from being home for the holidays can cause significant stress while traveling.
Holiday travel strategies
Fortunately, there are multiple ways to reduce the risk of travel disruptions during holiday travel. By planning ahead, you can help ensure that your trip goes smoothly and, even if there are issues during your trip, that they will have a minimal impact on your well-being or holiday plans.
Extended duty of care
Talk to your employer about an extended duty of care during your holiday travels. This may mean keeping in closer touch with your home office to ensure that your trip is going as planned, allowing for additional expenses due to delayed travel, providing you with alternative transportation options in case of cancellations, and monitoring the weather so that you aren’t traveling when a blizzard is expected.
Make flexible arrangements
Opt for changeable tickets and refundable fares and rates. The risk of needing to make changes or cancel travel plans altogether is much higher during peak travel seasons: You, and your employer, will have peace of mind knowing that it is possible to make changes.
Consider pre-screening services
Lines are often a problem at airports and they are often longer and slower during holiday travel periods. Signing up for CLEAR or TSA PreCheck can make it a lot easier for you to move quickly through airport security lines, reducing both your stress levels and chances of missing your flight.
Even if your check-in, boarding, and flight are uneventful, there is still an increased risk of baggage loss during busy travel times. Try to limit your packing to a single, carry-on bag. If that isn’t practical, make sure that you carry your hygiene items, medications, and at least one change of clothes in your carry-on.
Set up travel alerts
Sign up for travel updates through vendor mobile apps. These will send you text messages if your travel arrangements change so you’ll know what to expect and what to do. Be sure to bring a portable power bank so that you can keep your phone charged and your mobile apps accessible even if you experience a long delay at the airport.
How CLC Lodging can help
CLC Lodging’s business travel services, along with its mobile app, can help you and your employer manage your travel experience. You’ll be able to select accommodations that meet your needs at pre-negotiated discounts with flexible cancellation policies. And travel managers can view duty of care reservation mapping to quickly locate reservations in case of an emergency. Our 24/7 traveler support can provide help if you find yourself dealing with canceled flights, poor weather conditions, or other disruptions. Join CLC Lodging for free today!
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