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Sadly the days of first class and unlimited expense accounts are over for most, and companies are trying to tighten their belts and get as much as possible out of business trips abroad – and yet your mother, colleagues and friends may still imagine you enjoying champagne breakfasts and unlimited bar tabs. Here are the top three business travel myths debunked, and what you can do to make the reality a little more like the fantasy.
Myth: Business travellers always travel first class
Many, many business travellers now fly economy class and end up with the same lost luggage/ delayed flight/cramped seat woes as everyone else. Hotels are not always five star, and more often than not, it’s a bite to eat on the fly, rather than steak dinners every night.
How to upgrade the reality: Never miss an opportunity to collect airline points, these can often be traded for an upgrade when needed. Also, look into upmarket furnished apartments instead of hotels, they can often be larger, more luxurious, and cheaper than a hotel.
Myth: “Entertaining Clients” means a free night of debauchery on the town
The company may well be paying for an upscale dinner, executive sports box, or event tickets, but these outings are nothing like a night out with buddies for a business traveler. There may be fois gras and good wine, but along with that comes the pressure of ensuring clients or potential customers have a good time, that the host represents his or her company in a favourable manner, and that important relationships, agreements, and projects are secured.
How to upgrade the reality: Try to at least choose ‘entertainment options’ that you are interested in or knowledgeable about. Keep the clients in mind, obviously, but don’t subject yourself to three hours of opera if you’ll want to jump off the balcony afterwards.
Myth: Business travel is like a vacation you get paid for
Business trips can often be stressful and lonely. In many cases, the business traveler will find themselves in a hotel room alone after a long day of meetings and negotiations. Sometimes, he or she will be in a city where they don’t speak the language and don’t know anyone. More often than not, there is no time in the schedule for sightseeing and the business traveler will see very little of the city in which they do business.
How to upgrade the reality: See if you can schedule business trips for later in the week, so that you can extend over the weekend and spend time getting to know the city. The concierge service at your hotel or apartment will be more than happy to recommend sights and activities, and can even get you discounts on local restaurants, spas, events, and classes like yoga or cooking.