The coronavirus outbreak saw unexpected border closures, quarantine measures, and other travel restrictions that virtually brought our lives to a halt, particularly if corporate travel and attending meetings, conferences, and trade shows all around the globe was an integral aspect of our lives. But with the world slowly opening back up, business travel becomes a viable option once again. However, many professionals might still be wondering how they could protect themselves and their employees during such unprecedented times. To that end, here is everything you need to know about safe and enjoyable business travel during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Driving is always advised
If you have the option to travel with your own vehicle, driving is the safest transportation solution during the pandemic, both in terms of local and international travel. Not only is driving a car incredibly convenient, allowing you to set your own schedules and go at your own pace, but it also gives you the opportunity to stay isolated and minimize any pandemic-related risks. Similarly, driving your vehicle will also help you to avoid public transportation once you reach your destination, thus reducing the chances of contracting the virus, while ensuring promptness and professionalism as well.
Air travel is a safe option
In case you are forced to visit more faraway destinations, on the other hand, or you simply don’t own a personal vehicle, air travel is another safe alternative. In fact, flying is considered to be among the safest transportation options during COVID-19, largely due to the efficient air filters and ventilation systems used in airplanes. However, standing in long lines and touching different surfaces could still present an issue. For that reason, it’s advised to always wear a protective face mask and sanitize your hands after touching any common surface, in an effort to decrease the risk of transmission.
Private accommodation is best
When booking accommodation options, it’s best to avoid more traditional solutions such as hotels and motels, as their often crowded nature could present higher risks of contracting COVID-19. What’s more, the busy schedules of these institutions could also mean that hygiene is not up to par during such uncertain periods either. Instead, a much better solution would be to find comfortable studios for rent situated in prime city locations, preferably near convenient business centers. Aside from minimizing the need for public transport, these apartments are also private and small enough that proper cleaning and sanitization can be ensured, while providing essential maid services and additional amenities like kitchens and laundry rooms as well.
Travel guidelines are enforced
Regardless of your business travel destination, keep in mind that every country, region, and even city could have certain guidelines and restrictions set in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. For some, this could simply mean requiring negative COVID-19 tests when entering the area, while for others it might also include necessary quarantine periods. If you are fully vaccinated, proof of vaccination alone would be enough to freely travel to most destinations around the world. In any case, it’s always recommended to do a thorough research of any local rules and regulations before finally booking your business trip, in order to stay properly prepared.
Travel insurance can be updated
Although travel insurance is an important aspect of any business trip, it’s never been quite as crucial as during the pandemic. Your current, standard policies likely don’t offer coverage for COVID-19, which is why it pays to invest in more comprehensive travel insurance. For instance, you might want to opt for a coronavirus-specific plan that covers potential medical costs and other expenses in case you contract the virus abroad. You could also choose policies that include cancellations or “change of mind” coverage, to ensure you won’t suffer any losses in case you are forced to cancel your trip last minute due to any sudden changes relating to COVID-19.
Business etiquette is changing
It does not only travel requirements that have changed during the pandemic; the business etiquette might be different as well. Nearly every office, conference, or business meeting you will be attending will include a face mask mandate, if not additional aspects such as temperature checks, proof of vaccination, and questionnaires. Additionally, some companies could also be adhering to social distancing guidelines, avoiding handshakes, and always requires a certain physical distance to be maintained. No matter the circumstances, it’s always best to check in advance with the businesses, partners, and clients you will be meeting, to make sure you remain compliant with their rules and respectful of their decisions.
Evidently, the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on all aspects of our lives, including the way we travel for business. Fortunately, corporate trips can still turn out to be safe and pleasurable experiences, as long as businesses update their policies and adhere to the recommended health guidelines at every destination.