Well-organised travel itineraries are an essential service that assistants can provide for their managers.
Think about all the different bits of paper you have to keep with you – tickets, hotel details, travel guides. Well along with the usual stresses of travelling your boss also has to attend meetings and act professionally when in many cases they are dealing with jet lag and the continuous business activities back in the UK office. A detailed itinerary, constructed by you, will help them enormously. It will enable them to be organised when you cannot be there to do that for them.
At the bottom of the blog, I have uploaded the template I use for my Directors. I hope you find it usual and do let me know if you think there is anything I can add.
Along with the itinerary there are other things you can do to make your Director’s trip as simple and stress-free as possible; here are some of the additional details I think about and include in my Director’s travel packs:
Do prepare for the worst. I know this is a fairly negative approach to take but if you have thought of all the possible outcomes prior to the trip you will be much better prepared to deal with anything that occurs. Additionally, if you have equipped your manager with all of the information they need to deal with any emergencies, they will be able to cope without you being there to help, particularly if they are in a different time zone. For example, I always include the following contact details:
- The out of hours telephone number for the travel agent you booked through
- The telephone number and address for the local embassy office
- The airline emergency and customer service numbers
Included with the travel itinerary you should have the following as separate documents:
- Maps and directions for all hotels and meeting points. If they have a number of meetings in the city I include details on how to get from one meeting to the next so they know how long it takes and also the best way to travel.
- A small list of good restaurants close to the hotel or office. This gives the Director the chance to show off their local knowledge with clients and also if they are eating on their own it means they won’t have to wander around looking for somewhere nice to eat.
- A local weather guide for each of the countries the director is visiting. One of my directors travelled from Sydney to Tokyo on the same trip. Sydney was experiencing a heat wave and Tokyo forecasted heavy rain and gusty winds. Because we checked the weather before they left the UK, they had the appropriate business attire and didn’t feel uncomfortable.
- A list of the hotel amenities, such as free Wi-Fi, a gym, a hairdryer. I also let the hotel know if the Director will be arriving late.
If your Director has a smartphone or tablet then do make use of online city guide apps. They are packed full of useful information on the city and can be used without Wi-Fi. A lot of the apps are free or only cost a few pounds.
Remember to print off the itinerary and additional documents for your Director. I always put the documents in an A5 plastic wallet so they are all together and can fit easily into a bag or briefcase. Also, I send a copy to any colleagues that need to know their whereabouts and any of their family. In addition, I suggest you upload the information to an online document management website (Dropbox for example), just in case they misplace the paperwork.
Last but not least, don’t make additional work for yourself. If the Director is working from another of my company’s office but it just happens to be in a different county I ensure they have everything on their outlook as I normally would if they were in the UK and I don’t include any meeting details in their itinerary.