11 Major Business Travel Challenges With Solutions

August 24, 2022
Business travel challenges

Business travel can be both an exhilarating and challenging experience. While on the one hand, you get to explore new places; on the other hand, you have to be organized and keep track of things such as the overall business travel expense. Moreover, if you travel abroad, you must adjust to a different time zone and get accustomed to the different cuisines available there.  

When you go on a business trip, you might face some challenges you didn’t anticipate. The best way to overcome these business travel challenges is to be prepared for them. This means researching, knowing your options, and having a backup plan. 

Here are some significant business travel challenges and the solutions to overcome them.

business travel challenges

To know more, Read the blog in detail.

1. Dispersed Travel Information

If you have taken a business trip in the past, you would know that keeping track of travel details is one of the major business travel challenges. From managing reservations and expenses to keeping up with itineraries and travel regulations, it’s a lot to keep track of. Fortunately, there are a few ways in which you can make it easier on yourself.

Solution: Having all your corporate travel-related information in one place is key to managing your time efficiently and avoiding confusion. This way, you can easily refer back to any details you need without searching through piles of papers or websites. You can use cloud storage such as Google Drive or Dropbox to store travel-related files.

However, a better solution to such business travel challenges is if your company adopts a travel management software solution that enables you to manage your travel itinerary. With all your travel information on one dashboard, it is easier to stay on top of your bookings and expenses. This way, you can prevent going over budget, manage the travel itinerary, and keep everything organized.

Cloud storage is great for backing up files, but it doesn’t offer the same level of organization and tracking as travel management software.

2. Inappropriate Packing 

Packing for a business trip is one of the most significant business travel challenges. This is because road warrior employees like you often have too much on their plate. You must meet all the deadlines before going on the trip and simultaneously prepare for the work events scheduled during the business trip. Hence, in the hustle and bustle, you might not get the time to pack appropriately and forget essential items like your passport. 

Solution: To combat business travel challenges related to packing, you can create a business travel packing checklist to help you remember all the travel-essential. This list can include things like important documents, medications, and electronics. 

Here is a sample business travel packing checklist you can download and use for your next trip. 

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3. Adjusting to Time Zones

Business travelers often face the issue of immediately adjusting their bodies to a different time zone when traveling abroad. This problem is often called jet lag. Jet lag is one of the most crucial meta-health-related business travel challenges. It occurs when your body’s daily clock is still in sync with the original time zone instead of the one you’ve traveled to. It is a temporary sleep problem often accompanied by fatigue, stomach problems, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. 

Solution: To minimize the effects of jet lag, get enough rest before you start your business trip. This is because sleep deprivation worsens the effects of jet lag. You can also try adjusting your body to the time zone you are traveling to a few days before you depart by going to bed a few hours earlier or eating meals before you usually do. 

You can also arrive a day or two before your event or meeting so that your body gets enough time to adjust to the new geography and time zone. Furthermore, try to sleep only at the local nighttime when you arrive at your destination. All these things will help you avoid stress during your business trip and ensure you are energized and productive on work days.

4. Safety Concerns 

Business travel is full of uncertainties. Road warriors can encounter various kinds of threats during domestic and international trips. Moreover, the safety concern is greater for female travelers. 

According to a study, 83% of women business travelers have faced a safety-related issue while traveling for work. Hence, ensuring travelers’ safety is one of the most crucial business travel challenges businesses face.

To help employees combat such situations, most companies have a robust safety system. The system includes a solid duty of care plan, a well-designed safety training module, and a corporate travel security policy. However, as travelers, you must also do everything you can to remain out of danger.

Solution: You can take a series of safety steps to stay secure during business trips. You can start by researching the destination thoroughly and checking the political situation, healthcare facilities, and emergency numbers. You can refer to government-issued travel advisory to assess a destination’s safety.

Other than that, you should keep essential medicines, backup important documents, and secure your means of communication.

If you are a female business traveler, you must take extra time to assess whether the travel site is safe for you. Moreover, you should try to blend with the local women in terms of dressing and etiquette to avoid unnecessary limelight.  

If you find remembering all the measures daunting, you can create a travelers’ safety checklist or use the one below to ensure you don’t miss out on any safety steps.

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5. Non-automated Ticket Booking Procedure

One of the biggest business travel challenges you encounter while booking tickets through the traditional method is the requirement of multiple approvals for scheduling a business trip. 

Also, the traditional corporate ticket-booking procedure does not allow you to personalize your travel. Most companies have a pretty rigid travel itinerary and a standard conference package. Hence, employees are bound to check in to the same place, stay at the same hotel, and eat the same food. 

While this is a standard, wouldn’t you prefer to have a travel itinerary that is unique to you and open to custom changes? Of course, you would.

Solution: Companies can adopt a travel management software solution that enables quick bookings. Therefore, instead of you having to write multiple emails to the travel manager for booking your ticket, the software notifies them as soon as you raise a booking request. 

Moreover, travel management software eases the process of modifications in the travel itinerary. You simply create a request for change in your booking on the app. This way, both the employee and the travel manager save time and effort. 

6. Delayed Reimbursement

Every employee has their own way of meticulously preparing a monthly budget to spend, save, or invest. However, sudden corporate travel expenses can disrupt your cash flow significantly when reimbursement is delayed. Delayed reimbursements can lead to two-fold business travel challenges.

For starters, it can cause frustration and lead to less productivity. Furthermore, it can impact your morale, and you may resent business travel. In a few cases, employees also consider switching their jobs.

There’s often a delay in employee expense reimbursement when one person is in charge of the expenses for many. Other delays include manual expense filing, missed deadlines, out-of-policy expense submissions, and misplaced receipts. 

Solution: You can solve this problem by using tools that automate the process of expense filing and fast-track the approval flow. A business travel expense software can help save time by sending notifications to approvers as soon as the booking request is raised. Additionally, employees can see the travel expense policy in real time, eliminating the need for out-of-policy approvals. 

7. Ambiguous Corporate Travel Policies

One of the main challenges companies face in corporate travel management is ensuring policy compliance. It’s understandable that companies want their employees to read through their travel policy documents thoroughly. However, it can be tough to do so when you have a lot of other responsibilities. 

Moreover, most travel policies are too lengthy or complicated. To make matters worse, they are often written in legal jargon that is difficult to understand. As a result, you might be unaware of what is expected of you or choose to ignore the policy altogether.

Solution: In order to lessen the burden of travel policy compliance, companies should opt for travel management software that allows companies to set up granular travel policies according to the department, employees’ designation, trip duration, etc.

Moreover, the employees should be able to view the policy while booking. This will make bookings more compliant as you can understand the guidelines clearly and customize your trip around the travel policy.

8. Inability to Track Expenditure

One of the business travel challenges you can face is the inability to track your corporate travel expenditure. It is essential for business travelers to keep track of all their receipts which is necessary for filing expense reports for reimbursement under company policy.

Employees often find it challenging to keep track of their budget and expenses when traveling for business. Sometimes receipts are missing, and other times expenditures don’t fall within the travel policy. This can be a challenge, as it can be difficult to stay within the budget if you don’t keep a track of all expenses in one place. In some cases, if you fail to report your expenses by the set deadline, they might not be reimbursed by the company. 

Solution: Employees can choose to track their expenses via an expense tracking software tool. However, this tool may not be integrated with the company’s travel policies, so employees may not know whether their expenses will be reimbursed.

However, if the company adopts a unified travel and expense management software, the process is much more efficient for employees. Firstly, the software makes expense tracking efficient by automatically creating expense reports with just a click of the picture of the receipt. Moreover, the software can also flag out-of-policy expenses and help employees keep track of their budgets.

9. Health Issues

International travel often poses a health risk. Hence, if you are traveling abroad, you should take preventive measures to minimize the chances of catching an infection. In addition, you can find it difficult to adjust to the weather and food when traveling to a new place. This can interfere with your body clock and sleep, making you fall sick. 

Poorly made food and untreated water are common causes of gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea while traveling. Mosquito bites are also common, and they can transmit diseases like malaria. Additionally, fever and respiratory tract infection are both possible while traveling.

Solution: When traveling for business, it is always a good idea to stick with a diet that you are comfortable and familiar with to avoid health-related business travel challenges. This little tip can go a long way in helping you avoid any potential sickness that could come from trying new foods while abroad. 

Moreover, you should pack a first-aid kit full of medication for common illnesses such as colds, stomach aches, or headaches. Another helpful tip is taking vitamins and other supplements that boost energy and help alleviate fatigue. You must also remember to carry a mosquito repellent cream with you.

10. Lack of Business Travel Support

One of the significant business travel challenges that employees face is getting business travel support during a business trip. Employees who take business trips may face particular problems regarding flights, accommodation, or the destination itself. For instance, you might need urgent support if the hotel assigns you the wrong room or you need a cab. 

If there is only one travel manager in the company, that person may be unable to answer all employee inquiries immediately. Additionally, employees might hesitate to approach the travel manager with questions. 

Solution: Companies can outsource the process of business travel management to a Travel Management Company (TMC). The TMC can provide 24/7 support to employees through various channels, such as calls, texts, or email. A competent TMC also provides a dedicated travel manager who can solve any doubts immediately and make sure that it complies with your company’s travel policy.

11. Delayed or Canceled Flights

Delayed and canceled flights are one of the most common business traveler challenges. Although it may not be as big of an issue for tourists and leisure travelers, it can cause a great deal of loss for those traveling for business purposes. 

A delayed flight can cause the traveler to miss an important meeting or other engagement. Flights can be delayed for several reasons, including bad weather or engine failure. Although you can do little at the last moment, employees can take a few steps to avoid such situations.

Solution: When booking flights, selecting early morning flights is recommended because flight schedules are often interdependent, and delays with one flight can cause delays for other flights later in the day. By booking an early morning flight, you minimize the risk of delays and ensure that you arrive at your destination on time. 

Anticipating travel delays in your schedule is critical when planning to attend a meeting. Make sure to give yourself extra time in your itinerary in case of traffic, flight delays, bad weather, or other issues that may arise en route to your meeting.

Prepare in Advance for Business Travel Challenges

No matter how often you travel for business or how well you think you’ve packed, business travel challenges will always come up. Hence, it is wise to always be prepared. One way to enhance your travel readiness is with the help of travel and expense management software like ITILITE.

ITILITE can help you overcome these business travel challenges with features like a 90-second booking turnaround time, the widest range of travel inventory, and 24/7 support for any issues. 

Get a free demo to experience all the features yourself.

Author : Rushmi Behrani
Rushmi Behrani is a content marketer at ITILITE. She specializes in writing content for B2B SaaS, travel and finance. A baking enthusiast by heart, her most cherished memory is opening a cafe during her college days.