I’ve been lucky enough to go on quite a few trips over the years and here are some of the ‘Best Practice’ tips I’ve picked up along the way either as personal experience, or feedback with other travellers on what works well and preferences. Please feel free to add your feedback at the end.
Before travel :
Well thought out Preparation & Planning can go a long way to raising the bar from a good trip to a great trip for all parties.
Trip Preparation – Give us sufficient time to prepare for a trip – eg if we need vaccinations ensure that you tell us and that we have time to have them done BEFORE the travel date
Information and Itinerary – Send us information and an itinerary before travelling so we can do research about where we are going, we can advise our family etc and also so we can pitch ideas about the trip to publications or start planning how we can build content from the trip into our own website
Airport Transfer – If possible, try to make the trip to and from the airport as smooth as possible – lay on transport to the airport if you can (Uber or Careem are always appreciated)
At the airport – If you have an arrangement with the airport or airpline try and get fast track access through immigration, a lounge pass, late boarding etc – all of this helps smooth the way particular as some of us will have come straight from a day at the office to the airport to fly overnight for a trip
Good seating always helps too, I know we can’t all be upgraded or fly First or Business, but reservation of a good seat with more leg room or a window or aisle seat (depending on our preferences) will go a long way to help make the trip be more smoother
Budget Flights – If you are booking us on abudget flight with limited facilities then please advise us prior to the trip so we are prepared, an overnight flight for instance without any form of entertainment can be tough when you were expecting to relax and watch an inflight movie
Obligations – please be clear with us what you require in terms of coverage during and post trip, before the trip starts so that we can be sure that there are no discrepancies between both parties
Be flexible – if there is flexibility on the dates of our flights so that we can extend our stay, at our own cost and explore further please let us know this in advance of booking flight tickets
In the Host Country :
Some of our best trips have been made easier by the thought and preparation put into the details around the trip not just about the trip itinerary for instance
On Arrival – provide information about where to meet at the airport and provided an emergency number just in case these plans go ary.
A SIM card with unlimited Data gives us access to our social media channels so we can start sharing our trip ‘on the go’, it gives you a way of being in contact with everyone and allows us to carry on our day job/emails etc remotely and keep in touch with our family too
Detailed Itinerary – when in country now is the time to share a more detailed itinerary and details of the places being visited – it’s useful to have websites, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter handles too of all the places to be visited – this means more sharing and a more social programme
Social Media – If you are measuring the social part of the trip then you should give us the hashtags you want be used for the trip, and ensure that someone is managing the social account and collecting material, interacting with posters and measure the impact of the trip too
Itinerary – please be sensible about this – someone who has flown in overnight will more than likely want to go to their hotel and freshen up (perhaps event take a short nap) before hitting the road for a City Tour etc
First Day – Equally on the first day, it’s unlikely we will want to be out on a day trip that ends late in the evening since the effects of the overnight flight and lack of sleep and time difference will hit us at some stage in the trip.
Be clear what is included and excluded in the trip with regards to additional expenses, nobody expects to profit from a trip for daily expenses, but neither should you be out of pocket for daily expenses such as bottled water, SIM Card etc – on a personal note, coffee is always appreciated along the way, as is a glass of wine or two with dinner – but if you policy is not to pay for this then just advise as part of the pre tour briefing notes. Some companies prefer to pay a per diem or fixed amount to travellers to cover additional costs incurred as they travel as an appreciation that not everyone will be able to claim these expenses back on business expense accounts.
Work Time – A busy agenda is great, we know there is a lot to see and do, and appreciate the planning that’s gone into packing as much into a trip as possible, but please appreciate that we usually have day jobs too and whilst we are travelling we will need sometime to touch base with the office, do some routine work, hit a deadline, process images etc – please build in some time each day for this, preferably not during the seven hours you have scheduled at the hotel – aka sleep time.
Hotel Time – If the hotel is expecting coverage, then please allow us some time to explore the hotel and to enjoy the facilities, after all it’s difficult to write about something that you have only seen from the brochures in your room and your short sleep in the bed and a hurriedly grabbed breakfast when that’s all the time you have been given at the hotel.
Down Time – it’s important for us to have some time to explore, live the moment, enjoy the atmosphere, so please build in some free time to allow us to do this too – we appreciate the agenda needs to be busy as there is a lot to pack in, but we also want to enjoy the moment so that we can write about the emotional engagement we feel with a place too.
On being accompanied – much as we appreciate the assistance of the team, the guides and the drivers – sometimes it’s possible that we just want a little space to explore on our own and, as you are likely to have invited a seasoned traveller, we will be comfortable doing this by ourselves – seize the moment to take some ‘me time’ too so we both meet again refreshed and ready to move onto the next part of the agenda.
Flexible Itinerary –Itinerary’s with a bit of flexibly help too – sometimes you go to somewhere and don’t want to stay as long as planned, other times it takes a bit longer, there’s nothing worse than being route marched through a beautiful location to hit the timetable allowing us only to take a few quick blurry snaps.
OnFood – we love your hospitality, but we can only eat so much each day – mid morning and afternoon snacks just an hour after breakfast and lunch are probably one step too far as are huge buffet meals each time we stop.
On Gifts – gifts are usually appreciated, but please be mindful of our luggage allowance and carrying space – some people travel only with check in luggage so the majority of what you gift them will be deposited in the bin or given away as they won’t have space.Try and reduce the amount of paper products/guides etc given to us as again they place a burden on space and luggage allowance – personally I prefer a USB or even emails with links rather than glossy books and brochures which weigh a ton and end up in the bin at a later stage.
Climate – if it’s hot and humid, please have cold water on hand on the group transport if you can (wet wipes and/or hand sanitiser get you extra points)if it’s rainy then umbrellas to borrow are appreciated also.
Internal Flights – please don’t tell us there is an extremely small luggage allowance for an internal flight when we are already in the country and have baggage in excess of that allowance already.If you do then please note that we are likely to expect you to pick up the excess luggage charge or to make arrangements to store our luggage if we are coming back to the same destination.
Visa Costs – please advise of the requirements and costs prior to transfer
Travel Passes/Cards – if you are expecting us to travel in the city on public transport the transport maps, travel cards or details on how to get these are always appreciated as are Maps and Travel Guides included as part of our arrival pack
Itinerary again ! – ifyou are expecting us to go out all day and then straight to dinner please advise so we can try and wear appropriate clothes to suit both activities (bear in mind this can be a challenge if the evening activity is a dressy affair) – also bear in mind jet lag and work obligations too.
POST TRAVEL :
Do give us time to arrive home, catch up on our work etc before chasing us for our content. Good content takes a while to be written, further research for an article and images processed etc
Do keep in touch with us, I like to engage for the long term not just a short trip, so do add me to your mailing list and keep me advised of events, promotions etc
Do make use of our content by sharing it appropriately on your social media channels etc, and give credit for the use of images etc
Take time to review the trip, what went well, what could be done better, did you achieve your objectives etc and please feel free to pass this feedback back to me also
Did I capture it all? what more could and should be done to make trips the best ever, please do leave a comment.