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Rules to Better Travel - 14 Rules

Embarking on business travel can be both exciting and challenging. To help you navigate your trips with ease and professionalism, here are some essential rules and practical tips:

  1. Do you know the general tips for booking flights?

    Here are some general tips for booking flights:

    • Wherever possible, book direct flights, and try to minimize connection times
    • Wherever possible, try to get flexible flights in case they need to be changed
    • Be quick while booking flights otherwise the browser will time out and the airlines will give you new/increased flight rates. In that case, open a new browser and login with a different account in the same airline you were searching for flights previously 
    • Appointments - If accommodation is also required then enter the accommodation details into another appointment
    • When booking flights, know the preferred time (on weekdays, avoid evening flights before 8pm. Peak times incur a Uber surcharge)

      • E.g. Some people prefer 10am flights, some are not keen on overnight flights
    • When booking, always ask for an exit row or a window seat

      • E.g. Some people have 19" laptops and it is hard to open in other seating
    • Avoid paper tickets - they are hard to change. Go for E-tickets
    • Leave an option to upgrade to business class

      • Note: On Qantas this can only happen if you have avoided the evil fare types of N, O, or Q (aka ReadyDeal fare)
    • Before finalizing the booking always get written confirmation by having your boss sign a print-out of the itinerary or via email or IM
    • Depending on where you are traveling, you may need to take extra precautions when it comes to protecting your luggage. If you will be visiting an unsafe airport or location, it might be worth upgrading to a more secure suitcase such as the type suggested in "Defeat Dishonest Baggage Handlers"
  2. Do you know how to get approval to book a flight?

    In order to book a flight, you will need to obtain your boss' approval.

    When you need to book flights or accommodation for training or client work, liaise with the administration staff.

    1. Get your manager's approval to investigate bookings and confirm dates.
    2. Have a conversation with the receptionist/admin and provide some options for the bookings. E.g. “Fly from X to Z on (date) late PM?" or “I have previously stayed at ABC Hotel for work for this client and it was a convenient location at a good price?"
    3. Receptionist/admin to research 2 or 3 options, aiming to keep the expenses low.
    4. Admin has a conversation with you, going over the options and confirming decisions based on the research provided.
    5. Final total to be approved by manager or boss in an email (CC financial controller)
    6. Admin to book and send calendar appointments as per Booking Flights.
    7. When you receive a confirmation email for the booking, forward it to the financial controller for reconciliation with bank statements.

    Admin - follow this rule to find the best flights

    Get approval from your boss to make the booking by sending a purchase please email

    Include the screen shot of the flight options and costs.

    Await your boss' approval to purchase the flights. Chase up promptly, as flight costs increase.

    Note: It's often a good idea to email to your boss' PA, to have the flights booked for you.

  3. Do you create an appointment for flights?

    Once you've booked a flight, it's important to keep track of it so everyone who needs to know can find the relevant details.

    This is how you should create an appointment in the Outlook calendar for flights:

    • Enter all of the flight details into the appointment. Use the ariplane emoji in the subject, and include your name, from/to, and the flight number. E.g. "✈️ Adam Cogan - SYD -> BNE - QF 500"
    • If someone is picking you up, include the arrival time and invite any relevant parties
    • When possible, always include the terminal number in the location field. If a non-standard terminal, make it extra clear E.g. Jetstar flights should have highlighted: "WARNING: Different terminal. Allow more time".
    • Make sure to include any unusual information about the flight E.g. "You are not flying with your preferred airline because {{ REASON }}..." OR "As per our conversation, you are flying via Melbourne, because {{ REASON }}..."
    • Always include the price of the ticket in the message
    • Do not forget to categorize the appointment as CONFIRMED RED so it cannot be overbooked

    Here is a template to follow:

  4. Do you know how to book better flights?

    1. Be Flexible with Dates: Check different travel dates for better prices.
    2. Use Fare Comparison Websites: Compare prices across platforms.

    Booking directly with the airline is often the optimal choice, providing convenience and flexibility, especially when it comes to making changes to your itinerary.However, before finalizing your decision on which flight to take, it's advisable to visit various comparison websites to evaluate the available options and determine the most suitable flight for your needs.

    Here are sites that are recommended to check with:

    After comparing the prices, we recommend going back to the airlines and booking through them directly.

    Recommended carriers

    For domestic flights:

    • Qantas
    • Virgin Australia

    For international flights:

    • Flight to Europe: Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad
    • Flight to US: Qantas, American Airlines
    • Flight to Southeast Asia: Qantas, Singapore Airlines
    • Flight to China: Cathy Pacific, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines
    • Book in Advance: Secure deals by booking flights early.
    • Clear Your Browser Cookies: Prevent potential price increases by browsing in incognito mode or clearing cookies.

    Notes:

    • It is not recommended to purchase domestic flights from overseas suppliers or WebJet.com, because the business cannot claim GST on their invoices.
    • Make sure that before comparing the prices the quotes include all the taxes/surcharges/fees.
    • Booking sites often charge some hidden fee during the checkout, check the fee breakdown carefully.
    • Remember to check the currency, $ could be US dollars then you are paying 50% more than you think.
    • Some travel companies, such as FlightCentre, are able to arrange your travel plans for you, but they often charge higher fees and have less flexibility if you change your mind.
  5. Do you check your boarding pass?

    Most people don’t pay much attention to their boarding pass beyond their gate and seat number, but if you know what to look for, there’s a lot of information stored on a boarding pass!

    • PRN reference: Passenger Name Record. It’s a six-digit alphanumeric code.
    • Sequence:  This is the order in which you checked in to your flight, e.g. if your sequence number is 066 you’re the 66th person to check in.
    • Boarding door: Have you noticed this, which tells you whether to board the plane from the front or rear?
    • SSSS: Secondary Security Screening Selection picks passengers either at random or due to red flags (such as buying a one-way ticket with cash).
  6. Do you create an online itinerary when traveling?

    As well as sending details of bookings to the traveler's Outlook calendar, you should also use tripit.com to consolidate the details of bookings for flights, hotels, car rentals, etc.

    TripIt can make a single, easy-to-read online itinerary that can be viewed by anyone you choose to share the link with, making it easy to keep co-travelers, spouses, co-workers, and others in the loop.

    Adam Cogan loves TripIt and uses it every time he travels. He says:

    "TripIt tells you when there’s a delay, a gate change, your baggage info, or any other problems that might happen ...

    Plus, I share the flight with a bunch of people including those who are picking me up … so they get notified too"

    After joining tripit.com, forward a copy of each booking confirmation to plans@tripit.com to store the details of upcoming journeys.

    Multiple items can then be merged to form one master itinerary that covers the whole trip.

    tripit2
    Figure: ✅ Good Example from the TripIt mobile app - it's so easy to see your upcoming trips and share them with others

    tripit1
    Figure: ✅ Good Example from the TripIt mobile app - an itinerary shared with fellow travellers so the alerts are seen by everyone

    tripitimage
    Figure: ✅Good Example: A TripIt itinerary example with accomodation and flights

  7. Do you know what sort of insurance to get when travelling?

    If you decide to get insurance for your trip, the type of insurance you choose will depend on your needs.

    For example, if you're travelling within your home country you might decide to only get insurance for a hire car – but this can be a trap: hire car insurance is expensive, and you might find that it is cheaper to buy travel insurance to cover the whole trip, which includes car hire insurance, than it is to purchase insurance just for the car.

    53a2eb hire car provided insurance
    Figure: Bad example - Getting insurance through the car hire provider, with AUD$6,000 excess, is $23.25/day

    575bdf private travel insurance
    Figure: Good example - Allianz travel insurance for within Australia covers up to AUD$6,000 excess on a rental vehicle – this works out to be about $5.15 a day for a 9-day trip

    International travel

    If you're travelling outside of the country , you should definitely take out travel insurance. If you book and pay using a credit card, you might be eligible for free travel insurance through your credit card institution, but don't assume this cover will be right for your needs, or will necessarily cover the whole travel party.

    Credit card insurance – travelling solo

    If you're the card holder and you're travelling alone, you should be fine with the insurance provided by your credit card institution.

    Note: If you're travelling for business and would like to be covered under credit card insurance, you will have to pay for the trip on your own credit card to get the coverage, and then be reimbursed for the costs by your company.

    ccb9e6 credit card insurance coverage table
    Figure: Good example – But only if you're travelling by yourself

    "Supplementary" card members (spouse and dependent children) aren't nearly as well covered as the primary card holder (Source: American Express Ultimate credit card travel insurance policy)

    Option 1 – Traditional insurance (Recommended) - If you’re travelling with kids, you are better off going with traditional travel insurance to ensure all travellers are fully covered.

    Option 2 – Credit card insurance - Not all cards will cover the family for important categories like medical insurance, and for those that do, they are often greatly reduced. For example, if a family of 4 have their luggage stolen, the credit card holder might be covered for up to $10,000, with another $10,000 coverage to be split among the remaining family members – or as in the policy shown in the figure above, the 3 remaining family members will not be covered at all.

    Tip: Frequent traveller - A good option for those who fly regularly travel internationally is annual multi-trip cover, which can cost as little as $1 per day (depending on your needs and policy provider).

  8. Do you keep your finance manager in the loop?

    Save your finance manager the trouble of chasing you for the purchasing records by forwarding them a copy of the flight (or accommodation) invoice as soon as you receive it.

  9. Do you know how to retrieve missing invoices for flights?

    When booking a flight for a business trip, it is common for accountants to claim that as an expense. In that case, they will need the invoice for the trip.

    In most cases, the tax invoices of the flights that booked by company were sent to the person.

    The traditional way of retrieving the invoice is for the person who took the flight to send through the invoice directly. However, sometimes the person who needs to send through the invoice is too busy and unable to action this task for a long time or they may even forget to do it entirely.

    2023 02 24 15 40 04
    Figure: Bad example - Ask the individual for the tax invoice of a flight

    Luckily, most airlines offers a convenient portal for managing bookings where you can retrieve this information for all company flights, e.g. Qantas Business Rewards or Virgin Australia Business Flyer

    Qantas offers a robust loyalty program, take advantage of it.

    If an invoice is missing, you can access the document by:

    1. Going to Qantas Business Reward | Manage trips,
    2. Search and open the flights
    3. Choose "Manage booking".

    qantas tax invoice v2
    Figure: Good example - Retrieve the invoice from Qantas Business Reward in 30 seconds.

    Note: You can also access to this page as a guest via Qantas Manage booking without Qantas Business, but a booking reference is required.

    1. Select "Resend tax invoice"

    qantas tax invoice 2
    Figure: Resend the tax invoice on manage booking.

    1. Put the email that you wish the tax invoice to be received. The tax invoice should be resent in a few seconds.

    Simply retrieve the missed invoices from that portal and you can skip the middle man!

    Note: Only bookings with company name and ABN can be managed through Qantas Business Rewards.

  10. Do you know how to get the most out of your credit card?

    In addition to being useful for providing travel insurance, some credit cards come with additional travel benefits. 

    For example, the Qantas American Express card comes with $450 of Qantas travel credit each year, which completely offsets the $450 annual fee. To take advantage of this offer, the cardholder can simply call the number on the back of their card and follow the prompts.

    Other advantages of this card include free access to a Qantas lounge twice a year, and accrual of Qantas points on everyday purchases. 

    If you have an airline-affiliated credit card, it's always worth digging into the benefits - you never know how much you could be saving.

  11. Do you take advantage of Business Rewards programs?

    Some airlines offer rewards schemes to win over businesses. For example, Qantas has started a frequent flyer program for businesses.

    This program lets businesses accrue points and credits. It’s simple: set up a business membership with Qantas, and then remember to enter the ABN alongside the traveller’s frequent flyer number when booking a flight.

    The traveller’s Qantas Frequent Flyer membership will still accumulate the same amount of Qantas Points and Status Credits as they would normally. The only catch is if the traveller does not have a Qantas Frequent Flyer account, the business will not be able to claim points for the travel either.

    Not all travellers will have a frequent flyer membership, but for those that do, the Qantas Business Rewards Program is well worth taking advantage of.

    It's always worth doing some research to see what each airline offers and take advantages of the additonal points. Other airlines we know who do this include, Virgin, British Airways, Air New Zealand, etc.

    qantas business rewards points activity
    Figure: Qantas Business Rewards Points Activity screen

    Always remember to include the company ABN alongside the traveller’s frequent flyer number for rewards to benefit both the company and the individual.

  12. Do you check if your Qantas flight is eligible for a "Bid Now" upgrade?

    Qantas has introduced a flight upgrade initiative called "Bid Now" that allows members of their frequent flyer program to place a "bid" to get their Economy class bookings upgraded to Business class. 

    To make a bid, follow these simple steps:

    • Within 7 days of flying, visit the "Bid Now" page (if you've booked more than 7 days in advance, use FollowUp Then to set a reminder for yourself)
    • Enter your last name and booking reference into the field provided
    • You will be asked to nominate a "bid" (set amount frequent flyer points and/money) for the upgrade, as you would in a blind auction
    • Within 24 hours of the flight, you will be notified if your bid was successful
  13. Accommodation - Do you know the best online accommodation websites?

    Use a price comparison website to choose the hotel you'd like to book, but don't book directly through that site right away. Always call the hotel first to see if they can give you a better price. This article explains how this can save you hundreds

    The best price comparison websites for accommodation are:

    As with flights, book the accommodation details as a separate appointment in your calendar (or if for the accommodation is for someone else, in the calendar for the person who is travelling).

  14. Do you make business travel easier?

    In our fast-paced work environment, it is crucial to get to client sites or attend meetings efficiently. However, managing the associated expenses can often be a time-consuming and challenging task.

    When staff need to travel, they normally need to follow the company’s standards and keep physical or virtual records including approvals or tax invoices. It may take 10 minutes to finish the paperwork and could be worse if the tax invoices are lost. Is there an easier way?

    Traditional method (collecting physical tax invoices)

    Some companies may ask employees to get a physical tax invoice and get it reimbursed through the finance team.

    ✅ Pros:

    • No additional system is required

    ❌ Cons:

    • Hard to manage – Approval may get lost, and tax invoices can be missing, or duplicated
    • Out of pocket – It may take days to have the reimbursement processed and paid
    • Heavy admin – Managing paperwork is time-consuming and relies on human resources

    Expense management system

    Software can be used to get expenses approved, paid and reimbursed.

    E.g. Xero Me, the Best Mobile App for Expenses.

    ✅ Pros:

    • Less admin – Expense claims can be processed easily in the cloud
    • Efficient reimbursement – Can be reimbursed anytime, anywhere

    ❌ Cons:

    • Risk of not being paid - If the tax invoices are missed or forgotten
    • No analysis tool – Hard to have insights into the expenses

    Business travel 1
    Figure: Bad example - Trying to find taxi receipts and how to get them reimbursed

    Taxi corporate account

    Business users can set up a corporate account that manages travel expenses with a few clicks, or offer employees a digital pass with a prepaid budget. E.g, 13 Cabs for business.

    ✅ Pros:

    • Safe and secure – Taxis usually provide a level of safety and professionalism
    • Cloud-based dashboard – Easy to manage multiple bookings at once and pay with a corporate account or passengers themselves
    • Customized Pass – Digital or physical pass that has customisable travel rules

    ❌ Cons:

    • Cannot be used overseas – The operating area of taxi companies are often limited
    • Not flexible enough – May require admin to book the taxi for the passengers or the passengers are pre-approved to travel within the area

    Uber for Business is a powerful tool that allows employees to use Uber services including ride or food delivery if they meet certain rules predefined by the business. This is done by adding a business profile to a new or existing Uber account, so the users have the option to pay with their business profile. It offers employees a simplified business travel experience because all the charges and invoices go to the business directly.

    ✅ Pros:

    • Centralized dashboards - Real-time visibility, and control over all business rides. No more guesswork or manual tracking
    • Global service – Travelling to New York or Tokyo? All are covered in one program
    • Customization - Businesses can set pending limits, specify eligible ride types, define other parameters, and manage the access of employees at any time
    • No misuse - Uber for Business forces the user to switch back to their personal profile if they go to a location that has not been pre-approved (see permitted locations in the figure below)
    • Ride and meal vouchers - Businesses are able to create customised vouchers that can be shared and applied at checkout

    Business travel 2
    Figure: Predefined rules that allow staff travelling to and from airports and within ACT

    ❌ Cons:

    • Forced to go with Uber – People may have personal objections to Uber
    • Safety and user experience – Generally, shared ride service provides less professionalism and safety compared to taxi services

    Business travel 3
    Good example - Using Uber for Business by a simple toggle of a button

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