Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, coined the term ‘reiseangst’ (from the German, fear of travel). While we’ve seen a raft of new phrases in the last six months, this one’s ripe for a revival. Even the most seasoned travellers find themselves weighed down with concerns that didn’t exist previously.
It’s not surprising. Restrictions on international travel are slowly easing but they remain fluid. Quarantine requirements could change last-minute, there are fewer available routes and the travel experience is a far cry from what it was pre-pandemic. Back then, language barriers, cultural faux-pas, and minor transport delays were our biggest concerns.
Yet, the value of a productive trip remains undisputed, ‘There’s no real substitute for in-person visits,’ says Mike Valkevich, CWT’s VP Customer Management GCG, EMEA, ‘There’s a continued awareness that business travel is a high return on investment. In most cases, organizations feel or can prove the benefits of face-to-face, including for negotiation or selling, leadership affairs, motivation, and management.’
As some companies temporarily tighten their belts and reduce opportunities to travel, it’s more important than ever that a trip is a fruitful one. Here are three ways to alter your mindset and prepare for a great trip.
‘Anticipate that availability is not what it used to be and be prepared for challenges,’ says Valkevich, ‘As the industry recovers, there will be a need for business travellers to understand that the level of access with lots of available flights and rooms isn’t true anymore. The world of travel has changed considerably.’ Knowing that requirements may change, facilities may be reduced or there may be delays, can help to alleviate frustration.
Take a higher level of responsibility
In a survey about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on customers, more than half of the companies surveyed by CWT plan on increasing risk management around travel, including defined travel planning and en-route protocols (77%) and live or near-live tracking mechanisms (72%).
While companies are very focused on the duty of care, travellers will have to step up individual responsibility to understand what’s required. ‘In the past, we may have been accustomed to having an assistant, travel agent or visa processing company handle everything for us,’ says Valkevich, ‘Nowadays, individuals may be required to bring a recent medical test result in order to enter a country, for example. Don’t rely on others. It’s essential to research and have your paperwork in order.’ CWT Travel Essentials allows travellers to check for up-to-date requirements for travel between certain countries.
Focus on the benefits
Once you have prepared the necessary documents and taken precautions like wearing a mask and physical distancing, you have done and are doing all that you can. Resist the urge to let uncertainty deplete your mental gas tank. Set a goal for your trip that’s achievable even if things change.
Humans are social creatures. A business trip can be the catalyst for innovation or the foundation of a critically important sale. Add to that, the untold benefits of a change of scenery to emotional well-being and motivation. Some anxiety or confusion is inevitable in these strange times. However, checking simple tasks off your list and shifting your mindset will help you make the most of your travels. Here’s another obscure word: ‘Fernweh.’ Also German in origin, it describes a yearning to get away and travel to a distant place. After long periods at home, many of us can relate.
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