Business travel can often be stressful and take up unnecessary time. Delivering office design and build projects for Area’s clients across mainland Europe, project director John Gillard often finds himself travelling country to country to meet with clients and attend sites to monitor progress. Here he shares his top 10 tips to making business trips as efficient, cost effective and stress-free as possible:
Whilst Uber doesn’t officially exist in many of the EU countries, there are other local options (such as My Taxi in Germany) that do the same job. Always try to use a booking app to simplify travel and remove the risk of local taxi cartels taking you on a very scenic route. Also, launch the app when you arrive, some cities (like Berlin) say they don’t use Uber but you actually can.
2. Local Currency
Apart from deposits for hotel umbrellas or the occasional small shop, the need to carry and convert local currency is very rare. Very few locations refuse contactless payment and even less refuse card payment.
3. Queue behind a suit
At airport security, try to spot other business travellers and join their queue, more often than not these are the quickest queues.
4. Know your boarding protocol
Some countries, like Prague, allow very fast passport control and then ask you to pass security at the gate, in turn causing a delay and sometimes missed flights. Plan ahead and don’t relax too much until you are through both passport and security control.
5. Check your bank
Many bank accounts offer privileges such as free travel insurance and lounge access. Check the perks that your account offers as you may be missing out on free refreshments and ‘all you can eat’ buffets!
6. Lime Bikes
Lime are a shared bike firm that operate in France, Germany, the UK and many other European countries. Often jumping on an electric assist bike or scooter is a quicker, easier and cheaper way to get around a busy city. Plus, it’s great fun!
7. Stop overs
Flights around Europe are, on the whole, plentiful and efficient. However, even close cities like Schiphol require an early start to arrive before 09.00. In addition to this, awkward return flight times can make the day very long and draining (3.30am to 11.00pm is often the norm for a one day European visit). Always explore the option of staying over the night before. Often a late night flight out and an earlier return is so much cheaper that it completely offsets the cost of a hotel. This leaves you with an entire day for meetings and a fresh head.
8. Weather apps
You’d be surprised how much the temperature and climate can vary in a single country, never assume that somewhere like Hamburg will have the same climate as Munich, despite both being in Germany (if you call Bavaria, Germany, that is!)
9. Local Identity
Be mindful that some cities, may appear to be in the same country but actually sit within another, for example Barcelona in Catalonia and Munich in Bavaria. Often the people in these cities identify differently and appreciate it when we understand that difference. Also some cities have very distinct identities (Geneva) that like to sit apart from their neighbours. Think of the difference between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who all form part of the UK.
Travel light (never choose hold luggage) and use small bottles to carry essential fluids like haircare and beauty products, otherwise you will be buying new bottles on each trip when they are confiscated at the gate.
Area now operates from 10 offices in mainland Europe, in addition to its two existing offices in the UK. Find out more about Area Europe and the latest projects we’re delivering across mainland, here.