Effectively organizing all of the details of an executive’s travel plans requires a travel itinerary template that you use consistently. Don’t ask your travelers if they want one – just do it! They’ll thank you for it later. And in the meantime, you’ll have saved them a lot of time and hassle in sorting through multiple documents or scrolling through multiple emails to find the information they need at the moment they need it while they are traveling. I know this because every executive I’ve ever created one for initially comes to expect and/or demand them for future trips. I’ve done a fair share of traveling myself, and trips with an itinerary are much more efficient.
If you haven’t done a lot of travel planning in the past, one of the first things I encourage you to do is think chronologically. What is the order of events for your traveler throughout their trip? This will help you get all of the arrangements made that are required from the start (flights, ground transportation, hotel, meals, meetings, etc.).
Use This Travel Itinerary Template
My travel itinerary template is designed to cover all of the basic details that need to be included on an itinerary for a traveling executive. Not every trip requires airline travel. Not every trip requires rental cars. It may change from trip to trip and traveler to traveler. Remain flexible. Customize this template to make it fit more specifically to your executive’s specific travel needs. Join the Online Training Center to download your copy now.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- All of the items in blue or with blanks are the details you’ll need to insert or fill in as appropriate for each trip.
- If you have executives that travel frequently to the same places, save their past travel itineraries. Open the most recent version, update with the new date and travel details without having to recreate the entire document each time they travel. It’s a huge time saver!
- Print a final copy for your executive and a copy for your file so you have the same information if they need travel assistance while they are gone. If appropriate, you can also print an additional copy for the traveler’s family so they know where they’ll be and when as well.
- If your executives have e-tickets for their flights, print a copy of the flight reservation from your travel agency or online booking service and staple it to the back of the itinerary just in case there are any issues when they check-in at the airport.
Each time you need to create an itinerary, follow these steps to update the template with your executive’s travel information.
1. Personalize the header information on the template:
- Include your executive’s name and your company name.
- Insert your company’s name/logo.
- Update the travel dates.
- Do this on the first page and also in the header so it prints on any additional pages of the document if your itinerary is more than one page long.
2. Update/add all airline information:
- Delete all previous times on the itinerary template.
- Update all airline information requested on the template: dates, times, flight numbers, airline 800 numbers, travel agency numbers, and any information that might be needed while traveling.
3. Update the ground transportation information:
- Be sure to include car service info or shuttle/taxi contact numbers.
- List on the itinerary where the car service or shuttle will pick up the passenger.
- Include the confirmation number.
4. Update the hotel information:
- Be sure there is a contact number to reach the hotel.
- Include street address and any applicable driving directions necessary.
- Include the confirmation number and room rate.
5. Insert all pertinent meeting information in order of dates/times.
- Make sure to reference which time zone the time is listed in. (Tip: Visit timeanddate.com/time/ to find out which time zone abbreviations apply at various times of the year.)
- Include conference number dial in and passcode information in case their flights are delayed and they need to join the meeting from their cell phone until they arrive at the meeting location. (Trust me, it happens!)
6. Check each section of the itinerary for information that needs to be updated.
7. Treat the compilation of the itinerary as though you were the traveler. What additional information would you want to know?
- Driving directions.
- Restaurant options and/or locations.
- Entertainment venues.
8. Proofread the completed itinerary. There are a lot of details here. Make sure you proof it well.
How to Name Your Itinerary Files
To keep your electronic files organized nicely, here’s an example of a file naming convention for travel itineraries. Note: XXXXXX = the six-digit date
XXXXXX – Location – Name or Initials of Traveler (i.e. 073015 – Tampa FL – JLP)
XXXXXX – Location Event Name of Traveler (i.e. 073015 – Tampa FL IAAP Conv JLP)
In these examples, the beginning date of the trip is July 30, 2015. The destination was Tampa, Florida for an IAAP convention. The traveler’s initials were JLP.
When using dates in your file names, consider using full six-digit dates so they always align in order by date. You may also consider starting with a two-digit or four-digit year, so you can find things by the year, then the month and day. Using the same sample data from above, that would look like this: 2015 0730 Tampa FL JLP.
It may take a few minutes to assemble the information, but sending your executive on business travel with an itinerary is a huge value-add you can provide your executive(s) and your team as an administrative professional.
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.