Creating Effective Travel Itineraries

A well-designed travel itinerary is the cornerstone of a successful business trip. The best travel itineraries go beyond simply listing travel details like flight and hotel information, are more like “living documents” that can be updated in real-time, and have enough flexibility built into them to make room for the unexpected.  

As an EA, managing your executive’s travel is likely an important part of your job. We’ve put together some tips to help you create itineraries like a rockstar. 

Understand the Purpose of the Trip

To begin, make sure that you have a clear understanding of the purpose and goal of your executive’s trip. This will help you ask the right questions when preparing. For example, what type of meetings will your executive be attending? Who will she/he be meeting with? What attire should she/he pack? Taking a step back to get a high-level view of the trip, while also understanding what the end goal is, will help you to be one step ahead and ensure you’ve prepared your executive for every part of the trip. 

Think Chronologically

It’s easy to get lost in the details when travel planning. Thinking through how the trip will unfold day by day will help ensure that you take into account all of the logistical details early in the planning stages. You can translate this into the actual travel itinerary by listing each part of your executive’s trip in chronological order. Arranging travel details in this way will keep your executive on track by allowing them to quickly see where they need to be next during their trip.  

Gather and Organize the Details

Once you have a good grasp of what needs to be booked, you can start making reservations based on your executive’s preferences. As you move through each step, organize the details onto the itinerary. This way all of the information your executive needs will be located in one centralized place. Make sure to include details such as:

  • Flight information (include dates and times, flight numbers, and confirmation numbers)
  • Hotel reservations (include the address, phone number, and confirmation number)
  • Transportation details (include confirmation numbers for car rentals, pick up and drop off times, and locations)
  • Meeting times and locations (include contact information for attendees) 
  • Restaurant reservations (include date, time and location)
  • Locations and times for any other planned activities 
  • Make note of the dress code for meetings and social engagements
  • Make note of any time zone changes

Leave Room for the Unexpected

Even the most carefully planned trip can go awry. We can’t control the weather or the traffic, so it is important to create buffers in your executive’s itinerary that take into account the unexpected. This can help avoid headaches such as missed connections, late arrivals to important meetings, and other scenarios that can seriously curtail the success of a trip.  

Save It and Share It 

Once you have all of the details organized, make sure to save it and share it. Email a copy of the document to your executive and to any others who may need access to it (such as a spouse or significant other). A copy can also be saved as a file on your executive’s devices or attached as a pdf to the calendar. And, since mobile devices can fail us at times, it’s a good idea to send along a printed copy with your executive.  

A well-designed travel itinerary is instrumental in helping your executive have a successful business trip. By creating a flexible, but thoughtfully planned out itinerary, you will help your executive focus on the larger goal of their trip and solidify your value to your executive. 

Check out our next post for a few travel itinerary templates!

About the Author

Stephanie Perez

Stephanie Perez

Stephanie is an executive assistant and writer with a background in social research. She has experience working in the legal and nonprofit sectors. She enjoys creating order out of chaos and finding creative solutions to improve efficiencies and productivity in the workplace. In her free time, you can find her enjoying the outdoors with her husband and their two energetic sons.
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