Avoiding Awkward Business Travel Moments


Have you ever presented at a high-level conference in flip flops and a colourful Hawaii shirt because the airline misplaced your luggage? Or have you spent the night on a park bench because the hotel was overbooked?

Road warriors spend nearly four weeks of their personal time on a plane and an average of 88 nights away from home per year. During all this time away, awkward moments are bound to happen.

Oz Desai, General Manager Corporate Traveller, shares light on some of the most awkward business travel moments every single road warrior will undoubtedly recognise.

Travelling with your boss

Picturing sultry evenings on the beach with a cocktail in your hand, your next business trip to Mauritius seems like a perfect getaway from the office… until your boss announces he will be joining you.

Business trips with the boss can be a recipe for disaster,” agrees Desai. “But, they can also give you the opportunity to show your worth and make a good impression, so, make the most of the opportunity. Use this time to collaborate and get to know more about them, at the end of the day, bosses are human.”

If you’re unsure on whether to take a professional or a personal approach, follow your boss’s actions. If he talks work, engage in it. If he shows signs he’d like to relax, feel free to watch a movie or doze off.

Table for one, please!

One of the most awkward and intimidating moments for novice business travellers is eating by themselves in a restaurant. However, road warriors will tell you that it’s not a good idea to order room service every night and stay in your own bubble.

Remember as well that there are worse things than eating by yourself. You could find yourself forced to eat local ‘delicacies’ to please your hosts.

Packing disasters

Packing for a business trip can be a major pain point for travellers: under-packing, over-packing or plainly packing the wrong items are all real concerns.

Rule of thumb: if your outfit description contains the words ‘sweatsuit’, ‘velvet’ or ‘Hawaiian’, you should really reconsider what you’re wearing. If you’re sharing a room with a co-worker or colleague, remember to pack respectable sleepwear.

Try and fit all the essentials you need in a carry-on suitcase, advises Desai. You will not only save time and effort, but you also won’t run the risk of your luggage getting lost somewhere along the way.

Airport Security Mishaps

Getting swabbed for explosives, removing shoes and belts and setting off the dreaded security alarms, airport security is seen as a necessary evil by most road warriors.

In fact, passing through security is seen as one of the top five concerns for business travellers according to Statista.

Most road warriors will tell you that travelling for business can result in some very strange and awkward business travel moments that make for great stories to tell back at the office.

Corporate Traveller Competition

In 2020, Corporate Traveller once again wants to hear your stories as seasoned road warriors, as first-time business travellers or as occasional corporates.

Whether your experience is entertaining, hair-raising or embarrassing, share your story with Corporate Traveller on https://www.corporatetraveller.co.za/road-warriors-competition and you could WIN a R20 000 travel voucher.

The best stories will be featured on Jacaranda FM each week – and go into the grand prize draw. The competition closes on 17 March 2020, so submit your story today!


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