Travel Tips For Personal Assistants

Depending on the need of your employer, you may go or you may need to stay at the home or office and tend to things while your employer is away. Whatever you do, you will still need to have a handle on all aspects of the travel and be well prepared to deal with any changes or last minute surprises.

How To Prepare

Once you know who will be traveling, when, where, and for how long, you can begin to build your list of details and build a schedule and travel itinerary that you can handle from the road, the office, or the home.

You will need to know if he desires to pay with credit cards or use miles. Do you know how to transfer miles? How to upgrade them? How to check them in at the airport, fast? Do you know what an airport escort is?

Flyer Miles: A number of people who travel frequently will have flying points often referred to as frequent flyer miles. Each airline has a different name for them but essentially the passenger has points on their airline account they can redeem to fly instead of paying with currency. Points or miles can sometimes be used to upgrade the passenger from economy to business, business to first class. You’ll need to learn how this works by calling or going onto the airlines web site and researching their rules and regulations.

Some airlines will allow you to swap miles with other airline partners, some will let you trade using credit card services such as American Express (though they have specific airlines they work with). You can also get creative and look at services such as a program that allows you to trade mileage points with non-affiliated airlines.

Airport Escort: This is someone who will meet your employer and his party at the airline and help to make their transition to the plane or airline lounge, smooth, easy, and hassle free. An Airport Escort will handle all of your luggage and expedite you through security. They stay with you every step of the way until you are safely and comfortably on your plane. They will check if there are any upgrades available (sometimes at no extra charge), and when it’s time to board, they will notify you and escort you to the boarding gate.

Hotel preferences: Does your boss like to stay on a higher floor? Or have his room away from the elevators? Does he need a fax machine, favorite water? Does he want a view? Are his favorite pillows in the room? Is the room hypoallergenic? Where does the sun rise or set? Is he near the pool? Away from the ice machine? Down the hall from the elevator? Find out!

Auto rental: Does he prefer a new car or an older one? Do you know which rental agencies carry which brands of vehicles? Do they have towing service? Navigation system? Can anyone drive the vehicle?

You may also be responsible for packing, making an itinerary list, preparing snacks for the trip, and having some useful items available for your boss to take with him; eye mask, ear plugs, power cords, tissues, aspirin, etc.

Carefully go over everything. There are so many times someone has packed a suit, tie, shirts, socks, and shoes, but forgot something as simple as a belt. Also, when packing toiletries, pay attention to sizes. Know if your boss is taking a carry on that she will need to have the smaller toothpaste and shampoo. Check with the airlines before packing and get the latest information on rules and regulations. However, traveling private is different and other regulations apply.

Who To Prepare

It is your job to know all of your boss’s travel habits. How he likes to fly, what his favorite airlines are, what color seats he prefers (yes, I said it). Aisle or window preference, what foods he can eat, where he likes to sit (First Class or Business), time of day he prefers to travel.

Not only will you need to prepare the people going on the trip, but you may need to alert business associates, staff, and others that your boss will be traveling. If there is a staff, this is also the time to keep an extra vigil on them and keep the house running smoothly and making sure they don’t take this as a mini-vacation. While it is okay to let them ease up a bit, it is important that the house continues to run efficiently.

If there is a second home, alert that staff and make sure everything will be ready when your employer arrives; food, clean sheets, fuel in the cars, etc.

Also, contact the limo service that will be meeting your boss. Get the name and number of the driver’s cell. Make sure he is on time and give him a description of what your employer is wearing so he can easily find him. Ask the driver to have a sign with your employer’s name.

Discuss with your employer anything she may want you to deal with while she’s away.

Last Minute Change Of Plans

If you are not using a travel agent, and even if you are, you will need to keep a specific itinerary of everything that is occurring so you can accommodate any changes or surprises that arise. The airport may be snowed in. There may be an overbooking at the hotel, someone in the traveling party may get sick, an unscheduled business appointment, death in the family, or household disaster may arise, and you will need to change plans fast.

Occasionally you may have one of those very very rare boss’s who only flies on planes with red seat cushions and he has just boarded a plane with blue ones. Keeping a good itinerary with as many details as you can have will help make last minute switching a lot easier. Still challenging, but easier.

Do You Go Or Stay?

One of the things you should work out before hand is knowing if you will be traveling with your boss. Some of you may want to travel, and some may not. You may have a family and want to be home every night. These are important things you’ll need to discuss when first taking the position.

Working Mobile

On the go should never mean out of touch. You need to be able to have as much ability as you can to stay in touch on every front, phone contact, email, fax, messaging, weather, travel info, etc.

Fortunately, we are in a very technologically savvy world and it is easy to do so. The question is, are you technically savvy? Can you figure out how to get email while nowhere near a computer? Can you find out the weather from inside a taxi?

Again, you will need to discuss with your employer everything that will be expected of you in this area and then make sure they can supply you with or have you purchase the items necessary to help keep him or her in the know. And, if you don’t know the best items to purchase, then your job is to find the tech savvy person who can tell you what to get. A good source of information are web blogs or opinion web sites that can also rate these products.

Secondly, you need to make sure these new tech items can work in the places you will be traveling to. It will do you no good to have a Blackberry that works in New York and not in Spain, or North Carolina. You need to make sure that you have an idea of not only where the items may be used, but in what capacity.

Living Out Of A Bag

You are responsible for yourself, your boss, and possibly his family, associates, band members, etc. So while you want to travel light, you need to make sure you bring things that you will need when away for a while. If you are staying in hotels, most concierge can get you items you may need. But don’t buy too much because you may need to leave early and you have to be able to pack up and get out quickly. Think of it like an episode of the Apprentice. You may need to pack every day, so learn to take only those items really necessary and figure out how to get the rest later.

I Want The Food I Get Back Home!

There are just going to be times when both you and your boss will want exactly what you get back home. Sometimes this is easy to handle, sometimes you will need to work a little harder to get these items, which can also entail higher costs, and then sometimes you still can’t find the item.

See if there is something you could use to substitute. Perhaps you can’t get whey protein but you can get egg protein. Maybe there is no agave sweetener, and your boss might be okay using dates to sweeten their protein shake for the time being. If your employer uses a chef or dietician, you can call or email them and get some ideas for good alternatives.

An actress was on location and just had to have a health shake that her trainer recommended. The problem was that some of the ingredients could not be found in that country and there was no way to rush ship the items needed. So, working through the night, her Personal Assistant, with input from the trainer, got together with some of the crew and came up with a mixture of other ingredients that ended up tasting like what they were missing. The actress never knew a thing.

Traveling With Children And Pets

A good travel agent can keep you up to date with the latest travel rules and regulations. When traveling with children, especially in today’s security driven society, you should know a couple things. When traveling with a child and only one parent or no parents you will need to have a notarized letter from the parent(s) and you may need records from the physician saying it is okay to travel. If there are any medications, you should carry the proper documentation because they do baggage search nowadays for that as well.

Make sure you have any special reading materials, videos or other favorite items that will keep the child happy, and content as possible. Always have a sweater or light jacket with you and there are times when a quick change of clothes is with you on board the plane for any ⬔accidentsâ¬- that may occur. Also, children touch everything. Have them wash their hands often and make sure you do the same. Always carry wipes with you.

For pets you will also need all the proper documentation and every airline can tell you their specific requirements. I suggest you call twice. There have been a number of times when an assistant will be told one thing and something completely different when they arrive. So verify your information, get a name, id number and location where the office you spoke with is.

Checking the weather can be most important especially when traveling long distances. The temperatures inside the cargo area can change and you want to make sure the animal is always as comfortable as possible. If you are traveling private, the pet will travel within the cabin.

The good things is that some commercial airlines are getting on board and offering incentives for smaller pets to ride inside the cabin along with you. However this can all change if your pet is rowdy, noisy, or smells badly.

Home Sick

This is a tough area for anyone who will be on the road for months at a time. Sometimes it got so bad for me I would have my roommate video tape my dog and FedEx them to me wherever I was.

Find the time to keep up with friends and relatives. Fortunately, cell phones make it easier these days to do those long distance calls.

Another thing that can help with travel blues is to have people send you letters. There is something comforting about receiving a letter or even a silly care package with goofy things in it. Yes, it will make you sad but mostly fond of the people who took the time to make you feel wanted.

It is important that the position you take is one you like and not one you took because it’s cool or because you’re working for a big star. If you do not enjoy your job, you will really get homesick when you are away for long period of time.