With a boss that travels two or three times a month, I know that planning trips can quickly become a catastrophe if you don’t stay on top of things. In many ways, planning a trip for someone else is more difficult than planning your own family vacation, because there are so many factors to take into account, and you are not the primary decision maker. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help keep things organized and on-track.

First off, I have made a general planning Trip Checklist that I keep in the front of each trip file-folder. This checklist contains basic information such as who is traveling, where they are going, the host administrative assistant’s contact information, and a general checklist of planning to-do’s that need to be accomplished:

  • Airline Flights Booked and Confirmed
  • Hotel Booked and Confirmed
  • Car Airport Transportation Arranged
  • Destination Rental Car/Taxi Booked
  • Meeting Itinerary Received from Host

If you find yourself planning trips often, take note of the things you must plan for each time. Compile a check list of everything you’ll need to do, from start to finish. Keep this one-page checklist in your general travel folder and print off for each trip. This makes for easy reference if you are planning multiple trips at once, you can easily flip to a particular trip’s checklist to see where you are in the planning stages.

Also, there are many free programs and phone apps like TripIt that can help to manage all of the nitty gritty details of the trip itself. Today I want to introduce TripIt, a wonderful app that has transformed travel planning.  This app works best if your boss uses a smartphone and can download the TripIt app onto their phone or iPad.

How to Plan a Trip with TripIt in Five Easy Steps:

1.      Create a TripIt Account at www.tripit.com.

  • You can use any email address (But note that if you use a Google email address, it will automatically pull reservation information from your inbox. If you are using the TripIt for work, I would use your work email so as not to mix personal and professional itineraries.)

2.      Create a New Trip!

  • Once you login, you can create a new trip on the Trips tab from the left-hand sidebar “+ Add a Trip.”

3.      Enter the Trip Details such as the destination, start and end dates, travelers and the purpose.

4.      Importing Itinerary Information

  • When you receive an email confirmations from the hotel booking, flight ticket, or rental car reservations, forward the email to plans@tripit.com, and TripIt will automatically add the information to your itinerary! TripIt automatically puts in airlines, flight times, confirmation numbers, hotel names, and more.
  • You can manually add information to your trip by clicking on the blue date ribbons to the left of your itinerary and choosing a type of plan to add: transportation, activity or other. This will bring you to a new page where you can add in all the details of this new activity.

5.      Adding Travelers

  • To share the trip itinerary with your boss, use the “add travelers to your trip” tool. This allows your boss to log in to the account and see the details that you have added to your trip. If you plan trips often, it may be beneficial to just create a TripIt Account in your bosses name, so that everything is just automatically routed to his or her account.
  • Another bonus of the “add travelers” option, is to email the itinerary to other members – such as hosting administrative assistants who have helped in the planning, or other business meeting members who will want to know specifics of the trip. You can designate if a person is an editor or can only view the itinerary.

And that’s TripIt in five easy steps. I hope that you can begin to use this technology to plan your next business trip!

Sources: “How to Plan a Trip with TripIt” by Cory Bohon on January 10, 2012. Published on MacLife: http://www.maclife.com/article/howtos/how_plan_trip_tripit