The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm, and the way travelling is looked at has changed forever. Since the virus transfers from human to human, and the illness is asymptomatic for the first few days, it has been difficult to contain its spread. Both globally and nationally, the general guidelines have been to stay indoors to stay safe, to not interact with others as much as possible, to protect oneself with masks, sanitize or wash hands frequently, and maintain social distancing.
Even as the case incidence is high, recovery rates are high as well. However, there are cases where people are severely impacted in terms of health, sometimes also resulting in death. Thus, it is of utmost importance to understand the precautions to be taken when planning a business trip during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Risk assessment: the first and foremost question to address is the criticality of the trip. A risk assessment by drawing up the potential impact and consequences of both travelling and not travelling. The impact can be categorized by low, medium, and high effect on the business and personal level. Only a trip that passes the risk matrix should be undertaken.
- Safety: keeping oneself and everyone else safe has become the responsibility of every world citizen during the COVID pandemic. The basics include washing hands frequently, wearing a mask at all times in public, maintaining social distancing, and isolating during quarantine. People who travel should be especially cautious after the trip and preferably get tested to confirm they did not contract the virus during travel. Basic hygiene and following guidelines issued by the respective home country and country of travel are imperative to ensure a safe and smooth business trip.
- Country policies on travel: You must be aware of the guidelines, policies, bans and restrictions, if any, on travel between countries. The scenario has been continuously evolving globally. You should check the situation right before your trip to ensure that you don’t face any last minute surprises such as denial of entry.
- Flexibility of airlines and hotels: some airlines are issuing flexible tickets that allow you to change travel dates with minimal penalties for changing or cancelling plans. Similarly, when booking hotels, look for refundable options if you need to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances.
- Insurance: Trip insurance is an excellent idea during these uncertain times. It will cover expenses such as cancellations, postponements, changes etc., in air tickets and hotel reservations. Ensure that your trip covers health expenses in the country or place you are travelling to since the COVID-19 virus can impact anyone anytime.
If your travel is imperative for your business and has cleared your risk assessment matrix, your next steps would be booking your tickets and accommodation. If finances are a problem, you can consider taking a personal loan for the trip. A quick check online, and you will be able to compare the personal loan interest rates being offered by various financiers.
An online personal loan EMI calculator will help you plan the exact outflow of cash, and you can easily choose the amount and term of the loan accordingly.