college grads: preparing for corporate travel

Posted : April 8, 2008
Last Updated : May 17, 2017

college grads: preparing for corporate travel

After graduation, many of you will be taking on a new job and immersing yourself into the working world. If that new job involves corporate travel, be sure to prepare for your first trip with these tips.


  • Keep all receipts in a safe place. Receipts must be carefully recorded and promptly submitted on expense forms. If you don't have a receipt for a particular item or incident, you may not get reimbursed. Be sure to ask for a receipt if one is not normally provided.
  • Get familiar with company policy. Familiarize yourself with corporate credit card policy regarding incidental expenditures: hotel mini bars, dry cleaning services, movie rentals, alcohol purchases, rental car upgrades, etc. Find out what your company will pay for and what you would have to pay for out of your own pocket.
  • Carry cash. You should keep small bills handy for tipping drivers, doormen, bellmen, hotel maids, valet parking attendants, etc.

Air Travel

  • Book your flight well in advance if possible. You should book your trip as early as possible for best rates and schedules. Choose early morning flights rather than midday flights, so you will have more options if your flight is cancelled.
  • Enroll in frequent flyer programs. A frequent flyer program is a service offered by many airlines to reward customer loyalty. Accrued points or frequent flyer miles can be redeemed for free air travel, other goods/services, increased benefits, etc. Be sure to check at the ticket counter to make sure you are credited for your flights.
  • Arrive at airport early. For domestic flights, you should be at the airport at least an hour before departure. For international flights, be there two hours before departure.
  • Prepare for lost luggage. Place your full name and address inside all bags in case luggage tags are lost. Pack at least one business-attire outfit in your carry-on so you will have presentable clothing in case your luggage is lost.
  • Know airport security guidelines. Get familiar with airport security guidelines in order to move easily through security checkpoint. If you have never flown before, observe the actions of those in front of you in line to help you look like a veteran traveler.

Local Transportation

  • Research rental car companies. Keep in mind that many rental car agencies require clients to be 25 years of age. Some companies make exceptions but add high insurance fees. Search around to find the best deal.
  • Develop loyalty to a rental car agency. If problems arise, they are resolved more quickly for long-term customers.
  • Download a ride-hailing app. More and more business travelers are choosing ride-hailing apps, such as Uber and Lyft, over taxis due to convenience. These apps allow you to track the cars before arrival and during the trip, make completing monthly expense reports easier with saved receipt information, and generally offer cheap fares. However, you should always do a price comparison before settling on a mode of transportation. Unlike taxis, ride-hailing apps have surge pricing and different prices for different types of vehicles so they are not always the cheaper option.
  • Be careful to use legitimate taxis. At airports, taxis are parked in designated waiting areas. If the taxi does not have a fare meter, negotiate the fare to your destination before getting into the cab.
  • Get cab company info. Write down the cab company's name and telephone number as well as the identification number of your particular taxi. If you leave something behind in the cab, you can call and provide information on how to get it returned to you.
  • Get directions. Use a GPS app to ensure you obtain concise driving directions to all of your appointments. Have phone numbers saved in your phone in case you run into traffic jams.


  • Book your room early. As when booking your flight, you should also book your hotel room as early as possible to ensure availability. Be sure to choose a hotel with business-friendly amenities, such as free wi-fi, complimentary continental breakfast, business lounge, etc.
  • Enroll in hotel rewards programs. These free programs (Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors, Marriot Rewards, etc.) give you many ways to earn and redeem points. Before you check out of your hotel, make sure that your frequent guest account is credited.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you decide to leave your hotel to grab some food or walk to the closest convenient store, pay attention to what the outside of the hotel building looks like and make sure you know the address of the hotel. It's very easy to get disoriented in a city in which you are unfamiliar. Be sure to carry your cell phone with you at all times.

Use these above-mentioned tips to assist you as you go from college student to first time business traveler. For more tips on entering the professional world, contact the Career Services department at your school.

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