When it comes to business trips, your travel arrangements are a well-oiled machine. Your travel coordinators and administrative professionals know your schedules. Your preferences. How to ensure each trip runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
However, the equation completely changes when it comes to planning personal and family travel. It’s no longer just your effectiveness and productivity that are on the line, it’s the safety and comfort of you and your family. The difficulty of getting vacation time on already-overbooked calendars makes every moment precious.
Trips like these require their own playbook. Here are three questions to ask when planning personal and family travel:
Question #1: How will service partners support the safety of myself and my family?
Any time an executive or high-end traveler is traveling represents a safety risk, as signifiers of their status may make them more vulnerable to opportunistic crime. Managing this risk is always important, but safety considerations take on added importance when traveling with your family. While it may not occur to you to prioritize safety when traveling alone, it becomes the number one factor when traveling with family.
Again, the service partners you select can play a major role in managing this issue. For example, many ground transportation options don’t offer child safety seats, which leaves people who are traveling with younger children two options. They can bring their own child safety seats, though this means carrying heavy seats from stop to stop and manually installing them into every new vehicle. Or, they can work with a partner like Savoya that can make sure the appropriate number and type(s) of child safety seats are prepped and ready for every trip.
But safety certainly isn’t limited to simply having appropriate seating for younger children. When considering ground travel options, look specifically for providers like Savoya that rigorously vet and train drivers, and that equip them with the tools, intelligence and behind-the-scenes support—such as threat and disturbance monitoring—required to address the unique safety and security needs of executive and high-end travelers. Savoya also rigorously vets service vehicles for an added layer of safety and comfort, ensuring that all models are less than three years old, and that all maintenance and inspection checks are in place.
Question #2: How can I ensure my trip runs smoothly?
Personal and family travel planning—just like business travel—comes down to the “what ifs?” Though the specific “what ifs” you’ll want to consider will look different in either scenario, it’s still important to walk through every stage of your vacation itinerary, looking for particularly tight windows or other opportunities to put contingency plans in place.
For example, what would you do if a family member prefers to make changes to your itinerary after you have arrived? Many travelers and families prefer to keep a fluid schedule while on vacation, so having a car available “as directed” may be more efficient than having to hail a ride-share vehicle or taxi every time plans change.
Or, what if you arrive at your destination, only to find that there isn’t enough room for your entire traveling party and their luggage in the car you’ve booked? If you are traveling with multiple people—each of whom may be carrying several bags—a standard sedan may not have enough room. When you book with Savoya, our Travel Coordinators offer personalized service, including a consultative approach to help match you with a vehicle that has both enough seats—including any child safety seats that may be needed—and ample luggage capacity for the trip to run smoothly.
Savoya’s Travel Coordinators also proactively monitor your trips to ensure the experience is smooth and seamless. They can also serve as a direct resource for you—available 24/7—should you need to make any changes to your itinerary. This is especially important when you are traveling internationally and may need to reach someone off-hours.
Question #3: How can I easily navigate a new area?
The unfamiliar surroundings of a new vacation destination introduce plenty of opportunities for delays and uncertainty. Wait times may be longer at events or attractions than anticipated. Unannounced closures can derail carefully laid plans. Not only are these occurrences frustrating, they can be downright painful when children are added to the mix.
If you are visiting a new area on personal or family travel, there are steps you can take to limit potential confusion. For example, you could print detailed maps or write out custom directions based on known preferences for your traveling party (such as walking directions to the closest Starbucks from the hotel).
The partners you choose at your destination can also make a big difference. Call hotels to vet their concierge on the level of service they’re able to provide. Check car services as well, looking for options like Savoya that thoroughly screen and recruit drivers for service excellence and fluency in English. That way, you can trust that your ground travel provider will provide an appropriate in-vehicle environment for families and/or children, while also having a level of familiarity with the area that allows them to serve as a trusted travel consultant if needed, providing guidance and making recommendations.
Take the hassle out of booking personal or family travel.
Safety and flexibility are the name of the game for personal and family travel. While both are also important when planning business travel, they become especially important when you are traveling with children or anxious to get some well-deserved R&R.
It’s up to you to plan ahead—not just in terms of the specific reservations you make, but for the partners you trust to support your vacation. Do your due diligence by asking the three questions above. Every scenario you work through in advance represents one fewer potential complication to your vacation.
What other tips would you add to our list? Leave us a note below with your comments.