When is it Safe to Start Traveling for Business Again?

Business travel in the U.S. is expected to start picking up this summer and continue in the coming months as more people get vaccinated and workplace restrictions are lifted.

Those who traveled before the pandemic for business are eager to hit the road again, looking forward to meeting with out-of-town clients and enjoy other opportunities that come with face-to-face site visits.

Take a look at what industry specialists and businesses are talking about in this post-pandemic environment as you start planning and traveling for your business again.

Eager to Get Back

Eighty-four percent of business travelers surveyed say they cannot wait to resume travel again for work, reports the global property and casualty insurance company Chubb.

According to Chubb, most of those surveyed indicated they felt less effective at their jobs when they can’t travel and meet face-to-face.

The pandemic and related travel restrictions have hurt the ability of companies and employees to develop business, serve clients and maintain business relationships, the survey says.

“This was the view of nearly 75% of respondents around the world.  It didn't matter where they live, how much they earn or how frequently they travel," said Chris Martin, Chubb’s division president, North America Accident, and Health, in the company’s news release about the survey.

Higher Car Rental Rates

If you’ll need a rental car for your trip, expect higher prices. This will be particularly true if your business travel takes you to popular vacation destinations or more remote locations.

Prices have gone up and cars are harder to find because the pandemic forced many rental car companies to unload their inventory when demand dropped by 90 percent, according to Jonathan Weinberg, founder of the car rental tracker site Autoslash.

“Now that more people are getting vaccinated and traveling, car rental companies don't have enough cars,” says Weinberg in a Business Insider article by Jamie Ditaranto. “Customers are also taking longer trips and working remotely from the road, which ties up the cars for a longer period.”

Is It Safe? Will I Need a Mask?

Restarting your business travel may not come easily after more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions. Is it safe to travel? Where do I still need a mask? 

Whether you decide to start traveling again for business depends on several factors, including your comfort level, vaccination status, and where you’re planning to go.

Even though fully vaccinated Americans no longer have to wear masks in some circumstances, according to the CDC, you’re still required to wear masks on airplanes and in airports, and at some businesses, including hotels.

As far as other precautions, there are hotels and airlines citing hygiene as a priority and want travelers to know where they stand before you decide to travel. 

"How socially distanced you can be from other people, how often everything is cleaned, and what protective measures are in place for the staff will dominate the communication for anyone trying to lure travelers this year," says Konrad Waliszewski, cofounder and CEO of the travel app TripScout, in a Travel + Leisure article by Eric Rosen And Elizabeth Rhodes.

 “As the situation continues to evolve, mask requirements may vary from place to place, so check local regulations before traveling,” the Travel & Leisure writers advise.

International Travel

If you’re considering a business trip outside the U.S., there are more variables to weigh, including whether your destination requires vaccine proof.

Leisure travel is expected to pick up faster than business travel, particularly in the area of corporate travel, which is not expected to rise as quickly, if ever, to pre-pandemic numbers.

“The International Air Transport Association, which represents 290 airlines around the world, expects business travel to bounce back more slowly than vacations because companies reduced travel budgets during the pandemic and online conferencing will replace some meetings,” reports CNN Business.