Up in the Air! Top travel tips for CFOs

ANZ Finance Leaders are preparing to return to the skies and get back to both domestic and international travel.

But the million-dollar question is: What are the new rules now we’re living with Covid, and how can we navigate them?

What’s the new etiquette for face-to-face meetings, and what’s your best piece of travel advice?

We set out to find out what’s involved in the modern day:

Emma Seymour, CFO | Deputy

“It’s paramount to plan ahead. Keep an eye on regulations in the country you’re travelling to, and make sure to book flights as far in advance of meetings as possible.

 I also pack a covid safe travel-kit in my carry-on, including spare masks, hand sanitisers and disinfectant wipes. Through Covid we’ve also grown accustomed to having everyone in the same time zone.

As we open travel back up, it is important to think about adapting workflows to ensure the team stays connected.”

Sabine Tromeur, Director of Finance | Independent Purchasing Company Australasia

Couple of tips following my recent overseas work trip.

1) Check the country of arrival requirements re testing validity period between RAT and PCR

2) Get a travel insurance covering Covid. They do check

3) International vaccine certificate

4) Download local app for local tracing if required

5) Download the DDP app for your return to Australia.

6) You may think you can have large size face to face meeting but this is not always allowed due to local restrictions. Enjoy this time to reconnect with people!

Patrick Barry, Head of Wealth, Executive Director | Partners Wealth Group

1) Have a good carry on bag that allows easy access to your laptop. There are bags that enable the laptop bag to clip on and off for easy passage through security. Never have checked-in luggage.

2) Be a member of a lounge or airlines reward program to access wifi, food, coffee and a quiet space to work.

3) Have a toiletries bag always packed at home with everything you need. Have no aerosols!

4) Have a clear marker on your carry-on to ensure you grab the right bag when exiting – everyone has the same little black bag.

5) If not travelling on business, try to sit as close to the front of the plane as possible. A more comfortable ride and less turbulence.

6) Don’t forget to phone your loved ones, even while travelling for work.

Joy Linton, CFO | CSL

Be thoughtful about why you need to travel in the first place. First ask, can you go virtual? Yes, travel is important, but less of it than pre-pandemic is a good thing, too.

For international travel, take personal accountability for understanding all the details of your travel plans. Don’t rely just on your PA or travel company. Each country has different rules, and they keep changing. I last travelled overseas in March, 2002, and it was significantly easier than January 2022

Take a hard copy of your international vaccine certificate as well as the digital wallet version. The Australian Digital Passenger Declaration required for re-entry into Australia only lets you take a photo of your vaccine certificate (I hope they fix this glitch soon)

For travel within Europe, seriously consider the train rather than a plane. The trains are excellent and better for the environment.

Check out the latest digital entry options into the US (global entry, TSA and pre-check), to see if you are eligible. This could potentially speed up the process at some US airports.

Just put up with masks everywhere on planes and trains

Michelle Kvello, Director | Lantern Partners

Allow extra time at the airport.  Check ins are taking longer due to the additional information that needs to be reviewed and airports still don’t seem to be staffed to their regular capacity, which means increased queues at every point.

Print out copies of any paperwork as well as having it digitally to prevent any issues in the event of a connection or battery issue

Subscribe to mobile alerts from your airline or travel agent/provider.    I think we’re still at the stage when things are changing so frequently, you’ll want to know asap if entry or departure requirements change

If you get anxious about travel all the extra restrictions and “newness” of travel isn’t going to be helping things.  A meditation app is always a great tool to either calm anxiety or for a sleep meditation in the air.

If you can, avoid in flight wifi!  I used to love the digital isolation of an airplane when I was travelling pre covid.  In the last couple of years, we’ve all had digital overload with constant online access and information overload.  I’m looking forward to my next digital escape, even for a few hours!  

Be kind.  Everyone is having to get used to getting back into the rhythm of travelling which means differing levels of stress, which we know doesn’t always result in people being their best selves.  Staff throughout the travel industry are dealing with a lot right now.  Don’t be the person making their life harder today.

Fabienne Wintle, Co-Founder & CIO | Navii

Always have a back-up plan for how to proceed in case either of you or the person you’re meeting with has to go into isolation or gets sick. Also, be prepared to conduct the meeting in hybrid mode, with some people in the room and others in the virtual room. We’ve run a few workshops like this recently, and our adaptability and flexibility has been well received. The key tip here is to have good sound equipment, so have access to a microphone and external speakers.

The new rules include being mindful of where you agree to meet. People may be more comfortable meeting alfresco for a coffee than in a closed office board room.

A mix of face-to-face and Zoom meetings are the go. People are relishing the ability to gat face-to-face again, but to optimise budgets, make sure you create a relationship management plan tht includes a mix of both meeting modes.

A lot of people are preferring not to shake hands when you greet them, so eye contact has become the alternative to show interest and sincerity when you greet someone.

You have quite a rare opportunity at the moment to meet face-to-face because you probably haven’t been able to do that for the last two years – so think about all the ways to make this meeting memorable. Bring flowers? Bring donuts? Of course, turn off your phone notifications, so you’re giving the person 100 per cent of your time.

And lastly, learn how to pay attention and to read people’s movements and gestures, which some people may have forgotten about.