Many business people are required to travel in connection with their work whether this is frequent of occasional occurrence, attention to detail in making the arrangements is essential.  This applies equally to local visits and those too far distant places.  The basic planning is similar in each case, so you can work with a common checklist.

Travel arrangements are traditionally a secretary’s desk, though some firms have their own travel service departments and other firms have an account with a travel agency on whom they call to make arrangements as required.

Basic information by those travelling is required

This information by those travelling is required.

This information regards

  1. Places to visit
  2. For how long
  3. Preferred means of travel
  4. What appointments have been made and what still needs to be made


  1. Travel agents arrange all types of domestic and international travel, from hotel and resort accommodations to air and ground transportation, including car rental needs and tour packages.
  2. They can provide assistance with travel insurance protection, passport and visa applications, inoculation procedures and other foreign travel requirements.
  3. A travel agent may be able to save you money with early booking discounts, special fares, hotel deals and travel advisories.
  4. A travel agent offers convenience as most offer one-stop shopping for all travel arrangements.
  5. If the travel agent is a member of travel trade association he is knowledgeable and active in the industry as the association gives/provides education, training and resource materials which promote highest quality service.


Checklist of information to be supplied when using the services of a travel agent

  • Journey dates
  • Countries/places to be visited
  • Airline preference
  • Class of travel i.e. first class executive class (business/clubs of economy class – tourist)
  • Smoking and non-smoking seats
  • Car hired
  • If travelling by car, registration number, type of car and length of car
  • Hotel reservations
  • Insurance visa
  • Transport to airport


1:  Decide on the method of travel and the necessary arrangements required

  • Arrangements for Road Travel

Reference books and sources of information

  1. AA (Automobile Association)
  2. Handbook or RAC (Royal Automobile Club handbook – provide information about road travel including maps and car repair facilities
  3. ABC coach and Bus Guide – contains full information on coach and bus routes and services available
  4. National express service is published take a year, in winter and summer, and provides a guide to all express coach services
  5. Telephone numbers of the executive’s garage, mechanic and nearest AA or RAC office
  6. Road maps

Final preparations

  1. Arrange for the appropriate road maps and route plans to be available
  2. Verify weather conditions in the area in which the executive is traveling
  3. Confirm the booking of hotels
  4. Prepare the itinerary and include telephone numbers of hotels, appointments, meetings etc. and have a clear understanding of the times and places where the executive may be contacted.
  5. Collect and hand to the executive all the documents required
  6. Prepare a supply of office stationery to enable the executive to write letters, reports etc. during the visit
  7. Discuss outstanding matters
  • Arrangements for Rail Travel

Reference books and sources information

  1. ABC Railway Guide – gives time of train departure and arrivals
  2. Rail time tables – provide routes of trains and the stations at which they call
  3. Telephone number of the local Railway Enquiry Bureaus

Final preparation

  1. Confirm the time, station, platform of departure of train and the time of arrival at destination
  2. Obtain the ticket for the journey plus one for a reserved seat if required
  3. Make arrangements for the executive to be met at the destination
  4. Confirm the bookings of hotels
  5. Prepare the itinerary and include telephone numbers of hotels appointments, meetings etc. and have clear understanding of the times and places where the executive may be contacted
  6. Collect and hand to the executive all the documents required
  7. Prepare a supply of office stationery to enable the executive to write letters, reports etc. during the visit
  8. Discuss outstanding matters
  • Arrangements of Air Travel

Reference books and sources of information

  1. ABC World Airways Guide – it gives details of all flights by all airlines
  2. World Atlas
  3. Airline timetables – shows the departure and arrival times
  4. Car hire leaflets
  5. Royal Mail International Travel Guide
  6. Airport guides including car parking arrangements
  7. Current visa, passport, export license health and insurance regulations
  8. Telephone numbers for:
  • The nearest airline booking office and private charter or office
  • The local travel agent, including their ‘out of hours’ number
  • The executives or organization’s bank’s for arranging currency traveller’s cheques etc.
  • Local taxi/car hire firm

Checklist for arranging travel abroad

First tasks

  1. Agree dates for visit and enter them in the diary
  2. Book airline tickets
  3. Arrange insurance cover
  4. Book hotels
  5. Arrange vaccinations, if necessary
  6. Apply for visa, if required
  7. Check that the passport remains current
  8. Arrange meetings/appointments aboard
  9. Arrange for business visiting cards to be printed information on reverse in the language of the country visited
  10. Send for information about country visited e.g. hints for exporters
  11. Arrange for the executive to be met at the foreign airport or for a car to be hired
  12. Apply for AA for international permit, if required

One week before visit

  1. Check receipt of:
  • Airline tickets
  • Insurance certificate
  • Visa, if required
  • International driving permit if required
  1. Check confirmation of hotel bookings
  2. Order travelers cheques and currency from bank
  3. Book transport to airport in the country

½ days before departure

  1. Collect travelers cheques and currency from bank
  2. Assemble the following items and hand them to the executive
  • Airline tickets
  • Insurance certificate
  • Vaccination certificate
  • Visa
  • Passport
  • Hints for exporters booklet
  • Travelers cheques and foreign currency
  • Itinerary
  • Hotel brochures, confirmation of booking and hotel voucher
  • International driving permit
  • Confirmation of transport arrangements
  • File of correspondence/documents for meetings and appointments
  • Supply of stationery for use abroad. Business visiting cards
  • Discuss any outstanding matters
  • Business vising cards
  1. Discuss an outstanding matters
  • Arrangements for Sea Travel

Reference books and sources of information

  1. ABC shopping guide – provides information on all voyages by all shipping lines

2: Book the necessary Hotel Accommodation

The AA and RAC handbooks provide information about hotels and also brief details about many tours and cities.  For details of hotels, abroad, the foreign touring guide, published by the AA and Rite may be consulted.

What to consider

  • Reservations for accommodation in hotels are usually made from the day of arrival to the day of departure
  • Type of accommodation required e.g. a room with private shower or bath
  • Time of arrival and departure
  • Whether transport is required from the point of arrival to the hotel
  • Availability of facilities for entertaining guest
  • Special requirements regarding diet and availability of a meal on arrival
  • Location of the hotel bearing in mind the appointments to be kept and means of travel to be used
  • Whether to book by telephone, telex or a letter – accommodation can be reserved by telephone and confirmed later by letter
  • Parking
  • Arrangement must also be made for those who may be travelling with the boss e.g. chauffer, pilot, personal assistant or other staff members

3: Arranging Contacts

  • If your boss is going to visit companies and make contacts you may have to arrange dates and time of meetings with various people
  • Write to potential contacts as soon as possible giving purposed dates of visits so that they can keep the time available
  • Arrangements can often be only tentative since one arrangement may depend upon another
  • In overseas countries the commercial attaches at the high commissions or embassies would make contacts on behalf of your boss possibly through local chambers of commerce and employer’s association

      Check and obtain the necessary travel documents

  • A passport – where an executive is travelling abroad he will need a valid passport. A passport is checked to see if it is in order well in advance of any business trip abroad
  • Visas – certain countries require visitors to obtain a visa. It grants permission to enter the country for a certain purpose and length of time
  • Entry permits may also be needed and if the travelers’ stay is to be more than a certain period an exit permit may also be needed
  • International driving licenses – certain countries do require that drivers hold a valid international license available from the AA or RAC
  • Medical certificates such as vaccination and inoculation certificates. They show that the required vaccinations or inoculations have been taken by the visitors as required by the visitors as required by the country or countries to be visited.  Typical diseases that may require inoculation precautions include: small pox, cholera, yellow fever, typhoid and TB
  • Insurance certificates – all the necessary documentation should be completed prior to the trip and kept in a convenient place during the journey in case reference to it is required in order to make a claim
  • Currency – foreign currency will be required for making payments in countries abroad. Supplies can be obtained, from a bank in the form of cash or traveler’s cheques

Credit cards are useful for paying bills while travelling at home or abroad.  Holders of credit cards can make credit purchases at shops, hotel, garages etc. where the card is acceptable payment is made monthly to credit card organization which could be bank (e.g. Barclays card) or other organizations e.g. Diners Club

  • Business documents – papers relating to the visit should be prepared and made available in good time. A supply of stationery provides a traveler with a summary of the arrangements made for the journey.  It shows the places to be visited, the methods of getting to them and a list of engagements.
  • Itinerary – a copy of the itinerary should be kept at hand. An itinerary provides a traveler with a summary of the arrangements made for the journey.  It shows the places to be visited, the methods of getting to them and a list of engagements.

An example of an itinerary is shown below


  1. You are the secretary to the Marketing Manager who will be travelling to Cairo for a trade fair next week. Highlight four key issues you will need to deal with before he leaves (4 marks)
  2. Identify three items that should be included when preparing an itinerary. (3 marks)
  3. Suggest three sources that may provide information for road travel
  4. The Chief Executive for whom you work as a secretary will travel on the 20th of next month by air to your branch office in Entebbe. The plane will leave JKIA at 7.00 a.m.  It takes one and a half hours to fly from Nairobi to Entebbe.  He will need 30 minutes clearance at the Entebbe airport after which he will be taken to the branch office.  He will attend a briefing for two hours, beginning at 10.00 am.  This will be followed by a one hour ground-breaking ceremony at the Information Technology Centre.  There will be a lunch break of one hour starting at 1.00 pm.  Thereafter he will go straight to the airport.  Departure from Entebbe airport will be at 3.00 pm.  On arrival at JKIA one and a half hours later, he will be driven back to the office.  Prepare an itinerary for the executive.  (9 marks)
  5. The executive you work for makes frequent trips at short notice to Mombasa. He travels by road or air.  Highlight six points you should check with him before he leaves. (9 marks)
  6. Explain eight arrangements that a secretary should make for an executive who has to travel by train to attend a business conference (8 marks)
  7. Define the following documents used in travel
  • Ticket
  • Visa
  1. Your boss has been invited for a business conference in South Africa. Prepare a checklist to assist you in arranging his travel. (10 marks)
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