Make Travel arrangements for the business trip from Milwaukee to Berlin, Germany During COVID-19
It’s Monday day, I am ready to go home when all of the sudden my boss walks up to my desk and tells me that he has approved my request to attend the business I wanted to go in Berlin, Germany. Now all I have to do is plan my trip and submit the require documentation for pre-approval. The conference is said to last 5 days, from Monday to Friday and my boss has informed me that I will be going alone on this trip. Planning a trip anywhere has many steps in it. During the COVID-19 pandemic, only makes traveling longer and more challenging. The most common way for someone to travel to Berlin from Milwaukee would be by air. Traveling through the air is also the most common form of travel for business expeditions.
Things you will need to do before you travel
Before flying anywhere, a passport is a must-have for travel. If you do not have one yet, do not worry obtaining one is not too difficult. Due to COVID-19, it is recommended that you apply for one as early as possible since it is not guarantee you will get approve in time.
1. The first step in order to obtain a US passport to fill out a DS-11 form. The DS-11 form can be found here: Travel.State.Gov.com. Just fill out the form and you can move on to the next step.
2. The next step is to provide proof that you are a US citizen. You can do this by providing, an undamaged expired US passport, certificate of citizenship, birth certificate, or certificate of naturalization.
3. Now we need to prove if you are who you say you are. You can prove your identity using a myriad of different ways that can be found on their website. However, the easiest method would be to show them your driver license.
4. Next, we have to give them a picture. You must provide at least one photo with your application. Some passport acceptance facilities provide a photo-taking service. However, I would not recommend this because it is a paid service. So, make sure to have your photo taken ahead. Acceptable photos need to be taken within the past year and must not have anything covering your face (like sunglasses or a hat).
5. Finally, all that’s left to do is to calculate the cost and obtain the passport. Keep in mind that obtaining a passport usually takes 8 to 11 weeks as of March 15, 2022. However, there is a faster paid for service that can deliver your new passport within 5 to 7 weeks for an extra cost ($60). If your employer wants you to go on a business trip soon and you don’t have a passport; You may be able to convince them to pay for the expedited service. Below is a table showing the different options and pricing for passports (for adults).
Getting Covid-19 Tested
Before you travel anywhere, you must make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before you travel internationally. Travelers who received all the required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine cited on the website of Paul Ehrlich Institute are considered fully vaccinated (“Comirnaty” is known in the U.S. as Pfizer). It must be at least 14 days since the last vaccine dose was administered. On entry, travelers must have proof of vaccination in written (e.g. CDC card) or digital form (a cellphone photo is not sufficient). Vaccinated travelers must additionally show no relevant symptoms. Travelers who can prove they were previously infected with COVID through a positive PCR test, taken at least 28 days but no more than 90 days prior, and who show no relevant symptoms are considered to be fully recovered.
If you did not know, Germany does not use US dollars, they use Euros. Meaning you will need to exchange your current US money to Euros if wish to pay for anything while in Germany. The current exchange rate for 1 US dollar is 0.91 Euro as of March 15, 2022. If possible, you should try to exchange currency at the bank you currently use, this is because they are normally the cheapest and can help to save you from some extra fees. If needed, you can do it at the airport or when you arrive in Germany but keep in mind that they could have higher exchange rates and cost you more. When you return from your trip the same rules apply.
Flight, Hotel, and Transportation
Searching around the internet and different airline websites, I ended up finding the most affordable price to fly a round trip to Berlin, Germany on Expedia.com. The trip is said to last 5 days, from Monday (March 21) to Friday (March 25) so I will have to arrive at Germany a day before Monday. I find that a price for a round trip from March 19 to March 25 goes for $627 with Turkish Airlines, departing from the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The flight lasts a total of about 14 hours, making just one stop at the Istanbul Airport for about 2 hours before taking off and arriving to the Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt in Germany the next day (March 21). All that’s left to do is assure my luggage is in order, grave my face mask, get a ride to the airport, and finally take the flight!
Using Google and knowing where I will be landing, I find that the most affordable hotel and closes to where my business trip will take place is the MEININGER Hotel Berlin East Side Gallery for 232.29 € ($255.41) from March 21 to March 25. The hotel is 25km from the airport with an estimated drive time of about 40 minutes.
Now how do I get to my hotel room? Well, I have several options, bus, train, rent a car, or taxi/Uber. For this I chose Uber since I can make a pickup appointment, don’t have to wait for the bus/train, and I don’t have to worry about signs translations, getting an IDP (International Driving Permit) for me to drive in Germany, or learn directions to get where I want to go. An Uber from the airport to my hotel will cost about 44.41 € ($48.86) plus another 44.41 € when I have to leave.
From there, I’m free to start getting things done on my business trip. In total, for just the hotel, flight, and transportation to the hotel when I arrive and transportation to the airport when I leave will cost around $980.13.
Creating a budget is a great idea to have when you are traveling. Having an idea of how much you may spend on a trip will help you be better prepared and avoid running out of money or spending way too much. Some things you may want to plan to budget include:
- Meals (about $60 per day)
- Transportation (about $40 per day)
- Leisure (about $80 per day depends on what you do and where you go)
- Other (about $280 it’s good to have extra money for any surprise expenses)
These amenities and activities should cover your whole trip and planning them will help to give the most realistic idea of how spending will work while on your trip. Planning to spend $250 a day while in Berlin is a good idea, it’s better to over-prepare than under prepare with money.