Our Favorite Travel Gear for Business Travel

November 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

When you’re traveling, being distracted from the sights and sounds of your destination by your luggage or day bags should not be part of your itinerary. With some planning, you can streamline your experience, travel in comfort, and focus on the people and places you’re visiting.

Platiinum Magna 2 Backpack and Briefcase - two important pieces of travel gear

Platiinum Magna 2 Backpack and Briefcase

The first two items you need to consider when planning your travel is your personal item and your carry-on suitcase. Our Platinum® Magna™ 2 Collection has multiple options to choose from but two suggestions are the Platinum® Magna™ 2 20” Expandable Business Plus Spinner and the Platinum® Magna™ 2 Check Point Friendly Backpack, to outfit you for the road. The suitcase comes well equipped with patented MagnaTrac® Spinner wheels that always roll straight and don’t pull to the left or right when pushing as well as padded storage for your electronics.

The Check Point Friendly Backpack includes laptop and tablet sleeves, and other organizers for anything you want to pack, as well as a TSA-friendly feature that allows you to pass through security without removing your laptop.

After you’ve determined what kind of luggage you’ll need, organizing its contents can go a long way toward maximizing your trip. While they may seem extraneous, packing cubes help you maintain a place for everything and everything in its place. Only accessing what you need, instead of pawing through everything you own, will reduce your stress and increase your ability to engage your destination. A well-appointed toiletry kit will also keep you from hunting through your suitcase or backpack to locate that rogue toothbrush and toothpaste. We suggest a multi-function, waterproof one with see-through, zippered pockets that includes a hanger or Velcro loop for easy access.

Because it’s every bit as important to enjoy the journey as you do the destination, you may want to consider some in-flight travel gear comforts. If you want to catch a nap, think about including a travel pillow in your backpack. Noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones will also help you create a “cone of silence,” whether you’re in a plane or in your hotel room.

If hands-free travel is your goal, consider this unique travel gear option: SCOTTeVEST. Designed to conceal almost everything you could possibly need while en route, the system’s extensive interior pockets will allow you to carry all your tech and travel items on your person with fellow passengers being none the wiser. To get through security, simply remove your vest or jacket, lay it on the conveyor belt, and retrieve it after the scan. Your items remain secure and invisible, and you’re not fumbling with or searching through an extra bag to find your phone, tablet, passport, or e-reader.

What are your favorite travel gear items? Do you have any tried-and-true products or new items you want to try? Share them with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

5 Ways to Make Your Coach Travel More Comfortable

November 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Air travel is becoming more about price and efficiency, and less about comfort, especially if you’re not flying business or first class. Coach travel means seats are a little narrower and a little closer together, so it may be a tighter fit than you’d like.

That doesn’t mean you can’t find some comfort if you’re flying coach. You don’t have to sacrifice complete comfort for the sake of a cheaper ticket. Here are a few ways you can find a little comfort on your next coach flight.

This is what coach travel looks like - seats closer together, not a lot of leg room.

  1. Pay for comfort seating. While the cost is usually minimal, the benefits are so worth it. There’s additional legroom between you and the seat in front of you. You’ll also be at the front of the plane, so you’ll deplane earlier, and there’s often dedicated overhead bin space too. It’s still coach travel, but it’s better than sitting in normal coach. If you can’t spring for this, look for exit row seating to snag some extra legroom without the extra cost.
  2. Adjust the overhead vents so that they’re blowing in front of you but not on you. Doing so will increase airflow, and some experts believe you’ll decrease the risk of inhaling germs from that seatmate who’s not covering their coughs or sneezes very well.
  3. You may not have thought of this one, but wearing loose-fitting clothing can help create a little comfort when the seat can’t. You may not be able to do anything about the width or the pitch, and or the lack of recline, but if your clothes aren’t binding or pinching you as you’re confined for a few hours, you’ll deplane feeling better.
  4. Consider packing a jacket or pashmina if you tend to be cold when you fly. Even if you just use it as a drape until you warm up and then stow it behind your back for additional lower lumbar support, controlling your climate will help you control your mood.
  5. Pack earplugs or noise canceling headphones. You can’t change how close you are to fellow passengers, but you can create a noise buffer so that you’re not forced to overhear their movie, music, or conversation.

Coach travel may not have the same perks and comfort as one of the fully-reclining seats in first class, but that doesn’t mean you need to suffer either. Follow these tips and you can easily manage any coach flight you take.

How do you ensure that you’re comfortable during coach travel? Do you do anything special or take any special steps? Share them with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Vincent Desjardins (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

Stash Your Bags With this London-based Startup, CityStasher

November 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

They say necessity is the mother of invention. But little did Matt Majewski know that his need to store his suitcases at a friend’s house while taking a long weekend to attend a friend’s bachelor party would become the seed for an up-and-coming niche business, CityStasher.

Majewski’s friend (and fellow founder) Anthony Collias told him he’d happily store his bags for the weekend, but he’d have to charge him. That tongue-in-cheek quip was a moment of realization: perhaps other travelers were in need of short-term storage for their bags as well, and CityStasher was born.

If it’s your last day in England and you want to tour the sites of London before you catch your flight but after you’ve checked out of your hotel or Airbnb, you certainly don’t want to lug your luggage from the Tube to the Tower of London to the London Eye all day. CityStasher allows travelers to leave their luggage in a locked room at one of its 60 StashPoints around the city.

CityStasher home page screenshot

CityStasher’s StashPoints, located in independent businesses and other establishments that boast long hours of operation, are vetted to meet the following criteria: they have close-captioned TV surveillance, a locked room for the bags, and have long hours of operation for easy drop-off and pick-up. Each bag is insured for 750 pounds, close to $1,000 USD. The cost to stash your bag? 4 pounds for the first 3 hours, 6 pounds for 3 to 24 hours, and an additional 5 pounds for every 24 hours after that.

Proprietors have been incentivized to become storage sites by the prospect of redeploy an existing asset into a profit sharing investment. The StashPoint operators do have the right to search the luggage in the presence of its owner before attaching the security tag to the bag and agreeing to store it.

According to Jacob Wedderburn-Day, the company’s third founder, CityStasher hasn’t had any incidents with the contents of any of the nearly 25,000 bags it has stored since it began operating in 2015.

CityStasher operates in 18 cities across the United Kingdom, and in Amsterdam, after being sought out by a business there. The company is seeking investors to bring CityStasher to popular weekend destination cities across Europe.

Would you pay to store your baggage for a few hours before a flight? Or would you just lug it around to save money? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Five Ways to Pare Down Your Briefcase

September 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Some business travelers might as well call themselves pack mules with the amount of weight they lug through airports in their briefcases. I’ve seen people carry briefcases that weigh as much as their carry-ons. The bags are filled with binders, folders, and loose papers. It’s enough to make an organizational expert run screaming from the room.

The problem is that a cluttered workplace clutters your mind. Not only is it hard to find anything, but it creates a sense of stress as well as its own inefficiencies.

But with some simple planning and strategizing, your briefcase doesn’t have to create additional strain on your body. We’ve come up with five ways business travelers can streamline the contents of their briefcase for travel. You may end up with so little in it, you might be able to leave it at home!

Crew Executive Choice 2 Briefcase with phone charger. Ideal for business travelers

Crew Executive Choice 2 Briefcase with phone charger

1. Unload everything from your briefcase and eliminate all non-essential clutter. Extra cables, extra equipment (could get by with a tablet instead of a laptop), and extra paper. How many pens and pencils do you need? If you have more than two, that’s too many. Put your loose cables into a small bag or cord organizer. Rather than treating your briefcase as a repository of “just in case” materials, try to plan ahead better so you’re not carrying a lot of extra stuff.
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Business Travelers Need Smaller Carry-On Luggage on Regional Jets

August 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Not all business travelers jet off to major cities or other countries. Many business travelers have clients in smaller cities, and that means that if you travel by air, it’ll most likely be via a regional jet.

There’s nothing wrong with regional jets, except when it comes to overhead and under seat storage space for carry-on luggage. You can determine if your plane will be a regional jet simply by entering your flight number on SeatGuru. The overhead bin size will be specified in the data about the plane. Most will accommodate bags up to 18″x14″x7″.

If you normally fly via these types of aircraft, your more traditional carry-on luggage gets gate-checked for plane side retrieval. While setup doesn’t require you to trek to the baggage claim, you may end up waiting several minutes for your luggage to re-emerge. Nothing wrong with that, unless you need to make a tight connection. In that case, you might consider investigating smaller carry-on luggage instead.

Travelpro has a wide variety of bags that will increase your chances of avoiding gate check and still provide you with many options for traveling with your business and personal essentials.
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Business Travelers Can Continue to Carry Laptops in their Carry-On Luggage

July 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The United States Department of Homeland Security has ended a four month ban on laptops in carry-on luggage on U.S. bound flights from the Middle East and North Africa. The ban was originally enacted because terrorism experts were concerned that explosives could be concealed in electronics as large as laptops and mobile tablets. It affected ten airports and nine airlines that are based in the Middle East.

The King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia was the final airport to have the ban lifted, after they and the other airlines and airports implemented new security measures designed to check for explosives in the large electronics.

Officials visited the ten airports in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, and confirmed that the security measures were in place.
Business travelers on Etihad Airways and other Middle East airlines were concerned about a laptop ban.
The airports originally affected include Amman, Jordan; Cairo, Egypt; Istanbul, Turkey; Jeddah, Saudia Arabia; Riyadh, Saudia Arabia; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; Dubai, UAE; and Abu Dhabi, UAE. The carriers most heavily impacted by this ban were Egyptair, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, Saudia, and Turkish Airlines.
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Top 5 Alternatives if the Laptop Ban Goes Into Effect

July 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you’re attached to your laptop with an emotional umbilical cord, you may need to plan how you’re going to survive the separation that may be forced upon us all if the Department of Homeland Security’s current laptop ban is broadened to include more U.S. bound flights from more Middle East and European countries.

In March, the U.S. banned laptops on flights to the U.S. from 10 airports in eight countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey to prevent bombs from being taken aboard flights inside laptop computers. They nearly expanded it to all U.S.-bound flights, but have instead created some additional security screen protocols instead.

But if you’re still coming from one of the check-your-laptop countries, you’re going to be without your laptop for a long stretch of time. So here are some ways to survive those laptop-less flights, especially with your mobile phone. (Because tablets are included in the laptop  ban too.)

You could just carry a couple books with you if there's ever a laptop ban. Read more

New Warning about Luggage Tags

June 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

As if air travelers don’t have enough things to keep track of when navigating an airport terminal, a recent report now suggests you need to be aware of potential hackers trying to access your flight reservations and other private information from your seemingly innocuous luggage tag.

The six-digit identification number located on your boarding pass, as well as on the accompanying luggage tag of your checked bags, is all a hacker needs to access all kinds of personal information — your email address, your phone number, your address — as well as your flight itinerary and frequent flier account.

This has become such a target-rich code for hackers because the airlines’ global reservation systems are antiquated and vulnerable. Put in place in the 1960s, their software coding does not account for personal privacy laws that have been instituted since that time.
Don't share photos of your airline luggage tags on social media -- the bar code is readable and contains a lot of personal information.
Since the onus is on the traveler to be alert and protected, here are a few suggestions to stop would-be hackers:

  1. Don’t post your boarding pass on social media. Hackers know our tendency to unwittingly overshare, so all they have to do is Google “boarding pass images” to reap a harvest.
  2. Consider only using a virtual boarding pass that comes to your email and uses a scannable image to get you through TSA. If you aren’t carrying a physical record that can be misplaced, lost, or captured by a hacker with a cell phone who takes a picture of what you’re carrying in your hand for anyone to see, your personal data is safer.
  3. Create complex passwords for your data so that if someone gets your information, they don’t have easy access. There are numerous apps available that create random, unique, strong passwords that are difficult to hack. The days of using one password for everything are over.
  4. Take your boarding pass when you exit the plane. Don’t stash it in the seat pocket in front of you. Doing so leaves that valuable code accessible to anyone who happens to find it.

Travel safety involves more than using a money belt or backing up valuable data before you leave. It also means taking steps to avoid getting hacked, even on something as simple as a boarding pass.

What are some extra security steps you take to protect yourself? Do you have any special tricks or even gadgets that you like to use, such as an RFID-blocking wallet? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Tony Webster (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 4.0)

Travel Top Five: Tips for Traveling Light

February 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The ability to travel light seems to be the golden ring every business traveler is reaching for. Some have the knack for it, while others struggle. Here are a few tips to help you choose what to bring with you on your next trip. For the purposes of this article, we’re assuming you want to avoid baggage fees, skip the luggage carousel, and be in control of your experience from start to finish.

Number one, truly, is plan what you’re going to wear and stick to it. You may think you need an extra outfit for a special occasion, but unless you’re attending a formal event that requires certain attire, you can pretty much wear anything else you’ve planned and it’s going to be sufficient. If you want to be successful at traveling light, take a hard look at what you must have versus what would be nice to have. Then keep the former and leave the latter.

Platinum Magna 2 - International Carry-on Spinner - Ideal for traveling light

Platinum Magna 2 International Carry-on Spinner

Next, learn the art of packing by color family or using neutrals interchangeably. For example, if you know you need to dress warmly where you’re going, choose your favorite sweater that’s appropriate for all the engagements you have. If said sweater is navy, then everything else you pack should coordinate with navy. Creating an entire week’s worth of outfits using black, white, and khaki is another option that lets you mix and match without looking like you’re wearing the same clothes over and over again. Trust us, no one will notice.
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Secrets to Making Your Travel Safe From Cyber Attacks

January 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

There are two schools of thought regarding cyber attacks: everyone’s at risk and I’m too small for anyone to tap. One is smart thinking, the other is dangerous.

According to Jeff Moss, founder of Black Hat and Def Con, two of the world’s foremost conferences on hacking and information security, and an advisor to the Department of Homeland Security, you’re better off assuming the first than believing the second. Here’s his advice for protecting yourself from cyber threats while traveling.

Cyber attacks happening in real time on Norse Attacks map.

Cyber attacks happening in real time on Norse Attacks map.

Use your passport instead of your driver’s license when asked to provide identification. The driver’s license, according to Moss, contains too much information, specifically your address and descriptive features like weight, height, sex, and eye color, that can be used against you if obtained by a hacker.

Don’t leave your devices unattended. While most people assume their hotel room is secure because of the lock on the door, Moss doesn’t feel comfortable with the risk unless his laptop’s hard drive is fully encrypted. He doesn’t want to give anyone access to sensitive, proprietary data should the computer be stolen while he’s away from the room.
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