TSA May Require Additional Screening for Additional Items at Airport

July 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

As if we weren’t already in the throes of the busiest season for traveling, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that it might require more items to be removed from your carry-on luggage during screening. For the past 18 months, TSA has been testing how to make it easier for its officers to consistently view what’s in the bags they screen daily.

According to Wall Street Journal “Middle Seat” columnist Scott McCartney, the X-ray machine color codes the items inside the bag based on the density, and the more tightly packed the bag is, the harder it is for all its contents to be identified. That makes it difficult for screeners to identify the items within the bag.
TSA Bag Check
TSA officials have been considering having all electronics, food, and paper added to the list of items that must come out of every carry-on during screening. Why food? Certain items, such as chocolate, are dense and mimic the shape of explosives, often creating the necessity of a second look, just to be sure. Paper, including books and notepads, obscures other things, forcing the screener to tag a bag for a manual check that slows the line.

If you haven’t heard us sing its praises before, all these measures give us another reason to urge frequent travelers to invest in TSA’s Precheck. According to the TSA, the removal of these additional items would only apply in regular screening lines.

What should you do if you can’t afford Precheck and want to make sure your bag doesn’t get tagged for a manual search? Think through your packing strategy and be organized.

Store items that you already know need to be removed in the easy-to-access exterior pockets of your luggage. Consider electing to pull out that special chocolate bar you purchased at a gourmet shop as a souvenir so that it can be screened in plain sight in a separate bin with your jacket or shoes. Have a specific place you always store that favorite book or notepad you plan to use to help you pass the time onboard.

While these additional items haven’t been added to the official list, thoughtful packing before you arrive at the airport will help you develop a few habits that could save you some time and avoid unwanted hassle if the list is expanded.

How will these new rules, if they go through, affect you? Are you an electronics-only traveler, or do you carry a lot of paper and food as well? Let us hear from you in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Bradley Gordon (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Business Travelers Rejoice! Global In-Flight Wifi Connectivity Growing in 2017

July 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Years ago, business travelers used to love or hate their flights. It was either a much-needed escape or a stint in solitary confinement. Like it or not, you were unreachable for the duration of your flight. No phones, no wifi, no Internet. If you didn’t bring out some printouts or reports to read, you didn’t have anything to work on.

Now, apart from the smaller seats, you can function as if you never left your office at all.

According to Routehappy’s 2017 wifi report, Global State of In-Flight Wifi, there is more in-flight connectivity than there has ever been. They found that 39 percent of global flights and 83 percent of U.S. flights’ actual seat miles — miles flown multiplied by the number of available seats — offer wifi connectivity as an amenity. There are also 60 airlines worldwide that now offer in-flight wifi over most regions of the globe.
Business travelers will be able to use their wifi enabled cell phones more in 2017. This is a man texting on a plane.
“2016 was the year that airlines outside the U.S. committed to high-quality, in-flight wifi at a rate only previously seen by U.S. carriers, and 2017 will see those commitments come to life,” Routehappy CEO Robert Albert said in a Business Travel News article.

Three carriers boasted the highest wifi availability: Delta, United Airlines, and Emirates. Only one US carrier, Virgin Airlines, was able to claim 100 percent availability on all its flights.

This bodes well for customers of Alaska Airlines, which acquired Virgin in December 2016. Meanwhile, JetBlue had just completed retrofitting all its planes with wifi service, but it is only available on its flights across the continental US.

While wifi connectivity is more and more prevalent on US and international flights, making the best use of it still requires a bit of planning. Downloading documents or entertainment options at home, such as podcasts or television episodes, before you fly will increase the speed at which you can access them while connected to your flight’s wifi system.

Business travelers, how important is wifi to your in-flight productivity? And will you pay for it, or only use it if it’s free? And will it be just as important to have on the flights that fall under the laptop ban? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Tom Woodward (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Survive the Hot Summer During Business Travels

July 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

We’re experiencing a hotter summer than normal, at least down here in southern Florida (although friends and colleagues around the country are telling me they’re feeling the heat too. There were even 120+ degree days in Phoenix in late June!)

As many people are traveling all over the country for a variety of reasons, especially from not-so-hot places to very-hot places, it’s harder to survive and maintain a sense of style without getting sweaty and rumpled. So here are some ways we do things in southern Florida to survive the heat, and these might help you on your business travels.
Photo of the setting sun on a city landscape. Business travels are hard when it's hot outside.

  • Adjust your schedule. If you travel by car to meet clients, arrange for early morning meetings so that you can arrive the night before or drive in the pre-dawn hours when the sun is not baking the highway. And don’t forget to use sunshades once you’ve stopped. They may not seem important up north, but here in Florida, you can really cook your car without them. Remember, you may be transporting your meeting partners to lunch, and nobody wants to ride in a hot car.
  • Invest in lightweight clothing. Even business attire has seasons and — at least for men — purchasing a suit in linen, cotton, seersucker, chambray, or fresco wool will help you arrive at your meeting looking fresh, not wilted. Don’t sit, either in a car or on a plane, in your suit jacket. Hang it on a hanger in the backseat or stow it in the overhead bin so that it isn’t wrinkled when you’re trying to make that crucial first impression. Consider rotating out your cotton undergarments and socks for those made with lightweight wicking fabrics. You can find them on websites that sell athletic gear and travel clothing.
  • Drink water. You knew that would be on the list, didn’t you? Did you know that choosing water over other beverages actually assists in lowering your body temperature in ways soft drinks, coffee (even iced), and alcohol can’t? Packing a cooler with water bottles if you drive, or stowing an empty water bottle in your backpack that you can fill at the office water fountain will allow you to grab and go and not pay more than you need to at a convenience store.
  • Purchase a small fan that can move the air around while you’re sitting at your desk. Electronics such as laptops and towers and even overhead lighting emit heat. Keeping the air circulating will help you stay focused on the tasks at hand, not the environment.
  • Make wise food choices. While eating hot, spicy food is a method for surviving soaring temperatures in some parts of the world, it works because it encourages perspiring. Not something you want to be doing when entertaining clients at dinner! Lighter fare is easier to digest and leaves you feeling less sluggish.

Doing some advance planning and making good choices will allow you thrive this summer’s business travels. What’s your favorite way to stay cool in the summer? Leave us a comment and share your secret! You can do it on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: rogeriomda (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0, Public Domain)

How to Prioritize Working Out While on a Business Trip

July 4, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Traveling can suck the life out of you. While it may seem crazy to think about adding something else to your seemingly already-too-full schedule while you’re on a business trip, choosing to pound the pavement or hit the gym or find your zen really can help. Exercise can restore focus, alleviate stress, boost your endorphins, and improve your sleep. Motivated now? Okay, here are a few ways to incorporate working out into those days away from home.

Plan ahead. If you’re already in the habit of working out and want to maintain your routine, the solution is simple: adjust your schedule and make the time. It may mean getting up 30 minutes earlier and making space in your luggage for your running shoes, but putting it on the calendar will give you a better shot at actually following through than if you just think you’ll fit it in “at some point.”

People jogging in Frankfurt am Mein. Could be on a business trip, or they could just live there. We don't know.

Jogging is a great way to work out on a business trip. All you need are your running shoes and workout clothes.

If you aren’t a regular exerciser, there’s no time like the present to seize the opportunities that present themselves. Let’s start at the airport. Walking between security and your gate instead of taking the train will help you stretch your legs and increase your heart rate without sweating. Those moving sidewalks can be walked on too, but don’t look at your phone while doing so. Better yet, skip the moving sidewalk and count the extra steps. (Make sure you have a good step counter on your mobile phone to keep track.)

Once you arrive at your hotel, take the stairs to and from your room, and consider checking with the front desk for dining establishments within walking distance. You might even go one step further (pun intended) and choose the location of your hotel so that you can walk to your appointments.

If you belong to a gym at home, check its website to see if there’s a location in the city you’re visiting. You know those workout rooms you’ve seen signs for or walked past on your way somewhere in the hotel? Those places actually exist and would allow you to walk or run on a treadmill or pump your legs on a stationary bike.

Swimming is also great exercise, and a swimsuit and goggles don’t take up much room in your suitcase, and your workout is only limited by the pool’s hours of operation. Investigate options for joining a class at a local yoga studio or find a mobile website or app that will provide a stretching routine you can do on the floor in your hotel room. You can also take a travel-sized yoga mat, and some higher-end hotels even provide them for guests. Do this before bed to encourage your mind to let go and wind down for the day.

Working out requires intentionality and perseverance. To help you work toward the achievement of a health goal, think about signing up for a race or setting a few goals using a fitness tracker like Fitbit, Leaf, or Misfit Shine. As Nike has been urging for nearly 30 years now, just do it. Your trip will be healthier, feel more productive, and you won’t be upset you missed those days when you get back into your routine at home.

How do you prioritize working out on your business trip? Do you maintain your same discipline on the road that you do at home, or are those a few much-needed rest days? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Robert Strauss (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

A Healthier Approach to Business Travel

June 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

While the stresses of business travel on the body and the mind have been well-documented, some of you may not be paying attention to some bad habits you’ve developed as a frequent traveler.

When we travel for business, we often look at the efficient use of our time as the benchmark to determine a trip’s success. But if you don’t factor in the extra time you spend preparing for those meetings, as well as the pressure you feel to make a great impression or close an important sale, you’re not putting yourself in the best situation to succeed.

What if, instead, you flew in a little earlier so you could give your body time to adjust to the time difference, or even experience a little down time? You might find that extra time refreshes you and reinvigorates your approach to the meeting at hand.

Hotel room in the Renaissance Columbus, OH

Be sure to get plenty of rest while you travel for business.

Prep time isn’t just completing a checklist to ensure you have everything you need before you leave. It’s psychological as well. If you don’t allow yourself the time necessary to prepare mentally — which includes getting sufficient rest — your preparation isn’t complete.

Further, when we travel, our eating discipline might also be challenged. There’s fast food whenever we need something quick, or large portions and rich foods at nicer restaurants. We’re often expected to wine and dine our clients and create an experience for them that communicates how much your employer values them.

If you go into that dinner without giving any thought to the effect the heavy food and alcohol intake will have on your body and your ability to sleep well, you’re also setting yourself up for a difficult morning after, when you’re under pressure to perform your best.

Stress, lack of adequate, restorative sleep, and poor eating all take their toll on business travelers. What if you decided to create a new game plan for your travel that would allow you to treat your body and mind well?

Consider factoring in more time to get from point A to point B, instead of creating a rushed pace. Be mindful of the prep time you need in order to function well. And do whatever you need to perform at your best. That may mean saying no to an unnecessary dinner out and working out at the hotel fitness center, or being careful about what you eat, knowing that sugar tends to stimulate the brain instead of calming it. If you have certain habits that calm your mind and center your soul at home, don’t neglect those practices while you’re traveling.

If you approach business travel with discipline and healthy habits to follow, you’ll be able to accomplish more and the recovery time afterward will decrease.

How do you travel for business? Do you maintain your same discipline on the road that you do at home, or is that a mini break and a special treat for yourself? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: David Jensen (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

Five Tips for Surviving Your Next Business Trip

June 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Sure, a business trip is all about getting work done, and you may have built-in companions for your down time, but that doesn’t mean your next trip has to be all work and no play.

You know what they say about that, and nobody wants to be “dull.” We recently wrote about how John Greathouse, the creator of GoToMeeting, became a fan of spending a least half a day of each business trip finding something enjoyable to do. It changed his whole outlook on his business travel, and he began to see some sights and landmarks while he was traveling around the world.

There are a few other things you should do to make sure you and your traveling companions are getting everything out of your next trip.

  1. Plan carefully. When traveling with a group of colleagues, avoiding hurdles hinges on everyone knowing what to expect: what hotel you’ll be staying at, what the agenda is, how you’ll get from point A to point B once you arrive, and whether everyone should carry on or check their bags. Plan those details, and then share them with everyone in advance.
  2. Pack smart. Earplugs might help you sleep with a snoring roommate, and headphones on a flight are an international sign for “I don’t want to talk right now.” If you know you’ll have a layover, pack a paperback or a deck of cards to help pass the time.
  3. Dress for Success. This should go without saying, but if everyone isn’t aware of the travel itinerary, someone might show up dressed casually instead of being prepared to meet clients directly after deplaning. Don’t let that someone be you or anyone on your team. And if you’re going to be sharing a room, don’t rely on the hotel supplying a robe. Pack your own or pajamas so that your roommate isn’t subjected to you being unprepared for the situation. Nobody signed up for that on a business trip.
  4. Schedule Fun. We know a professional speaker who makes a point to visit a restaurant suggested by the locals.This looks like a nice place to eat on a business trip. Better than most hotel restaurants. She calls this her “Tour de Tastebuds.” She will take her assistant and someone from the event planning team to the recommended place, rating it for atmosphere, taste, and how it made them feel. Every city has something it’s known for. Give your teammates a taste of the locale by planning a small excursion of this type in your downtime.
  5. Choose Your Attitude. We’ve all heard the old adage, “Whatever can go wrong, will,” but don’t be overly nervous. You can’t anticipate everything even in a well-planned trip, so remember to pack your best attitude and be flexible. Control what you can and adapt as needed. Don’t be that one member of the group who whines and complains. That only makes the trip less fun, and you don’t want to be labeled as The Spoiler.

What kind of group travel stories do you have to share? Good ones, or some travel horror stories?Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Inkflo (Pixabay, Creative Commons)

One Thing That Makes Business Travel More Enjoyable

June 8, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

Over the last few years, we’ve written about how to cope with the rigors of business travel. We’ve documented the negative physical, psychological, and emotional stresses, and suggested ways to change your approach so that you are better prepared, not only to make the most of it, but to recover quickly after it. But it’s still travel, and those who travel even once a month know business travel can be rough.

But if your travel schedule exhausts you, imagine being John Greathouse, the start-up entrepreneur behind GoToMeeting and other successful new businesses. He shared in a Forbes article how he would travel without any margin for error or rest, often flying a red-eye to a foreign country to visit a client, only to arrive and go directly into a full day of meetings that didn’t end until after a late dinner.
Skyline of Paris, France at night. Imagine a business travel trip like this!
When he would arrive home, friends would ask him what he saw in well-known destinations such as Paris. He would proudly declare that he only saw the airport, the sites where he met his clients, the interior of cabs, and hotel rooms. He realized he was, a “proud, yet pathetic, road warrior.”

Although he made Herculean efforts to remain committed to his family — often flying overseas just for a weekend at home with his wife and kids — he realized he was sacrificing opportunities for the sake of doing business efficiently. He had visited dozens of countries and had no memories other than those related to work. He knew he had to change.

He found himself inspired to become a part-time tourist while on his business trips by taking a cue from professional surfer Shaun Tomson. As detailed in an article on inertia.com, Tomson was headed to Milwaukee, not exactly a surfing mecca, to share the themes of his book, The Code: The Power of “I Will”, with some corporate execs.

Here’s where Tomson’s approach diverted from Greathouse’s. Instead of trying to squeeze as much business from each city he visits, he asks himself, “What can I do to make this business trip more rewarding?”

For Tomson, that meant Googling “surf shops in Milwaukee” and contacting the shocked owner of Lake Effect Surf Shop, Jacob Bresette, and asking if he could stop by. That call resulted in an impromptu surfing outing in frigid waters with some fellow enthusiasts, and Tomson’s first experience with freshwater waves.

Tomson recounted, “The waves weren’t stellar, but it was still an epic session for me because the stoke level was off the charts. Here I was in Middle America, surfing with guys who brave frigid conditions to partake in the sport I love. They thanked me for stopping by, but the truth is, I was the one who felt honored.”

Greathouse has taken Tomson’s approach to heart and suggests others do too. When you plan your next business trip, remember that there’s more to experience there than the closing of a deal. Perhaps you could meet up with some people in that town who also share a hobby, or schedule some quiet moments of reflection and engagement with the beauty of a park or a museum. In Tomson’s case, his efforts also led to increased book sales and improving his personal brand. Plus, he got to have a little fun.

When your whole person is engaged in business travel, all aspects of it — even those related to the business you’re there to conduct — will be enriched.

How do you travel for business? Are you in and out as quickly as possible, or do you look for future experiences and memories? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Jim Trodel (Flikr, Creative Commons 2.0)

Smaller Airports Gain Attention of international Carriers

June 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you’re planning your summer overseas vacation, you may be surprised to discover you have new options for flying out of a smaller regional airport closer to home. According to Brian Pearce, chief economist and director of the International Air Transport Association, 700 routes have been added in the past year.

The increased numbers of people traveling, the entrance of new low-cost carriers bringing long-haul flights to consumers, and the frustration with congestion at bigger airports have fueled the upsurge in offerings at smaller airports, John Grant, senior analyst with OAG, told the New York Times.

While most of the new airports with international offerings are in the U.S., carriers have increased their fight options in European and Asian markets as well. This provides travelers with a larger selection for segmented travel while overseas as well.

What has made this a profitable consideration for the airlines? The manufacturing of mid-size aircraft with better fuel efficiency. Since 2012, Boeing and Airbus have found markets for their smaller medium- and long-range planes with carriers looking to expand their offerings between smaller cities.

Norwegian Air is hoping their 737s will give them access to new airports. (That's Henrik Ibsen on the tail.)

Norwegian Air is hoping their 737s will give them access to new airports. (That’s Henrik Ibsen on the tail.)

Norwegian Airlines is banking on the addition of Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft to increase its route map. The seating configuration can be customized to seat between 100 to 230 seats. “The Max, that’s a single aisle that can fly on routes to secondary cities,” Bjorn Kros, Norwegian’s CEO, told the New York Times. “You will see a lot of low fares and a new segment of people start flying.”

Airlines are also finding smaller cities attractive because of the savings in ground costs. Hotel costs for crew, landing fees, and fuel costs are lower at smaller airports than at the bigger ones. Travelers also save because their costs — like car rental and parking — are lower too.

Airports are also using data about the travel costs of companies in their cities. For example, Hartford, Conn. airport officials showed Aer Lingus how 23 of Hartford’s business were spending $40 million on trans-Atlantic flights every year. So Aer Lingus has begun daily flights to and from Bradley International Airport.

If people can get to their events a few hours faster, rather than traveling an additional two or three hours to fly out of a major airport, everyone wins.

Finally, passengers benefit from these new routes because it’s a lot less hassle when flying from a smaller airport. Security lines move quicker, customs and immigration lines are shorter, and baggage is claimed faster. Who wouldn’t want those benefits if they could get them?

Do you fly out of regional airports or battle your way through the larger ones? Do you have any preferences? Share them in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Arpingstone (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

Travel Top Five: Traveling in Comfort

February 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Over the years, we’ve talked about traveling light, being efficient, and not taking things you can live without. But that doesn’t mean living a spartan, uncomfortable existence, where you can’t wait for your trip to be over. We still want you to be comfortable.

Everyone has personal standards for comfort. For some, it’s their pillow from home, or wearing their favorite jeans. Often, business travelers have certain standards and efficiencies they should maintain, so curling up on the plane in sweatpants with a pillow is probably not a good idea.

Here are five ways you can be more comfortable when you travel, without looking too out of place or sacrificing packing space and efficiency.

Let’s start with shoes. You’ll be on your feet — through security, through the terminal, through the parking lot, and through the lobby to your client — a good bit of the day. The best way to stay comfortable is to invest in comfort that will carry you, literally, through your trip: get a pair of walking shoes. There are plenty of stylish options that look just as professional, and your feet will thank you.
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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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