Travel Top Five: Lowering Your Ride Sharing Costs

January 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

With the steadily increasing popularity of Uber and Lyft, it seems ride sharing is becoming a popular mode of transportation for business travel. If you rely on it regularly, what are the best ways to save money? We’ve done some research and here’s what we found:

Booking in advance allows you to secure a ride when you need it, instead of waiting when you’d really rather be on your way. You’ll save money by scheduling your ride when you know it’s not rush hour. If you use Lyft, scheduling locks in your fare; Uber doesn’t offer that feature.
A Lyft ride sharing vehicle in Santa Monica, CA
Search online for coupons. Both companies are competing for customers, so do a little poking around on either company’s official site or at sites like Groupon. Uber offers free rides for those who refer a friend who downloads the app, so if you’re traveling with a friend, have him or her download the app with your referral link, and you can both get a free ride to wherever you’re going.

Avoid traveling during surges. Fares are adjusted automatically, based on demand. For example, prices soar after events because of the demand for drivers, so if you can wait, the cost will drop. Don’t think you’ll get the average fare for a trip you’ve taken before if you’re among the throngs waiting for a ride.
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What to do If Your Flight is Canceled

January 9, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s every weary traveler’s nightmare scenario: the flight you’re supposed to be on is canceled. What you do next will determine whether your day is totally ruined or ultimately redeemed. Not every situation can be remedied, but knowing a few action steps can make all the difference in getting you to your destination.

Get on the phone.

The faster you get on the phone with the airline to rebook your flight, the better your chances are of making it to your final destination. It’ll do you little good to stand in the long line with everyone else who’s waiting to speak with the ticket agent at the gate. Tip: If you feel like talking to a gate agent, go to another gate of the same airline where a flight recently left. They’re all plugged into the same system, and can do just as much for you as your original gate’s agent.

If your flight is canceled, there are a few options for you, if you act fast.

Adjust your itinerary.

Be sure to have some alternatives in mind, because the agents don’t always know the destination region where you’re flying. For example, you may not be able to get into Chicago due to weather, but if Chicago is your final destination, you could reroute through Milwaukee or even Indianapolis and be within driving distance of the Windy City. Thinking through your options and presenting them to whomever you’re working with to rebook your flight will let the agent know you’re flexible.
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Chip Technology Keeps Checked Luggage in Check

January 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

We’ve reported here before about the increased use of RFID chips in checked luggage and luggage tags to tilt the odds that your bag will arrive with you at your final destination in your favor. There have been new innovations in the effort to reduce lost bags, this time from Delta. Once you see what they’ve been doing, you may never look at those little paper baggage tags the same again.

This year, Delta has implemented RFID technology into its complimentary baggage tags, eliminating the possibility of a bag being unscanned due to a smudged, wrinkled, torn, or obscured tag. Now, in every airport where Delta operates, its bags only need to be be in proximity to the radio scanners to be accounted for. As with the older tags, fliers can track their checked bags using Delta’s mobile app.

Delta Airlines demonstrates its RFID system on a piece of checked luggageImplementing these kinds of changes can be costly and disruptive because they require infrastructure adjustments. While some airports, such as Las Vegas’ McCarren International Airport, have been using RFID for over a decade, any new tracking system is typically the responsibility of the individual airline.

Delta spent $50 million on the system, which included scanners, printers, and said tags. Widespread use of these types of tags has been slow to come online in the airline industry, according to the International Air Travel Association. But the deadline for all 265 member airlines to be able to fully track and trace all bags is 2018. And the system is expected to work, not only on an airline’s own flights, but also connecting flights with another carrier.
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What to Do if Your Mobile Phone is Lost or Stolen

January 4, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s our worst nightmare: you’re traveling and your phone is either lost or stolen. What’s the first thing you should do? According to Asurion, a technology solutions company, 19 million people have had this happen. If you find yourself in this situation, here’s what you can do.

First, try calling or texting your phone. If you’ve lost it, the device may have been found by someone honest. If you’re traveling with someone, you can use their contact information to request a call back, or you can leave the number of the front desk at your hotel and follow up later in the day. Your lock screen will display your most recent text, so send a short message to your phone and hope your Good Samaritan will see it and call you back.

Mobile phone being used by a woman with red painted fingernailsBe sure your phone’s “find my phone” feature is activated. This will enable you to discover its location for retrieval and if you share your account with other users, they too can see the device’s location. Unfortunately, if the phone is powered down, this feature doesn’t work.

Be sure your lock screen is enabled. It may seem like a pain to have to authenticate yourself with your fingerprint or a code every time your phone lapses into sleep mode, but it protects your valuable data. Apple’s lock mode will allow you to access your device remotely and either disable it or display a custom message. It also allows you to disable ApplePay.
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Prepare Your Phone for Your Next International Trip

January 2, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Preparing for an international trip with your mobile phone requires research and planning. Get off the plane and just start using it, and you’ll be hit with a variety of fees and roaming charges, easily racking up several hundred dollars in a single week.

Whether you need the ability to call or just the ability to access data and text, the following tips will help you utilize your device to its fullest while keeping overall costs down.

Know your phone and your plan

All phones use either GSM (Global System for Mobiles) or CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) as their radio systems to communicate with cell towers. GSM phones are unlocked and can be used with any carrier, while CDMA phones are locked to a specific carrier.

Business travelers have a few hacks they could use to help save money on their next international trip.

Read through your plan to make sure you know what the charges will be for international use, or if you’ll even be able to use your phone while abroad. If you have a GSM phone, you can switch out your SIM card with one in the country you’re visiting (more on that later). Otherwise, you may be able to purchase a temporary plan through your carrier.

If you have a CDMA phone, you may want to buy a pay-as-you-go phone once you arrive in your destination country.
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This Travel Scam Hacks Your Phone

December 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

File this under the category “Now We’ve Heard Everything.” According to an article in Smarter Travel, the latest scam to target travelers involves what’s called “juice-jacking.” Travelers desperate for a charge plug into a public charging station that, unbeknownst to them, is masquerading as a data port to steal their phone’s private and personal data.

Once a phone is connected to the station, everything on the device is downloadable: passwords, photos, emails, messages, bank account information. Worse yet, additional malware might also be infecting the device. How can you protect yourself against this new hacking method?

Using a battery pack instead of an almost-too-convenient charging station can help you avoid the juice-jacking travel scam.

Using a battery pack instead of an almost-too-convenient charging station can help you avoid the juice-jacking travel scam.

For one thing, be wary of public USB-friendly charging stations. There’s a chance that it’s a bogus charging station, and instead of just charging your batteries, you could give hackers access to your mobile device.

Instead, always travel with your own power pack. Some of our new Crew™ 11 Carry-on models feature a built-in battery pocket and external USB port. No more digging for your accessories or relying on potentially unsafe charging stations. Just plug your battery into the internal charging USB cord, and then plug your normal charging cord into the port on the back of your luggage.
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Road Warrior Tips: Managing Electronics and Battery Life

December 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s a road warrior’s constant battle, managing battery life. We all rely on our phones and tablets to provide information and entertainment while we’re on the go. Following these simple tips will help you enjoy your travel instead of worrying about when the red battery icon will appear.

Travelpro Crew 11 USB Port

The Crew 11’s built-in power port is a great way to keep your mobile devices powered up and ready to go.

  • Investigate the different online storage platforms available and choose one place to access your documents and pictures. Apple supports iCloud, Google has Google Drive, and Dropbox is a third party provider that works on all platforms. Evernote is another cross-device, cross-platform option.
  • Before you leave, download any new apps you might need, like a currency converter if you’re going overseas, or a maps app or guidebook that will help you navigate a new city. You’ll not only save battery life, you’ll conserve data by planning ahead. Read more

6 Sneaky Smartphone Hacks for Business Travelers

December 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

There are some things in life business travelers just can’t change, but for almost everything else there’s a hack. These tips for making your smartphone work for you should make your life easier and avoid some hassles.

Business travelers have a few hacks they could use to help save money and make their travels a little easier.

Switch SIM cards when traveling abroad. You don’t have to accept exorbitant charges from your cell phone provider just because you’re seeing the world. Simply by switching out your SIM card (provided you have an unlocked phone), you can control how you use your device, whether it’s just for data and texts or only for emergency calls. I know some business travelers who will even have a mobile phone they use for that particular country. But if you don’t want to deal with that, ask your mobile phone provider for a model of phone that lets you swap out SIM cards.

Instead of relying on access to data in order to navigate through an unknown city, download apps that function offline or take screenshots of the map you will need.
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Workaholic Americans Impacting Economy by not Vacationing

December 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Americans wasted 658 million vacation days in 2015.

That’s nearly 2.2 vacation days for every person in the United States. According to Project Time Off, this is the highest number of vacation days they have ever seen.

A nice beach getaway makes a great vacation.

A nice beach getaway makes a great vacation.

More than half of American workers (55%) left vacation time unused in 2015. This adds up to 658 million unused vacation days. It is the highest number Project: Time Off has ever reported, far exceeding the previous 429 million count.

That’s unacceptable. Our bosses may love our commitment to the job, but it’s not good for us, and it’s not good for our country.

We understand the importance of vacations and taking breaks and what it does for our bodies and minds. But did you realize that by taking time off, you could be boosting the economy?

If every American used their vacation days, a whopping $160 billion would be added to the national economy, and another $21 billion generated in taxes. Plus, 1.6 million jobs would be created.
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Short-Term Repairs for a Broken Suitcase

December 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It can happen when you least expect it or you can discover it when you’re retrieving it from the baggage carousel, but no matter how it happens, a broken suitcase has the potential to severely impact your travel experience. With a little bit of resourcefulness, you can get through your trip and back home. Here are some ways to address common problems, as well as some Travelpro® product features specially designed to help avoid on-the-road luggage disasters.

If your suitcase wheels stick, make sure there's nothing stuck in them.

If your suitcase wheels stick, check to see if anything is stuck in the housing.

If your telescoping handle sticks, apply a small amount of lubricant to literally grease the skids. See if you can track down some WD-40; if that’s not available, a little soap can help. If the handle is slightly bent, you may try manipulating it back into proper position. If it’s clearly broken, at least you have the other handles to carry the bag. An add-a-bag attachment strap, such as Travelpro® offers on many of its rolling products, would allow you to hook your broken bag onto another until you can address the issue.

If your wheels aren’t rolling smoothly, chances are there’s something stuck in them that’s inhibiting their movement. Wipe them with a damp cloth and look for anything that might be stuck in the wheel housing. If the wheels are wobbly, causing the bag not to pull straight behind you, the screws could be loose. Tighten them up – if you don’t have a screwdriver handy, call down to the front desk and ask for one. Travelpro designs its wheel systems with the frequent traveler in mind, subjecting their products to miles of rigorous testing. Our patented MagnaTrac™ Spinner wheels are self-aligning and have a specially designed housings to protect them from damage on baggage ramps and as they’re pulled over curbs and through terminals.
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