How to De-stress during Business Travel

October 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Business travel is inevitable these days, as companies hire fewer people and give them bigger territories to manage. Bigger territories translate into stress that accompanies your travel like its own baggage; if left unattended, it can lead to some serious health issues. Just because you have to be on the road doesn’t mean it has to be stressful. Here are some effective ways to de-stress on the road.

1. Your itinerary. Make it a point never to fly into a city the same day you have a meeting or are scheduled to speak at a conference. Too many things can go wrong, and when (not if) they do, you’re setting yourself up for increased anxiety and distraction. Going in the night before allows you to start the day refreshed, prepared, and organized. Feel free to fly home the same day the meeting ends, but don’t schedule your travel so tightly that you’re frazzled by the time you meet your client.

Your business travel doesn't have to be stressful. Silhouette of a man walking through an airport.2. Create a strategy for the airport. Scout out an off-site parking facility that takes reservations and provides efficient shuttle service to and from the terminal. Doing so will save you time and energy traversing the parking lots looking for a spot. Next, as if we haven’t said this enough, get TSA PreCheck. Again, time saved is mental energy gained.

3. Look for all the ways you can streamline your experience. Mark Weinstein, senior vice president and global head of customer engagement, loyalty, and partnerships at Hilton, said in an Entrepreneurship.com article, “[I choose] brands whose apps let me choose my own seat on the plane, hotel room, or type of car . . . so I join all the airport trusted traveler programs, and, whenever possible, choose a hotel that allows me to check in on my phone and use it as a room key.”

4. Set a travel budget for each trip, as well as the year. We all know that money changes everything, and aligning your expenses with your budget will help you focus on what you’re there to achieve, not on what’s flying out of your wallet. Create a plan and stick to it, and you can nip that potential worry in the bud by utilizing online price comparison sites to find affordable lodging, car rental, and dining.

5. Finally, schedule personal time during your trip. Setting boundaries — no meetings after dinner or no early-morning meetings or no email checking after a certain time of the evening — will help you feel in control of the process and afford you much-needed time to decompress, debrief, and detach. All those things are good for your health, both mental and physical.

As you travel keep this in mind: Tomorrow is another day, and each day has enough trouble of its own. Give yourself the gift of time — it’ll improve your travel, your meetings, your physical and mental health, and allow you to return home de-stressed and possibly even refreshed.

How do you de-stress during you business travel? Spring for a massage, or relax at a coffee shop after the day ends? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: RobertBMueller (Pixabay, Creative Commons 2.0)

Which is Better for Air Travel, Aisle or Window? Your Choice Says a Lot About You

October 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The debate has raged since the dawn of air travel: Which is better, the window seat or the aisle seat?

A few years ago, Expedia polled their readers to find the majority preference. The results may surprise you.

Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they prefer the window seat, while only 45 percent say they always choose the aisle seat. Almost no one wanted the middle seat. (No great surprise there.)

According to University of Washington psychology professor Jonathan Bricker, these choices say things about each traveler. Those who choose the aisle value their freedom, he said. They can get up and go to the bathroom without asking anyone. They’re also all business. This means they’re probably going to be up working or reading a book. They also tend to be claustrophobic. Proponents of this seat choice also cite access to overhead bins, the ability to get up and walk around on long-haul flights, increased legroom, and priority exiting when deplaning.

The seat you choose for your air travel says a lot about you. This is a picture of an empty SuperJet plane with blue seats and blue carpets.Those who cast their vote for the window seat value privacy, Bricker adds, and are nesters, making their own cozy space in the corner. They’re also dreamers, so chances are they’re staring out the window until they fall asleep on their pillow against the wall. These fliers also claim there’s is the superior choice because they control the window shade, are rarely asked to switch seats so family members can sit together, and aren’t inconvenienced by fellow passengers because their seat location isn’t on the way to the bathroom.

Regardless of your own preference, you can be fully informed about the options for your seat preference by using seatguru.com. Before making a reservation, choose an airline and destination, and all the flights for that day will be specified by type of aircraft. Selecting the “View Map” button allows you to see detailed seat configurations for the flight you’re considering, which will help you select just the seat for you. (Or you can just risk it and buy your ticket on your favorite airline, and then choose your seat.)

The one thing the aisle and window seat travelers agree on? Both hate the middle seat. If you’re that person who actually prefers it, Bricker says you’re most likely a “chatty Kathy,” an extrovert who likes to talk, talk, talk. Either way, you’re welcome to it.

What’s your favorite seat? Would you pay extra to know you could sit there? Or do you just buy your ticket and hope for the best? Share some stories with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: SuperJet International (Wikimedia Commons)

The Benefits of Bleisure Travel for Business Travelers

October 3, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

That proverb has a lesser-known second phrase which dates back to 1825: “All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.”

With so many people spending significant amounts of time away from home on business, family relationships can suffer. What if there was a way to bring the family along on a trip, build in some leisure time, and come back from the trip not only accomplishing your purpose but getting away as well? You can do that, and it’s called bleisure travel, a portmanteau of business + leisure. And it’s a great way to make business travel a little more enjoyable for you and your family.

Here are several ways to plan bleisure travel.

Bleisure travel can happen anywhere, but it's especially fun if you're near Orlando. This is the Geosphere at EPCOT.

Bleisure travel can happen anywhere, but it’s especially fun if you’re near Orlando. This is the Geosphere at EPCOT.

If you’re going to a popular tourist area, say Orlando, for business, the company is paying for your airfare and your hotel. Why not take your family with you? If you do that, you’re already down there, and that’s one less airline ticket you’ll buy personally. Plus, the room is already paid for, regardless of who’s in it. (If the hotel charges more for more guests, you can personally pay the difference.)

If you don’t think you’ll be able to divide your attention between work and the family, arrange for them to arrive at the end of your scheduled business and extend your stay at the hotel over the weekend or the entire week. We’re not suggesting you bill the company for those extra days, but that’s one less logistic you have to think of when planning your time away with your family.

Those who are entrepreneurs or self-employed could write off part of the expenses related to the business travel even if the family is in tow. For example, if you are representing your company at a trade show, the miles you drive to that event and the lodging costs for the days that coincide with your work can both be expensed to your business, even while your family is off doing their own thing. While you may not be able to do everything the family does due to your obligations, you can capitalize on the fact that you can meet up with them at the end of the day to share meals and have some special experiences.

Another type of bleisure travel is the “busman’s holiday.” The Oxford Dictionary defines that as “a period of holiday or leisure time spent doing something similar to one’s normal occupation.” A professional writer who attends a writer’s conference, a contractor who takes a week off work to participate in a Habitat for Humanity building project, and a travel agent who goes on a cruise so they can share their firsthand knowledge of the experience with their clients are all choosing a busman’s holiday.

Have you ever taken a bleisure travel trip? Where did you go? What did you do for the vacation portion? Share some stories with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

 

Photo credit: Erik Deckers (Used with permission)

Don’t Believe These Business Travel Room Service Myths

September 26, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Unless you’re a seasoned traveler, you may think twice when the urge for a late-night snack or breakfast in bed strikes while you’re overnighting at a hotel. We’re here to debunk a few myths about this perk.

Room service prices are identical to the price of the same entree in the hotel’s restaurant. I’m not sure if anyone who has really ordered from a room service menu would believe this, but it’s true. The big difference in prices are those service charges. Essentially, that means you’re paying for personal delivery. According to Paris-based food critic Alexander Lobrano, service charges and other fine print fees are “ways of making you pay for the pleasure of private dining, something that most hotels have pretty much fallen out of love with because it’s logistically complicated.”

Hotel room service can be convenient on business travel trips.Room service is just as fresh as the food in the hotel restaurant because it’s made-to-order. Yes and no. Lobrano said in a January 2017 USA Today article, “most room service items are at least partially pre-prepared, since the room service kitchen or area of a larger kitchen dedicated to room service needs to work ahead . . . And if you really want to see what’s pre-prepared . . . study the night owl room service menu, since those items are designed so that anyone can prepare the dishes easily.” Although the food may be made-to-order, the transportation time to your room will inevitably affect the temperature, and instead of being served courses, your entire meal comes at once.

Tipping is necessary when ordering room service. Feel free to call down to the front desk to inquire about which, if any, of the additional fees actually ends up in the pocket of the staff member delivering it to your door. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer, scrutinize the bill when it arrives. Usually there are two charges — a room service fee and a built-in gratuity — and a blank line for you to add a tip. You’re not required to tip, but if you choose to, find the line that states what the price of the meal is, and tip on that amount, not the delivered amount.

Outside food delivery is discouraged so that guests are forced to order room service. A smaller hotel may not have a restaurant, so ordering food delivered by a local restaurant may be your only option. If you stay at a larger hotel with its own restaurant and still want to order from a chain establishment, Lobrano suggests this tactic: “I find the best way to sway an undecided front desk [wary of the security concern of having outside delivery personnel roaming the halls of their hotel] is to say I’ll eat my ordered-in meal in the bar with a glass of their wine—no one’s ever refused this request.” Of course you can always meet the delivery person in the lobby. That’s normal in most big cities.

In the end, if you’re looking for a convenient meal that you can eat in the privacy of your own room, room service is the way to go. Just keep in mind that you’re paying for that convenience and solitude, so you might be better off just trying the hotel restaurant or a nearby restaurant if you need to watch your budget.

Do you partake of the room service or do you eat outside the hotel on your business travels? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below,on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Unnamed (Pxhere, Creative Commons, Public Domain)

Churning Credit Cards for Points and Miles Can Hurt You

September 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

You get the credit card offers in the mail all the time. “Earn 100,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in the first three months.” Sounds easy enough. If you worked at it, you could spend three grand and then take a couple flights for vacation.

But if you’ve ever been tempted to sign up with the intention of spending the minimum, getting your miles, and then cancelling the card, you might want to reconsider. More and more airlines and credit card companies are cracking down on consumers who attempt to work the system, cancel the cards, and sign up again 18 to 24 months later.

The practice is called churning, and it can actually work against you.

Last year, USA Today travel columnist George Hobica warned of the dangers of churning credit cards as a way to game the airline’s system.

A messy stack of credit cards - Churning credit cards can damage your creditFor one thing, your credit score will take a hit. It may not seem like a big deal, but be aware that repeatedly applying for credit cards makes you appear to be a higher risk than those who apply less often. And if your score takes a hit of a few points and you own a home, your mortgage lender or credit card lender might increase your rate. Then those “free” flights aren’t so “free.”

And let’s be frank: do you really spend $3,000 in necessary purchases in a three month period? While credit card companies dangle the carrot of frequent flyer miles, they’re hoping you’ll be unable to pay off the balance and be hit with their exorbitant interest rates. They’re also hoping you don’t read the fine print to realize that there’s a relatively steep annual fee you’ll be paying, should you decide to keep this card in your portfolio of plastic.

Some of these dual credit card issuers are also putting a limit on the offer, like one time per customer. The American Express Delta Skymiles Card awards bonus miles once and once only. The Capital One Venture Card allows you to use the miles you earn on any airline, but you can only open an account and get 40,000 miles once.

If you still want to play the game, here’s one last warning: if you open too many credit cards, the next time you really find one you think has a great deal, you might end up being rejected. George Hobica said that, despite an excellent FICO score, he was turned down for a particularly great deal because he had opened too many credit cards in the last two years.

Do you take advantage of the credit card offers? Have you tried churning credit cards to boost your mileage or points? Do you have any suggestions for your fellow travelers on best practices? Share your ideas in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Nick Youngson (BlueDiamondGallery.com, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Busting Five Budget Business Travel Myths

September 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Everyone works hard for their money, and nobody likes the idea of parting with any more of it than necessary. In fact, everybody likes a deal. But when it comes to budget business travel, some of the advice you may have received is nothing more than myth and urban legend. Here are several:

Myth: Unlock your phone for international travel. This is completely unnecessary, unless you are going to be in an area of the world where you will need to be able to make calls whenever you want and you know you won’t have access to any reliable wifi. If you know you’ll have access to wifi, checking in is simply a matter of scheduling a time and finding free or paid wifi. There are other ways to communicate than just voice-to-voice. Apps like WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype make it easy to communicate offline via text or even make Internet-phone calls while abroad.

A rented Nissan Micra in Donegal, Ireland. Beware the business travel myths about rental cars!

A rented Nissan Micra in Donegal, Ireland

Myth: Rental cars are inexpensive overseas. While this may be true, what most Americans don’t know is that the price of fuel everywhere but the US is much more expensive. This turns something that appears reasonable into something that is costly. Public transit is much more developed in foreign countries, so utilize the local buses and trams, and use rail passes for the majority of your around town travel. Ride sharing also exists in foreign cities, so familiarize yourself with those apps before you leave. If it’s necessary to rent a car, consider Transfercar, which connects travelers with cars that need to be relocated, or BlaBlaCar, which allows drivers with available passenger seats the opportunity to sell them to travelers needing a ride.

Myth: Exchange money before you leave the US. With the right credit card in your wallet, this is completely unnecessary. Many credit card companies offer cards with no transaction fees for foreign withdrawals. You will pay a small fee if you use an ATM, but it’s minimal compared to the service fee charged by a bank. One caveat: notify your bank or credit card company of your plans to travel outside the US so your funds won’t be frozen for suspected fraud.

Myth: Book your flights and hotels very early. While there is some truth to securing your accommodations well before your departure, the same rule of thumb does not apply for booking airfare. You only need to plan six to seven weeks in advance in order to get the best price. Watching fares for a few weeks before then will give you the best intel about the fare drop. In fact, travel experts advise it is unwise to book your flight more than two months out.

Myth: Grocery shop instead of eating out. This advice has been proliferated by people who haven’t lived in a big city. (Okay, it was us! We recommended it! But we stand by this advice in most cases). Groceries in major metropolitan areas — New York, London, Toronto, Paris — are known for having higher prices, and the stores are not always easy to get to, especially if you don’t know where to look. You have to take a taxi to get there, traffic is terrible, and if you drive your own car, parking can be an issue. If you’re in a smaller city, then you won’t have as much of a problem.

However, if you’ve done your homework and saved on the other parts of your trip, why would you miss out on experiencing local fare just to save a few bucks? How often do you get to this part of the world, or get this chance to experience this local culture? Be sure to visit some of the best restaurants in the area and try to experience what that city has to offer.

Don’t be deceived; international travel doesn’t have to break the bank. But don’t just take our word for it; investigate your options and make wise decisions, and you’ll find affordable, memorable travel is possible.

What are some budget business travel “myths” have you found and debunked yourself? Do you know any conventional business travel wisdom that we’ve all shared but it turned out to be untrue? Share your ideas in the comments below,on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Joseph Mischyshyn (Geograph.ie, Creative Commons 2.0)

Travel Hacks and Myths That Don’t Actually Work

September 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The number of travel hacks that have been touted across the Internet as “the way” to get the “best” deal have many chasing the potential for something that isn’t out there.

For example, none of these well-publicized travel hacks for getting a cheaper flight — clear your cache to avoid high airfares, don’t use a Mac, buy 42 days in advance, book after midnight on a Tuesday — actually work.

If you want to get a deal on an airfare, don’t book too early or too late. Booking one to four months out should result in a decent price. And the differences in between prices are not so vast anymore either. You might save $40 or $50 on a discount site, but you may be penalized by not being allowed to select your seats or being more likely to get bumped if a flight is overbooked.

Lobby of the Novotel Nathan Road Kowloon Hong Kong hotel - Travel hacks like tipping the front desk staff don't always work. And may be impolite in some cultures.

Lobby of the Novotel Nathan Road Kowloon Hong Kong hotel – Travel hacks like tipping the front desk staff don’t always work, and may be impolite in some cultures.

As for booking the best hotel rate, don’t believe the hack about calling the property directly unless you’re negotiating a group rate for a special event. That’s another situation entirely. If you’re thinking that you’ll be able to use your amazing negotiating skills if you can just speak with a human being, think again. Calling a property directly will most likely end up in a reroute to a reservation center. Just go to their website and make sure to enter your loyalty number. If you don’t have one, join their loyalty club and then stick with them for future travel. That will always get the best rates.

Finally, if you don’t join a loyalty club and every dollar counts, check a meta-search website instead, such as Google or Kayak.com, Booking.com, or Expedia. Cross-check your findings with those of the hotel’s website, though, so that you don’t miss a deal there.

“Tipping” the front desk personnel when checking is another travel hack that usually doesn’t work. Most often, the employee keeps the money, not understanding that you were attempting to hack the system and get an upgrade. This does have a better chance of working at fancy hotels in big cities, but even then, it doesn’t always help.

Rental cars used to be able to be procured for deeply discounted rates by making a reservation via travel sites like Travelocity, Hotwire, Orbitz, or Priceline. Not so anymore. The best deals today are through Costco, AAA, or the rental companies themselves, such as Hertz, Enterprise, National, Avis, and Budget.

If you need an inexpensive rental car, start with the rental companies’ websites, but check the other sites as well. The rental car companies truly have figured out that it’s better to offer great deals directly to their customers than to make them hunt them down on competitor’s sites.

Everyone wants to figure out a way to hack the system and travel cheaper or faster. While it may seem innocuous at the time, many potential hacks may involve lying, bribing, or cheating, and those behaviors only end up creating consequences for the traveling public—often resulting in higher fares and tighter restrictions. So be careful in the hacks that you use.

Your best bet is to join loyalty clubs at your favorite hotel, airline, and car rental agency and stick with them as much as possible. Also, get a credit card that rewards you loyalty points. Your membership in those clubs can get you some extra perks.

What are some travel hacks have you found that don’t actually work? Any painful lessons you learned in your business travel? Share your experiences with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Novotel Nathan Road Kowloon Hong Kong (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

Top Five Strategies for Business Travel Efficiency

August 15, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Business travel is hard — hard on the body, hard on the mind — but making a few intelligent choices can make all the difference in terms of efficiency. To paraphrase the old saying about charity, “Good health starts at home.” You can’t be your best if you don’t take care of yourself first. Here are five strategies to help you be the most efficient traveler possible.

Travelpro Crew Executive Choice 2 Business Backpack - ideal for business travel

This checkpoint friendly backpack can get you through airport security with a minimum of fuss.

1. Pack wisely. Choosing the best luggage to meet your needs is the first way to set yourself up for success and streamline your travel experience. Our Crew™ 11 20″ Business Plus Carry-on is not only lightweight and durable, it features a complete business organizer with RFID protection for easy accessibility to your essentials and protection from identity theft. The Crew™ Executive Choice™ 2 checkpoint-friendly backpack is designed to maximize functional efficiency while on the road. Its exterior USB port and dedicated Power Bank battery pocket ensure you always have access to power on the move (battery not included), and the built-in business organizer has unique storage amenities, including padded and quilted sleeves for both a standard size laptop and tablet. Ensure all your essentials get where you’re going to and maximize efficiency while you’re doing it with a single bag.

2. Speaking of getting where you’re going, consider different modes of transportation. There are different, sometimes hidden advantages and disadvantages to various forms of travel, such as productivity en route. Weigh flying versus driving versus train travel to see which one gives you the best combination of productivity, less time wasted, and value for the dollar.

3. Be equally selective about your accommodations. Yes, the hotel further away from the customer is less expensive, but if you have to pay an Uber driver the difference to get there and back, the savings is a wash. Take the time to shop your options after you’ve thought through your needs for the location.

4. Fly once, visit many. It’s inefficient to spend the time and money to travel to a city where you have multiple existing or potential clients and not make time to see all of them. Take advantage of your proximity to schedule face to face meetings. Even if it costs you an extra night or two in a hotel, the lodging is usually cheaper than additional airfare.

5. Finally, create a detailed agenda. Those who fail to plan plan to fail, and that’s not you! Planning an itinerary not only allows you to schedule yourself effectively, it helps you articulate your thoughts and prioritize your goals. And, it even helps you figure out what clothes you need to pack, which results in wiser packing.

How do you travel efficiently? Do you do anything special to get the most out of your trip and stretch your time and money? Share your ideas in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Four Ways to Bootstrap Your Travel Budget

August 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Video conferencing, data sharing, cloud computing, and mobile connectivity have been touted as the way to do business in the 21st century. Turns out, it’s hard to beat being in the room to conduct business. Face-to-face meetings facilitate better, clearer, and faster exchange of ideas. And don’t forget all the conferences and trade shows you have to attend.

According to Entrepreneur magazine, business travel is expected to grow by almost 6% each year over the next five years. How can startups and small businesses, which often operate on shoestring budgets, bootstrap their travel costs so their salespeople can close crucial deals?

Business travel is costly, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Entrepreneur magazine’s article had some helpful ideas for bootstrapping your travel budget, and we came up with a couple of our own.

Get organized. Concur Technologies found that disorganization — failing to fully understand the true cost of travel — caused companies to waste nearly 20 percent more than large businesses in this category. Bottom line? Do a cost analysis of your frequent travel options in order to create a detailed, thorough, comprehensive travel policy that everyone must adhere to.

Business traveler walking through an airport. You can still fly even if you're trimming your travel budget.Spell out the details. The more your employees know about what will and won’t be covered when expenses are reported, the more informed decisions they’ll make when booking their trips. Create a list of preferred airlines, hotels, and rental car companies, and be explicit about how these costs are to be paid. Specify how expenses will be itemized and what receipts will be needed. Defining what will and won’t be covered stops the post-trip argument before it happens. Post your policy online so employees can look it up when they’re out of the office.

Don’t be stingy. While you’re bootstrapping, that doesn’t mean your staff needs to fly on cargo planes and eat beans from a can. Make travel enjoyable for the people who are spending days and weeks away from home. They don’t have to fly first class, but let them fly in Economy Plus, and let them keep their frequent flyer miles and hotel points. If they don’t like traveling, or they feel taken advantage of, you run the risk of them leaving, which means hiring and training new salespeople, which could eat up any savings you might have gotten otherwise.

Revise, revise, revise. Travel regulations change, prices change, and even the benefits from hotels and airlines change, not to mention your company’s own financial health. So update and amend your travel policies at least once a year. Make sure the airlines you choose still have a decent loyalty program. Double-check that your company credit card is still the best option for paying for travel. Ask for major input from the people who actually travel frequently for your company, rather than leaving it in the hands of people who rarely leave the office.

A startup or small business’s success may hinge on the ability to go to its customers, but neglecting to create and commit to a travel budget is planning to fail.

What kind of travel policies do you have at your company? How do you extend your travel budget? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: MauriceBMueller (Pixabay, Creative Commons)

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)

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