Perhaps the trickiest part of business travel is getting the work that is generated from that travel done while you’re not in the office. Here are some ways to keep your productivity at its peak even though you’re not sitting at your desk.
You may not think this first tip is an effective use of time, but we think it can be a game changer. Creating a strategy for completing the work you need to do before you dive in will give you a guide to keep you on task and on track once you hit the ground. Using your travel time to get organized may be the most helpful thing you can do to make the best use of your time once you arrive.
Once you’ve formulated your strategy, organize your devices by decluttering your inbox by listening to voicemail messages, deleting junk emails, filing documents into folders, and clearing out old emails that you don’t need any more. Plowing through the plethora of unorganized details will translate into increased productivity when the real work begins.
Get your own hotspot. Don’t depend on the wifi at the airport or the hotel. Carriers have these portable devices, or your smartphone may have an integrated hotspot mode as part of their service. These provide truly high speed internet access on the go. For a monthly fee, which you may be able to expense, you have the peace of mind that you’ll have the internet you need to do your work anywhere, anytime. Plus it’s a lot more secure than public wifi.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When you’re in the market for a backpack or a classic business brief, there’s no one “best” choice for you. The best choice for you will be determined through your own personal preference.
Backpacks are still fairly popular, especially among Millennials. Many business users enjoy the hands-free flexibility the shoulder straps provide. However, there are still some industries — finance, banking and law for example — where a briefcase is perceived to have more seriousness and gravitas than a backpack.
Once you’ve determined what you want, and how you’re going to use your new portable office, there are a few important features you should consider when making a selection.
- Comfort: Examine the shoulder straps for cushion and adjustability, and make sure your handles are comfortable. The Crew™ Executive Choice™ 2 backpack and Platinum® Magna™ 2 features padded shoulder straps, as well as leather carry handles.
- Breathability: Look for backing material that allows airflow so heat won’t build up on your back. The contour of the design should maximize airflow as well.
- Storage: With its large internal cavity, a backpack can also function as an overnight bag, eliminating an extra carry-on. Make sure to get a backpack that has both a padded sleeve for your laptop, and a larger compartment for clothes. Read more
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.
- 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
Business travelers, wouldn’t it be great if you could break out of the hotel routine, even if it’s just for a couple days? Wouldn’t you enjoy eating in local restaurants and exploring the local scenery? What about saving as much as 20 – 30% over your normal hotel costs?
With its new, “Don’t go there. Live there.” campaign, Airbnb is trying to reach business travelers who are tired of hotels, or just want to experience more that a city has to offer.
With its push to garner a share of the business travel accommodations marketshare, Airbnb is actually returning to its roots. The company was started in August 2008 in San Francisco as a way to provide conference attendees alternative housing options that were considerably cheaper than the area’s hotels.
Since making a concerted effort to market its services to business travelers, business bookings have tripled since July 2015. Airbnb reports that 14,000 companies are signing up weekly, due to the company’s integration with major management systems, such as American Express Global Business Travel and BCD Travel. The company says the savings can be as much as 20 to 30 percent when compared to hotel accommodation costs.
Ah, winter! That time of year when a young business traveler’s fancy turns to thoughts of travel allowances.
Each October 1, the IRS releases their new per diem rates that business travelers can either collect or declare on their taxes. The new figures allow employees to receive a set amount (per diem in Latin means “for each day”) to compensate for meals and incidentals incurred daily while traveling for work purposes.
Employers provide this benefit to employees in exchange for the filing of an expense report. Why is the expense report necessary? If the employer cannot produce this paperwork, the government views per diem reimbursement as income, which means it’s taxable. As long as the paperwork is filed and the amount expensed doesn’t exceed the federal daily limit, that money is all yours.
What if you’re self employed? These federal per diem rates don’t help you much as they only apply to meals, and you’d better keep excellent records for everything else related to your travel if you want to deduct it from your taxes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Conducting business at a trade show, expo, or conference requires a different level of energy than a routine road warrior business trip. You’ll spend two, three, even four days on your feet, talking to dozens of people, constantly walking back and forth, usually while trying to keep up with work at home.
If you’re not careful, even the strongest road warrior reserves can be tapped, leaving you ineffective and unproductive. Here are some tips I’ve collected from colleagues, as well as lessons learned from my own experiences. Following these can help you feel and perform at your best.
- Find the most comfortable shoes your company’s dress code will allow. You’re going to be standing and walking eight to fourteen hours each day, and you won’t be able to go the distance if you don’t have good shoes. If you can’t wear a well-cushioned shoe, invest in insoles to help your feet bear up under the pressure.
- You won’t make the best impression if the first question you ask a vendor or a client when you meet up is, “Do you have an outlet where I could plug in my phone?” Be sure to invest in a portable battery so you aren’t distracted from your purpose by your search for power. Make sure you recharge the battery each night, even if you only use it for a little while. Read more