Just like every skill you’ve learned, it takes practice to do it well. Hard work, lessons painfully learned, and watching experts so you can learn from their mistakes.
So it goes with business travel. When you first start out traveling, you learn where your most comfortable seat is (hint: it’s not the middle one). You learn how long it takes to get to the airport. And which hotels offer the best beds.
U.S. News & World Report‘s recent article on frequent flyer secrets helped take some of the stress out of travel planning and booking. Here are a few of our favorites.
Use flight price predicting apps to determine the best time to buy your ticket. Sites such as Hopper, Google Flights, Kayak, and Flyr will provide you with very reliable information so that you don’t pay more than you need to to get where you want to go.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could know the regular prices for items, so you can easily tell if something advertised as “on sale” really is a good deal? While we may not have that for grocery stores yet, that service is available for air travel. If price is your biggest travel determiner, you can subscribe to sites like Million Mile Secrets and Skiplagged to know the regular prices of certain tickets, so you know when a better deal actually is a better deal.
There are several categories of traveling business professionals: the occasional business traveler, the frequent flyer, and the road warrior. Road warriors spend significant portions of the work week traveling between clients, and have a few tricks up their collective sleeves that save them and their employers money.
The occasional traveler might still be learning the ropes, and don’t yet know all the tricks of the trade. But Insperity.com had a list of their most important ones, which we agree every business traveler should know.
First, fiscally responsible road warriors don’t incur expenses that aren’t reimbursable. They research their company’s travel and entertainment policies — the amount of their daily per diem, for example — and stick to them. This means they aren’t surprised by rejected submissions that leave them stuck with the bill.
Fiscally responsible road warriors know their corporation’s budgets for flights, hotels, meals, and entertaining clients. They seek pre-approval if they need to spend more than is typically allotted, and then proceed to execute their plan with confidence.
Fiscally responsible road warriors live by this simple axiom: time is money. They know they can’t afford to waste time standing in long security lines, so they apply for TSA’s Pre Check. Even if they only travel a few times each year, the $85 security preauthorization is good for five years, and more than pays for itself during that time. (If you’ve ever stood for two hours in a single security line, you’d be ecstatic to escape it for $85 just once!)
Given the increase in travel and baggage fees by some airlines, it’s important to travel as light as possible. It simplifies the check-in process, and helps get you to your destination with a minimum of fuss. These are a few things we do on our business trips to make traveling light as easy as possible.
Use your carry-on as your only piece of luggage. With careful planning of your wardrobe and necessities, you can take all you need with you on the plane. You’ll avoid the time sink of baggage claim, the cost of checking your bag, and the fatigue of lugging what could be extraneous items through security to your final destination. It’s actually possible to carry 10 days worth of outfits in your bag if you pack it right.
Become a digital professional. Most anything you need can be retrieved from online “cloud” storage and printed at a hotel’s business center with a simple USB thumb drive. If you have documents you need to access, consider Google Drive or Dropbox for online storage. If you like to read while traveling, e-books take up no space in your luggage and an e-reader can be loaded on your tablet or phone so that you don’t have to pack a special, single-use device.
It seems everybody is busy these days. We never seem to have enough time to do things at a leisurely pace, and that includes flying. Even if we have some extra time, we feel like we have to rush through the airport. But you can avoid that rushed feeling if you use some of these techniques — which we read on Yahoo — to navigate your way through the airport.
1. Plan ahead. This may sound like common sense, but time adds up when you’re en route to the airport. If you don’t plan for it, you run the danger of missing your flight. Factor in traffic, security checkpoint wait time, and how long it takes to ride the off-site airport parking shuttle to the terminal into the amount of time you allot yourself to get to your gate. It adds up fast!
Business trips are a necessary part of doing business around the country or around the world. Trade shows, conferences, and client meetings are all a part of the game. Meeting someone face-to-face can change the dynamics of a key business relationship. The personal touch is still an important part of business, even in a world of e-mails, social media and text messages. But are you actually accomplishing goals with your travels, or are you just “traveling to travel?”
Amanda Stillwagon explains in her article on Small Business Trends the importance of demanding an ROI from business trips. She suggests making a list of must meet people, and then following up with them afterward.
If all you’re doing is traveling because it’s what you’ve always done , it might be wise to rethink your travel strategy into a business strategy. According to Stillwagon, the U.S. Travel Association states every dollar spent on business travel returns $10, if done properly.
You need to have some method of determining the trip’s value, by calculating potential sales or marketing opportunities, and then measuring the actual results. Set up goals before your trip, and measure the results afterward to see if you hit them. For example, if a trade show isn’t generating a positive ROI within a year, drop it and find a better one.
Take these trips as an opportunity to learn more about an industry to expand your network, showcase your products and/or to close a big deal.
Is a trip halfway across the world worth your investment? If there are top industry leaders you could meet, then probably, yes. But if it does not generate a positive ROI to the business, then it is just glorified sightseeing, and definitely not worth the money.
As broadband gets faster, wifi is found in more places, and smartphones can do everything but walk your dog. We’re seeing the world being disrupted, thanks to all this new technology. One place we’re seeing it is in hotel business centers.
While it was an important hub of activity 15 years ago, it’s now that lonely, empty room sitting next to your hotel lobby. There are a few desks with computers and printers. They used to be quite popular, before tablets, laptops, and smartphones sent everyone to their rooms for the night.
Hotels are realizing a change is in order for the business center. USA Today’s Nancy Trejos wrote an article about different hotels are approaching the business center. Some are getting rid of theirs completely while others like having the space available if a guest needs something. Others are making hotel rooms more “business center-like” with desks, USB outlets, and reachable plugs. Hotel rooms are becoming a workplace, not just a place to sleep, and the hotels are having to adjust their business centers.
As long as a hotel accommodates the needs of their business oriented guests, they’re going to earn more business versus another hotel because they recognize the needs of their target customers. When I visit a new hotel, especially on business, I quickly check the business center and my room. Is the room going to be a help or a hindrance? Will I enjoy working there, or will it be uncomfortable?
I sometimes go to the business center so I can get out of the room and into a place where I can work better. Personally, I’d like it more if a business center was like a coffee shop with a friendly, social atmosphere. I think more people would use it because it’s more of what they are used to.
As hotels look to change their business centers, they need to focus on what their guests are trying to do. If they need access to a printer and fax machine, they may already have that capability, but no longer through a business center. If travelers want a light and enjoyable place to work, the business center should have several small tables and chairs so it can be more of a social setting.
Regardless of what’s happening, business centers are changing as a direct result of new technology that makes traditional business centers obsolete. What are some features you would like to see in your favorite business center? What could you do without? Leave a comment below and share some of your ideas with us.
While traveling can be an enriching, wonderful, life changing experience, it can also be stressful, especially if you’re not well prepared. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, there are certain things you can do to ensure your trip goes as smoothly as possible. We have compiled a list of our five favorite travel tips from the TravelPro team and other travel industry experts to ensure your next trip goes off without a hitch.
1. Get in the (time) zone
There’s nothing worse than wasting the first day of your trip feeling completely jet-lagged. Instead of making an abrupt switch, set your watch to the time zone you’ll be visiting as soon as you board your flight and act accordingly. This means that if you’re visiting Thailand and it’s 11pm Indochina Time, then guess what? Time for some shut eye.
2. Invest in an international SIM cardIf you travel abroad quite often, an international travelers’ SIM card is worth the investment. You can pick these up on sites like Ekit and most work in over one hundred countries around the world. You can even register your SIM card with Ekit and have it map your journey, allowing friends and family members to not only follow your travels, but ensure you’re alive and well.
3. Get your finances in order
If you’re leaving the country, do your research. Your debit card may be useless in many countries. In some places (such as Myanmar), ATMs are not connected to international networks, whereas in others (i.e. Japan), you’ll find that your card isn’t even the correct size for ATMs. Also, don’t just inform your bank of your travel plans once. Be sure to call and confirm they’ve noted your account before you leave. Finally, exchange a small amount of money — enough to last a day or so — prior to leaving the United States. In the event that you run into issues withdrawing money, you won’t find yourself stranded and penniless in a foreign country.
4. Plan for the worst
As the saying goes, expect the best, but plan for the worst. Leave copies of your itinerary and all travel documents with a trusted friend or family member. Hide an emergency credit card and back-up identification in an inconspicuous location, keep scanned copies of everything (especially your passport!) on your computer, and back-up your photos as often as possible. If you are pick-pocketed or your hotel room is robbed, you’ll be grateful you took these extra precautions.
5. Don’t make it obvious you’re a traveler
Nothing screams “I’m new here!” than walking around with tags on your luggage. As soon as you pass through customs, be sure to rip the tags off of your bags and discard them. If you need to pick up a taxi to your hotel, leave the international area make your way over to domestic arrivals. Chances are, you’ll end up paying less for that ride anyway, since some international cab drivers try to take advantage of foreign visitors.
Are you a savvy traveler? Have you picked up any valuable tips on your travels? Share your tips with other travelers in the comments section.
- How To Choose The Best International Cellular Data Plan (forbes.com)
- New SIM card gets you local data rates everywhere, launches in HP tablets and Google Chromebooks (venturebeat.com)
- Why Traveling with Gift Cards are Safer than Carrying Cash (honeymoon.answers.com)
What if we told you that you could pack for eight weeks in just one carry-on bag? Sounds crazy, right? We thought that idea was crazy too, until we saw the video below created by John Holloway, owner of a travel outfitters store and manager of PackingLight.com. In the eight-minute video — which is worth watching in its entirety — Holloway demonstrates how to pack an entire rack of clothes into a carry-on.
It’s called the bundle method, and it’s a little hard to explain, but the video explains it perfectly. The idea is that you’re creating a bundle of your clothes, softly folded together, and laid flat. Using a layering and folding (but not creasing) process, Holloway was able to pack an entire rack of clothes into one rollaboard bag, toiletries and all! And he swears that when you unpack at your hotel, your clothes will be unwrinkled. It may seem too good to be true, but Holloway makes it look effortless.
We first heard about Holloway’s packing method through Christopher Penn, an expert in technology, marketing, and social media, and a frequent traveler himself.
Penn shared a couple videos of Holloway’s on his blog and he shared that using the Holloway packing procedure, he was able to pack a week’s worth of clothes in a carry-on with almost no ironing needed when he arrived at his destination.
Packinglight.com is a great resource for more tips on — what else? — packing light. On the site you can shop for wrinkle-free clothes, purchase travel accessories, and gather even more traveling advice.
Next time you have to pack for an extended trip, watch Holloway’s video and follow the packing method. Then after you arrive at your hotel and unpack your bag, come back to this blog and let us know if it worked for you.
Do you have any other insight into packing light? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Serious business people are always on the go. Even if you don’t travel every week, the days of the desk, the Rolodex, the land line, and the desktop computer are long gone. We’re a society of laptops, tablets, smart phones and cloud storage — and road warriors know this better than anyone.
Mitch Joel, one of our favorite tech writers, wrote a great piece about always having the right kind of gear that lets you work virtually anywhere.
He recommends starting with the basics: a notebook computer and a smart phone. When you’re shopping for a laptop — if you need a new one, that is — shop for the smallest and lightest one that’s within your budget.
Have two chargers for every device you’ll need to travel with— one for home and one for when you travel. Keep a charger nearby at all times; you never know when you’ll need a little juice, and there are power outlets almost everywhere, so stay as fully charged as possible, as often as you can.
Mitch is anti-briefcase, opting instead for a sturdy messenger bag or, better yet, a laptop backpack that supports your spine and carries all your necessities. Choose something that’s light and functional, and offers all the nooks and crannies to store the items you need to travel with and access frequently. The checkpoint-friendly Travelpro Crew 9 backpack is an excellent choice for the business traveler with a padded laptop/tablet sleeve, a business organizer and multiple pockets for storing all your important items.
And in that bag, create one central location (a zip-top bag, for instance) to store all your cables, wires, adapters, earbuds, memory sticks and more — it looks rather unprofessional to rummage through your bag looking for that one tiny item that’s sunk to the bottom.
Speaking of memory sticks, Mitch says not to rely on them: Go to the cloud! He suggests Dropbox for your cloud-storage solution, but there are plenty of other solutions, including Google Drive, that allow you to upload documents and files and even edit them on the fly.
His final tips: Get a great pair of noise-canceling headphones and never leave home without an extension cord. (Social-media expert Chris Brogan calls his the “friendmaker” because he’s often the only one smart enough to carry one, and his has enough plugs to share with others who need a little charge.)
What other tips can you offer your fellow road warriors? Did you learn your lessons the hard way? Tell us in the comments.
Travelpro Launches Executive Pro “Checkpoint Friendly” Computer Briefcase Collection [PRESS RELEASE]
Travelpro, the inventor of Rollaboard® luggage and leader in innovative, high-quality luggage design, introduces its new “Checkpoint Friendly” Computer Briefcase Collection, Executive Pro. The Executive Pro briefcase collection brings sophistication and functionality to the frequent business traveler. With this expansive 9-piece collection of briefcases, whether rolling or non-rolling, a backpack and a combination Rollaboard Luggage Brief to choose from, business travelers can expect lightweight, stylish, durable and Checkpoint Friendly briefs that simplify airline travel, especially when going through airport security.
“With this new collection, our goal was to make it a little bit easier to speed through the security line at the airport,” said Scott Applebee, Vice President of Marketing for Travelpro. “The extremely lightweight Executive Pro collection is designed with features which allow the traveler to simply unzip the back of the computer briefcase or backpack and pass it through the X-ray machine without having to remove your laptop.”
The collection includes a host of innovative features a busy executive needs on the road. Key features include: rugged polyester fabric with DuraGuard™ coating that make it stain and abrasion resistance for greater durability; extremely lightweight, the Checkpoint Friendly Computer Brief weighs less than 2 ½ lbs; the telescoping handle height adjusts to 41” on the rolling pieces providing comfort for taller travelers; a deluxe business organizer with pockets for business cards, pens and pencils, computer accessories, CD’s, and keys; an adjustable, non-slip cushioned shoulder strap on non-rolling cases for added comfort; quick-loop on the back of the cases for easy attachment to companion luggage; roomy interior pockets that store power cords, chargers, electronic media and smart phones; and a padded laptop sleeve designed to fit most 17” laptops.
The Executive Pro collection includes the Checkpoint Friendly Computer Brief, Slim Checkpoint Friendly Computer Brief, Executive Rolling Brief, Checkpoint Friendly Computer Backpack, Deluxe Rolling Computer Brief, 18” Business Plus Rollaboard, Ladies City Tote, Ladies Rolling Brief and the Messenger Brief.
Travelpro’s new Checkpoint Friendly Computer Briefs and Computer Backpack take away the hassle of having to reach for the laptop and put it in a separate bin from all other belongings and then having to put it back in the bag at the end of the checkpoint. Travelpro backs the Executive Pro™ collection with a limited lifetime warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product.
- Ways To Get Through Security Checkpoints Faster (travelproluggageblog.com)
- Satchels, Totes and Cases! Whatever Shall a Man Carry? (theawl.com)
- Essentials to Know When Shopping for Luggage (exomystics.wordpress.com)