Delta and Lyft Have Combined to Earn Delta Points on Lyft Rides

January 15, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

If you’re a travel mileage junkie on the lookout for a new way to earn Delta miles, hitch a ride with Lyft. Delta Airlines recently announced a partnership with the ride sharing company that lets travelers earn miles just by using the service. Members can earn miles for every Lyft ride, and for a limited time, earn bonus miles during rides to and from the airport.

“We’re thinking about our customers’ whole travel experience and it’s important that Delta customers are taken care of not just in the air, but on the ground,” said Sandeep Dube, Delta’s Vice President – Customer Engagement & Loyalty.

All SkyMiles members are eligible, but if you’re not a SkyMiles member yet, but frequently take Lyft, sign up for Delta’s program. Just remember that names must match on both accounts, so keep that in mind when you register.
There are several Lyft benefits offered to SkyMiles members including:

  • One mile for every dollar spent on all rides (excluding taxes and tolls).
  • For a limited time, get two bonus miles per $1 spent on Lyft rides to or from the airport.
  • New riders get two $10 Lyft ride credits.
  • All Lyft rides are all eligible to earn miles including Lyft Line, Classic, Plus, and Premier.

Delta and Lyft have teamed up to provide Delta loyalty miles to Lyft riders.Earning miles is exclusively for SkyMiles Members who have active linked accounts at the time the ride is completed, which means you can’t get credit for past rides. So be sure to register and connect your two accounts before your next trip. Finally, if you and several co-workers or family members ride together, only the Lyft rider who requested the ride can earn miles, so you’ll have to fight it out with anyone else who wants the miles.

This is not the first partnership Delta has made with other travel service companies. In November 2016, they partnered with Airbnb to award extra miles to SkyMiles members who stayed in an Airbnb property. Delta also partnered with an innovative biometric identity verification platform, CLEAR, which allows SkyMiles members a discount on the highly coveted opportunity to expedite TSA security processes.

Are you a Delta or Lyft account holder? Will an arrangement like this inspire you to join one or the other program? Have you seen it in action already? Share your stories with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Photo provided by Delta Airlines

6 Things to Do Before Booking a Hotel

January 10, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Travel offers many choices and demands many decisions and you want to make the ones that give you the most for your money. On any trip, your hotel choice is probably one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make.

The quality of the accommodations, amenities, and freebies are just a few of the factors that will affect your decision. The wrong or right choice can mean the difference between a memorable trip and a miserable one.

The Ellis Hotel, formerly the Winecoff Hotel, in Atlanta, Georgia. Make sure to follow these important steps when booking a hotel.

The Ellis Hotel, formerly the Winecoff Hotel, in Atlanta, Georgia.

A recent Smart Traveler article reminded us of some important factors to consider if you want to ensure your next trip is one worth remembering, not one you’d rather forget.

First, check the EXACT location of the hotel. Use Google Street view or Bing’s Bird’s Eye and get a look around. Make sure the hotel is, say, near the beach (like they said), has the great views they promised, or isn’t stuck right on a busy street that makes walking impossible. Doing this can help you avoid a hotel near the interstate or road construction.

Check to see if the hotel has any airport shuttles. You can save yourself time and frustration with a complimentary shuttle. Taxis and ride sharing can get expensive, so taking an airport shuttle to the hotel can save a few bucks. Just remember to tip your driver.

Check parking availability and cost. Parking on hotel property can add $10 to $35 or more per day. No parking at the hotel? The cost for off-site parking will often be significantly higher, and the inconvenience of walking to and from the off-site lot is higher, too. Weigh the costs between paid parking and ride sharing before you commit.

Do they have free or fee Internet? There’s no guarantee that a hotel offers free wifi; there could be a daily charge for it. You could also be charged per device, so connecting a laptop and phone can gobble up any savings. The more expensive hotels typically charge for their wifi while the less expensive hotels don’t. So either figure out how to use the mobile hotspot feature on your cell phone, or figure out whether you want to spend $10 – $20 per day on Internet access.

Do they have a rewards program? Loyalty programs are usually free and often provide great rewards. Ideally, you’d sign up before you make your reservations because members often get discounted prices, earlier check-in, later check-out, and other perks, but you can sign up once you check in. Just remember to do it before you check out so you can get the points. Some programs even give complimentary wifi and upgraded rooms.

Of course, you often have to book directly through the hotel rather than through the discount comparison sites or the conference websites to get those points. (Be sure to check with the individual hotel before you make the reservations just to make sure. Call them directly, don’t call the 800 number, because they don’t always have the best information.)

Are you a hotel travel veteran? What are some of your recommendations for hotel rookies and newbies? Tell us some of your recommendations and secrets on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Eoghanacht (WIkimedia Commons, Creative Commons 0/Public Domain)

Sleepbox Micro-Hotel to Open at Washington Dulles International Airport

January 8, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Thinking inside the box might be a good place for a nap if you’re at Dulles International Airport. As travelers long for a place to sleep other than the floor or curled up in a chair, Dulles will now offer a place to sleep, recharge or relax before your next flight.

According to USA Today, Sleepbox Nap Lounge opened during Christmas week on Concourse A, and is located between gates A6 and A14. Offering 16 small, stand-alone sound-proofed rooms, the micro-hotel will be the answer to the prayers of many weary travelers.

A double Sleepbox Hotel micro-hotel.The rooms can be rented through the Sleepbox website or app and reservations can last for an hour for a quick catnap or even an overnight stay. Canceled flights just looked a bit better with an option to get sleep and not worry about traffic back to the airport.

The article says the rooms are designed to be “cozy” with 8-foot ceilings and 30 square feet for a compact size. A 45 square foot room is also available with a little more storage space. Beds in both sizes are made of premium memory foam.

Room temperatures can be set via the Sleepbox app and so will lighting and the wireless entertainment system. It’s important to note that there are no restrooms or showers available at the micro-hotel, so if you need to use the facilities overnight, plan ahead and don’t leave your room without your mobile phone.

Minute Suites, a Sleepbox competitor, are currently available in Dallas, Philadelphia, Charlotte, and Atlanta airports. Travelers familiar with these small rooms know they offer a sound-masked room for sleeping, working, or just relaxing in some peace and quiet. Minute Suites offer alarm clocks, HDTV (Netflix and DirecTV), and desks with chairs; some even offer showers.

The Atlanta airport sleeping concept has two locations and Minute Suites will open four new locations in the new year. Atlanta’s Concourse E will have 16 suites and two showers; Concourse F will offer six suites and one shower. Not to be left out, Concourses T and B will a part of “Traveler’s Oasis” concept with Be Relax Spa and Chiroport, which offers 15-minute chiropractic treatments that including spine adjustments and trigger-point muscle work.

Dulles is the first airport to get a Sleepbox micro-hotel, but the article says Sleepbox is already in talks with a few other large U.S. hubs for future locations.

Would you sleep in a micro-hotel or other tiny sleep room? Do the lack of toilet and shower facilities make a difference? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Vzor495 (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)

2019 Global Travel Forecast

December 11, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Travel agents and frequent business travelers will want to pay special attention to the latest information from Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), the global travel agency. Each year, they issue a forecast of what they expect the following year’s global travel forecast will look like.

The goal of the report, says CWT is “to enable travel buyers around the globe to create and support their travel programs for next year whether local, national, regional or in-between.

Here are a few of their predictions from their 2019 Global Travel Forecast.

The Asia Pacific region will see price increases: 3.2% for air, 5.1% for hotel, and .5% for ground transportation. The growth of the tourism and business travel market for Asia (especially China, now the world’s biggest corporate travel market) is putting pressure on the travel industry, which means travelers will have trouble not only getting rooms at their preferred properties but at their preferred rates as well. So book early, and have a backup plan ready.

The Fullerton Hotel in Singapore. The 2019 global travel forecast predicts higher prices and limited availability for hotels in Asia and other parts of the world.

The Fullterton Hotel in Singapore

There will be a global increase in demand for rooms. We already said tourism and business travel is going to grow in Asia, but this is also true for Europe and Africa. Plus, the introduction of “ultra-long haul flights” will also increase leisure and business travel. More people going to more places means a need for more hotel rooms. While this means that there will eventually be more hotels, it doesn’t help in the short term, so make sure you book early or consider Airbnb and other room-sharing websites to find a place to stay.

Rental car companies will increase their prices, at least in the U.S. CWT is expecting to see an increase in car rental prices in Q4 2019, as the three main car rental agencies — which cover 90% of the US market — are seeing their fleet costs and maintenance costs increase and the residuals on their used cars are going down. The projected increase in price is 1% for corporate business travelers.

Amazon’s artificial intelligence is going to have an impact on travel According to CWT’s report, the travel industry is full-to-overflowing with all kinds of data on travelers — credit card, travel and expense HR data, combined with all the actual travel data like flights, car rental, and hotels — AI and machine learning systems are able to personalize and automate a lot of business travel functions. This means self-booking travelers are more likely to interact with a chatbot than a real customer service person on the other end of the computer line.

Fare tracking, fare forecasting, and the use of chat bots to book flights and hotels are increasingly the norm. Personalizing travel is no longer just about upgrades and ancillary services. Algorithms are being built to fully understand traveler preferences and behavior, and to extract more revenue by offering relevant products and services in real time.

Right now, as the economy is in an upswing, we’re expecting more and bigger things to happen in the global travel market. More of you will be traveling more often to more places. Of course, you’ll pay a little more too, but if you’re able to see a positive ROI on your business travels, or just have a fun time on vacation, it will all be worth it. Just remember to book things early, and always keep your confirmation numbers handy.

What are your travel plans for 2019? Do any of Carlson Wagonlit’s predictions have an effect on what you’re planning for next year? Share your ideas and your own predictions on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Holgi (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)

Five Ways to Go Paperless for Your Business Travel

December 6, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Business travel is usually an exercise in packing light so you can move fast. It means not carrying a big suitcase — road warriors definitely do not check their bags — and it means not carrying a heavy briefcase.

One way to lighten your load is to stop carrying papers. Many offices are trying to cut back on paper usage, especially since a lot of it gets thrown away or recycled, and the rest gets stored away, likely to never be seen again.

Consider this from Entrepreneur magazine: One four-drawer filing cabinet holds as much as 20,000 pages, costs $25,000 to fill, and $2,000 to maintain each year.

A desktop free of paper, except for a couple of notebooks. This is a great way to go paperless.Eliminating paper from your office saves money; eliminating it from your briefcase saves you from a backache.

It’s possible to avoid nearly all paper in your life if you go digital, keeping everything stored in the cloud and on your laptop and phone. You’ll never have to haul paper around again, and you’ll have easy access to everything you thought you’d need.

Here are five ways to eliminate paper from your business travel, and your life overall.

1. Use a business card scanner.

You can cut down on the number of business cards given to you by scanning them as soon as you receive them. Use an app like Evernote or FullContact to scan the cards. It takes a few seconds for each card, and then you can pitch the card or give it back to the person who gave it to you.

Then with an automation service like If This, Then That or Zapier, you can sync those scanned cards up with your phone’s contacts, Google Contacts, or LinkedIn profile.

2. Use an app to scan in all documents you receive.

Just like you can scan business cards into your phone, you can use a similar app like Evernote or Evernote’s Scannable app to scan new documents.

If you’re given a contract or even a meeting agenda, you can scan it quickly with Scannable and send it to yourself or upload it to your favorite cloud storage service. Tag it with a few keywords to remind you what the document is about, and you can always find it later on. Then just give the original back to the other person, or recycle it immediately.

3. Ask people to email PDFs and Docs to you.

If someone hands you a printed piece of paper, there’s a better than 99% chance they created it on a computer. And if they did that, they can email a copy to you instead. Which means there’s no reason to carry the paper around in the first place.

Most office people use Microsoft Word, which creates small documents that can be easily emailed. Even Apple users can open a Word document in Apple’s Pages word processor, which means both Windows and Macintosh users can open them.

Ask for all meeting agendas, notes, and other documents to be emailed to you instead of being printed out, and be sure to do the same thing for them.

If you don’t want people to be able to change or edit your document, export it to a PDF. It’s under the File –> Export menu in both Pages and Word. Then just send the new copy onto whoever needs it, and store your version in the cloud or on your hard drive.

4. Use Docu-Sign to sign contracts.

If you’ve ever had a contract emailed to you, you’ve probably been told you need to print it, sign it, scan it, and send it back.

You don’t. At all. With an app like Docu-Sign, Adobe Reader, or even Preview for Mac, you can open the emailed contract, sign it electronically, and email it back to the sender. You haven’t created any paper, and the signature is just as legally binding as if you wasted part of a tree to do it. Plus, if you use something like Docu-Sign, the document is time stamped with your signature as well. You can even import a real signature as a jpeg and drop it in, so it looks like you actually did print and scan it.

Docu-Sign works on your phone, tablet, or laptop, and you can save your signed contracts to your favorite cloud storage service, rather than stuffing it in a filing cabinet for later referral.

5. Store and share your documents via the cloud.

If you’ve got important documents you need to save, whether you’ve scanned them in via Scannable, or someone sent you a PDF or Word document, you can save them to a cloud-based service like Dropbox or Google Drive, which are easily accessible as long as you’ve got a wifi connection. Save all your documents to the cloud service and then just access them as you need them.

But just because the documents are in the cloud doesn’t mean you’re cut off if you don’t have wifi. Dropbox creates a folder on your laptop and stores a version of your documents there; it stores the original if you’re the one who created the document. And it’s possible to use Google Drive offline with a simple change.

Share documents with colleagues electronically, keep documents you might need later, and make changes and upload the updates at your convenience. Additionally, several people can work on a single document at once on Google Drive (Microsoft 365 does this as well), letting you make changes and updates together.

Finally, Google Drive can open Microsoft Word documents, so you can ask your colleagues to share documents with you in Google Drive and you can open them there.

You can adopt a paperless practice for your business travel if you just follow these steps. Ask people to email documents to you, but scan them in when someone hands paper to you. Sign contracts electronically so you don’t have to keep a real copy, and store everything in the cloud so you don’t have to lug it all around in case you need it.

Bonus: Never print out your tickets; always use your airline’s app

Rather than printing out your boarding pass at home, or printing it at the check-in kiosk at the airport, just download your airline’s app, and check in 24 hours before your flight. When you get to the airport you can use the special code on your phone to scan your way through security and onto the plane.

How do you go paperless for your business travel? Do you just carry big notebooks around and hope you might need the paper, or have you embraced the 21st century and gone on a paper fast? Share your ideas and techniques with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Free Wifi On Planes? Make Sure You Practice STRICT Security

November 27, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

How important is it to you to have free wifi on planes? Are you able to stand being disconnected from the office for 1 – 6 hours? Or do you have to be connected at all times? And if it’s that important, are you willing to pay for in-flight wifi, or do you sit and suffer because you don’t want to pay $10 for a few hours of connectivity?

Delta Airlines is beginning to offer a rare incentive for their fliers and giving us all free wifi on their flights. Last year, they began offering free texting to their passengers, and this year, they’re upping the ante.

In a recent Travel Market Report article, Delta Air Lines said it would provide the free amenity, and according to Delta CEO Ed Bastian, it would be faster than what we’re already used to.

A man sitting on an airplane wearing a knit tube over his head and his laptop computer. His hands fit into little openings near the laptop. This is not good security if you're using free wifi on planes.

No, this won’t help.

Speaking at the Skift Global Forum in New York recently, Bastian said he didn’t know of anyplace other than in an airplane that you can’t access free wifi, so he wanted Delta to be the first to provide it to passengers. When the fee would be dropped remains unclear, but it is expected to be well-received.

We’re definitely in favor of free wifi, but it’s critical that you follow strong security measures in order to keep your computer and your personal information safe from prying eyes.

  1. Make sure you use a VPN (virtual private network) to encrypt all web traffic to and from your computer.
  2. Make sure your malware protection and firewall are current. If you don’t have any, buy some.
  3. Never do any banking or transmit sensitive financial data while you’re on a free wifi system. If you need to do it, wait until you’re on the ground, and do it on your phone with the wifi turned off. Cellular data is harder to intercept.
  4. Be sure the wifi system you want to log onto is the right one. There are many imposters that look legit — Free_Airport_Wifi may look legitimate, but you can’t always tell. Make sure you know the official name of the official wifi, and ask someone who works there if you’re not sure.

These steps are always important, even if you don’t travel very often. But if you’re going to use free wifi, whether it’s at a coffee shop, the airport, or even a plane, you have to take steps to make sure you don’t fall victim to cybercrime.

Are you looking forward to Delta’s free in-flight wifi? Or do you prefer to stay unconnected while you’re flying? Some people want to answer emails, while others just want to read a book. How about you? Tell us your thoughts on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Becky Stern (Flickr, Creative Commons)

When Traveling, Time Is Money. How Much Will You Spend to Save Time?

November 22, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Traveling for work is still considered a perk for most employees, and they like working for companies that give them the opportunity to visit new cities and countries.

People have created different practices and habits to save time when they do hit the road. They have become more resourceful, and some are even willing to shell out their hard-earned money for little conveniences, according to a new survey from Travelport. And depending on what they’re trading for, it could cost them cold, hard cash, or it could cost them some personal data.

The survey showed several trends including one where 70 percent of travelers said they’d be willing to provide their personal data to receive personalized, relevant ads about their travel options. We already do this anyway, like on Facebook and signing up for email newsletters, so it’s not a stretch to imagine giving away “just a little more” to make our ad viewing habits more convenient.

Travelport’s Vice President and General Manager of U.S. Sales, Erika Moore, told TravelPulse.com that their study results suggest standard corporate travel practices don’t meet the expectations of business travelers who want convenience and a recognizable consumer experience when they manage and plan trips. Mobile apps can provide such those things, as can custom advertising.

Other findings include:

Many people favor convenience over price when traveling.When choosing an airline for business travel, customers base their decision on convenience. Nearly half of the respondents prioritized arrival/departure times and direct flights when it came to booking their airline tickets. They favored convenience over price and were willing to pay a little more money in order to be able to fly at the times they wanted.

Meanwhile, approximately 12 percent of respondents said that company savings and work/life balance were more important when it came to booking flights and made travel decisions based on those preferences.

But the biggest gripe among business travelers is a lack of flexibility and options. In fact, nearly every participant reported following some sort of corporate policies but added that they would like to have increased control and flexibility over bookings and filing the dreaded expense report.

One finding of great interest was the use of tracking apps. Fifty-five percent agree and 45 percent disagree with allowing employers to use GPS tracking to monitor them on business trips. That’s a bit of a sticky wicket since many people want to be treated like an adult and feel like companies using tracking apps assume people will slack off or cheat the company if no one is watching.

On a brighter note, 57 percent of respondents said they had more money to spend on travel as 2018 travel budgets exceeded 2017’s. We’re only expecting this number to go up again for 2019, which means business travelers will spend more time on the road and more money while they’re doing it.

Where do you find yourself in this report? Do you favor convenient departure and arrival times or are you more concerned about company savings? How do you feel about corporate travel policies and your company’s travel spending? Share your thoughts and ideas on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Anthony92931 (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)

How One Travel Writer Saved Thousands in World Travel

November 8, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Ah, to be young and able to travel anywhere, eat anywhere, sleep anywhere at any time. We recently found an article by travel writer Evie Carick, who listed several ways she was able to make her travel dollars go further. While it may not be ideal for the seasoned executive who’s accustomed to traveling business class, for younger business travelers or people heading out on vacation, these are some tips to help you stretch your travel dollars.

Some of them are old standards, such as taking public transportation, traveling during the off-season, walking, and of course, hoarding freebies. But there are a few new nuggets thanks to advances in technology, such as Hopper’s flight alerts and Kayak’s flex month, to name a few. Here are some of Evie’s tips that we especially liked.

A train in a station. A travel writer suggested riding trains overnight to save money and time.Consider traveling at night, especially if you’re going by train. Not only can you travel comfortably (i.e. wearing pajamas), but you aren’t wasting a day traveling. Grab a sleep mask, ear plugs and blanket. Fall asleep in one place and awaken in another, ready to sightsee. Plus, you’ve just saved yourself a night’s stay in a hotel. Pack light, only a week’s worth of clothes, and do laundry as you reach your destinations. Put your laptop and toiletries in a backpack, and avoid checking any luggage.

Speaking of transportation, have you flown one of the many small, budget airlines? Google your destination and discover which airlines travel to your intended destination. Spirit, Frontier, and JetBlue are worth a good first look if you need to save money.

Booking directly also helps lower costs, but keep an eye out for extra fees and surcharges as they accumulate quickly. Try Skyscanner’s Everywhere search to find cheap flights close to your final destination, then book the final leg of the trip separately, or get a rental car.

Do you still have your student ID? Assuming it wasn’t more than a decade ago and the age differences aren’t obvious, show your student ID to get some additional discounts only available to students. And if you’re over 50, AARP offers great discounts for travelers, as does AAA.

Want to do some sightseeing? Learning about a new city can be costly, but if you take only free city tours, you might be surprised at what you discover about your destination. Check out Sandeman if you’re staying in a major European city, while FreeTour.com is available in 118 countries around the world. No free tours where you are? Ask at your hotel or tourist information desk if they know of any. Finally, even though it’s a freebie, your guide might appreciate a tip at the end.

To get around a new city, download an offline Google Map for Internet-free orientation. You can also download a language dictionary in Google Translate. BonusTranslate operates in airplane mode, so you don’t have to worry about chewing up data when you’re in a foreign country.

In fact, try to keep your phone in airplane mode while you’re in another country, unless you specifically have a phone that works overseas. (Ask your mobile provider if you’re not sure.) Then, if you need to send a text or update social media, use a place with free wifi, like McDonald’s or Starbucks — you can find those around the world. Also, consider using apps like WhatsApp to send texts and only use it on wifi, so you don’t incur international charges.

If you’d rather drive yourself to do some sightseeing, make sure your credit card or car insurance will cover you. If it does, skip the insurance from the car rental agency. In most cases, their insurance is expensive and unnecessary, but talk to your credit card provider and insurance agent to be sure.

Speaking of credit cards, make sure your cards won’t hit you with foreign transaction fees. Ideally, it will also offer airline rewards which can help you earn airline miles for every dollar spent. For example, you could use an American Express Gold to earn Delta miles. Use it to pay your bills, and then pay off your AMEX each month. You’ll eventually earn enough miles to score a free ticket.

Lastly, make sure you bank card doesn’t require ATM fees. Some offer reimbursement of ATM fees worldwide while others offer unlimited reimbursements in the US. If you’re going to travel a lot, you may want to switch banks to one that doesn’t charge ATM fees.

How do you save money when you travel? What are some of your big money-saving secrets? Share your money-saving tips with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: PXHere.com (Creative Commons 0)

More Travel Tips and Tricks For Everyone On the Road

November 6, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Whether you want to upgrade your seat or avoid fees on your rental car, there are plenty of travel tips to help make a good trip better. Regardless of your mode of transportation, many travel tips can offer savings, peace of mind, and ways to avoid frustration. We like to occasionally post new business travel tips as we find them, and a new batch of tips came to us from a USA Today article.

Traveling by car? You’re going to want to take a break and stretch your legs from time to time. Sitting for extended periods such as long road trips isn’t the healthiest idea. When you do stop, stop at better quality rest stops. How do you determine the good ones? For starters, a little online research can make all the difference.

Most states list their welcome centers and rest areas online. If you have a smartphone, search Yelp or TripAdvisor and you may find information to help you choose between several options for gas stations. You can use an app like USA Rest Stop Locator, available for iPhone and Android, to find highway rest stops. The app lets you mark your favorites, check available facilities and hours, and even send the locations to your favorite way-finding GPS app.

Car rentals. There are a few travel tips around finding the best rental cars and avoiding problems.Speaking of cars, renting a car can be a nightmare. It can prove a worthy opponent for even the most patient of people. First and foremost, read the fine print. Often renters are hit with “surprises” only to discover they weren’t a surprise, but fees, penalties, limits, etc. were all spelled out in the fine print. A good place to start reading is the terms and conditions. Ignoring these items can prove costly. Before signing any agreement, ask questions, as many as you need to make an educated decision.

What about car rental insurance? It’s generally unnecessary because car insurance often covers it. But can you be sure? Does your auto insurance actually cover it? How about your credit card? If you’re not actually covered, you may end up with a large bill if something goes wrong.

If a problem does arise with your rental car, solve it immediately. Many problems can be resolved right at the counter, including when they run out of cars. Confirm your reservation ahead of time to avoid any problems, and be sure to have a copy of the reservation, even if it’s on your phone in an email. Finally, arrive on time for your pickup. And don’t forget to have a Plan B in the back of your mind. That may include renting from a competitor, calling a cab, or even using Lyft or Uber.

Did you ever arrive at your hotel only to be told your reservation doesn’t exist? One surefire way to avoid that is to call and confirm before your anticipated arrival. This will let you double-check details like dates, room preferences, room location, and so on. Once you’ve confirmed everything, ask for an email copy of your reservation and notes, which you should bring along in case there’s a problem.

We all want to avoid wrinkles when we travel, whether it’s problems with our car and hotel, or even in our clothes. When you travel, you may not always have an iron or steamer available. That means you can avoid most wrinkles by carefully rolling your clothes instead of folding them.

Another way to avoid wrinkles is to neither over pack nor underpack. Your goal is to have enough items in your suitcase so the clothes don’t move during travel, but also so that you can actually shut the suitcase. So you want to make sure you have luggage that best suits your travel needs. If you need suits, or dress shirts and slacks/skirts, bags with a suiter system can also help you avoid wrinkles and creases. Travelpro has a variety of suiter and garment luggage options for your leisure and business travel needs.

Finally, you can avoid a lot of problems if you just use your manners. Say “please” and “thank you” when you ask for help, instead of railing at some poor desk attendant or check-in clerk, you’re more likely to get you what you need.

What are some of your favorite travel tips? How do you avoid problems or solve them when the pop up? Share yours with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: formulaone (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

Drive for Your Next Business Trip to Save Money and Time

October 23, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

How far are you willing to drive before you decide to fly for your next business trip? For most people, it’s six hours. If you live in or near a big city like Chicago, Atlanta, or even here in Boca Raton ‚ about an hour from Miami International Airport — the magic number seems to be six hours.

In other words, if you can drive from one place to another in six hours or less, drive it, don’t fly.

For example, if you’re traveling from Louisville to Chicago, that’s a five-hour drive. If you drive from your house to the airport and arrive 90 minutes early, that takes two hours. The time you board from the time you get off the plane is another 90 minutes. And then you have to get your rental car and drive to your hotel, taking another 90 minutes. That’s a five-hour plane trip all for the “convenience” of flying.

But if you drove your car to your hotel in Chicago, you could still make it in roughly five or six hours, and you’d have the added benefit of having your car available.

There are several ways to save time, money, and your sanity, when you drive to a conference, trade show, or meeting. Like any trip, planning is essential, which will save you more than time and money — it will save you plenty of aggravation too. Here are a few tips to help you save all three.

Start planning your next business trip with a map, whether it's paper or digital.Plan your route in advance. There are plenty of apps that will guide you as you drive. No more reading folding maps or atlases. You’ll be able to plan stops for food, restrooms, and even a bit of sightseeing if time permits. Making several stops on the way to your ultimate destination? Planning your route will also help you find the shortest and fastest routes.

Leave your travel plans with someone you trust. This lets others know where you are and when you should arrive. Not only will they be able to “find” you in the event of an issue, like a breakdown, they’ll be able to trace your drive should you need assistance. (If you and your spouse or a friend both use Waze, you can also share your route and progress this way, and they can see when you’re expected to arrive.)

Plan on stopping. Yes, traffic will happen. It will slow your travel time, it might even stop it. Plan to stop for meals, and then make sure you actually do it. Park the car, get out, and walk into a restaurant. Avoid drive-thru fast food if at all possible. Making healthy choices can happen on the road, and by pre-planning, you can find healthy restaurant choices rather than ordering junk from your car. If the weather is nice, order the food to-go and head to a park or a place to sit outside. The fresh air is a pleasant change from stuffy car air. And a post-meal walk will be a great break from sitting in the same position for hours on end.

Make sure you can find fuel. By planning your routes, you’ll be able to spot any long stretches without a gas station. If you’re the type to drive until the gas light comes on — and then see how much further you can go — business travel might not be the best time to test the limit of your gas tank.

Remember, though, that a gas stop will add to the trip duration every time you stop especially if you pick up some snacks and use the restroom. Be sure to calculate the time into your total travel time. For example, a six-hour trip can easily turn into seven hours with three gas stops along the way, so plan accordingly.

What if you start feeling sluggish or sleepy? Rest before it’s too late. By previewing your map, you’ll know the places where lodging is and isn’t available. It’ll give you an idea of the places you want to avoid, too. Do a little research to find possible towns to visit and those to drive past. (And consider making reservations ahead of time.)

Packing a cooler with some drinks may also save time, because you don’t have to make extra stops just to wet your whistle. Be sure they’re easy to open and drink from. No need for distractions or attempting to drive ‘hands-free,” even if it’s only for a moment.

If possible, rent a car. Not only will it save wear and tear on your car, it might be tax deductible, so check with your tax professional. Unlimited mileage on a rental car might be a sound option and you can reduce the fuel costs by choosing an economy class vehicle.

So you’ve got a vehicle, planned the drive, and packed your bags. What’s next? Use an app like Waze or Google Maps to navigate around traffic issues with real-time updates based on local traffic conditions. This can help you avoid accidents and other delays. Shortcuts, detours and alternative routes given by the apps could save you plenty of time, gas and anxiety.

Traveling by car can be a good alternative to taking a plane everywhere. Remember, if your destination is five or six hours away by car, it can beat flying by saving you time, money, and the hassle of trying to make it through the airport.

Any recommendations for taking a business trip by car? What do you do to make your trips as short and hassle-free as possible? Share your ideas on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Erin Costa (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

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