Travel Top Five: Traveling in Comfort

February 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Over the years, we’ve talked about traveling light, being efficient, and not taking things you can live without. But that doesn’t mean living a spartan, uncomfortable existence, where you can’t wait for your trip to be over. We still want you to be comfortable.

Everyone has personal standards for comfort. For some, it’s their pillow from home, or wearing their favorite jeans. Often, business travelers have certain standards and efficiencies they should maintain, so curling up on the plane in sweatpants with a pillow is probably not a good idea.

Here are five ways you can be more comfortable when you travel, without looking too out of place or sacrificing packing space and efficiency.

Let’s start with shoes. You’ll be on your feet — through security, through the terminal, through the parking lot, and through the lobby to your client — a good bit of the day. The best way to stay comfortable is to invest in comfort that will carry you, literally, through your trip: get a pair of walking shoes. There are plenty of stylish options that look just as professional, and your feet will thank you.
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What To Do when Your Luggage is Lost

November 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s the last thing you want to have happen when you’re traveling: your bag doesn’t show up at the baggage carousel. It has an immediate impact on your psyche, not to mention your itinerary.

But if the airline loses or mishandles your bag, there are a few steps you can and should take before you ever leave the airport, and a couple steps to take before you ever even get there.

If your luggage is lost at the baggage claim, head immediately to the lost luggage office. But be nice to the staff!

The Palermo (Italy) Airport baggage claim.

We want to say this upfront: above all, don’t vent your frustration on the person at the lost luggage counter

Next, before you ever get to the airport, pack your essentials in your carry-on: your medication, laptop, papers for your presentation, and anything else you can’t afford to be without. I once read a story that involved a woman whose lost bag included her laptop with a sales presentation she was to give the next day. She got her bag back in time, but we couldn’t help wonder, why would you ever relinquish control of the most important part of your trip?
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Geneva Airport Begins Its Luggage Robot Bag Drop Trial

November 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Even with his vivid imagination, Leonardo Da Vinci, recognized for inventing the world’s first robot, could never have envisioned this application for his creation. Or that it would be used in coordination with another of his inventions, the flying machine.

Yet here we are, as Geneva Airport has been trying the world’s first fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot to assist travelers with their luggage. Working in collaboration with Swiss telecommunications company SITA and BlueBotics, a robotics company specializing in Autonomous Navigation Technology (ANT), the company has named their robot “Leo,” after the famed Italian inventor and artist.

Leo the luggage robot at the Geneva Airport in Switzerland

Leo the luggage robot at the Geneva Airport in Switzerland

Leo can check in luggage, print baggage tags, and transport the luggage to its designated baggage handling area using information gathered by scanning passengers’ boarding passes. After the bags are loaded into the robot’s compartment, Leo displays the boarding gate and departure time to the travelers. No one other than a baggage handler can reopen the compartment once it departs for its designated destination.

Massimo Gentile, head of IT at the airport, sees great potential for use of robots in the future. He told FutureTravelExperience.com, “The use of a robot such as Leo limits the number of bags in the airport terminal, helping us accommodate a growing number of passengers without compromising the airport experience inside the terminal. Leo also proves the case for increased use of robotics to make passengers’ journey a little more comfortable.”

Dave Bakker, president of the European division of SITA, agreed. “Leo demonstrates that robotics hold the key to more effective, secure and smarter baggage handling and is a major step towards further automating bag handling in airports. Leo also provides some insight into the potential use of robots across the passenger journey in future,” he told FutureTravelExperience.com

While some kinks remain to be worked out, such as scalability of the entire system, the capacity, both in size and weight that the robot can carry, and how it navigates in snowy conditions, this trial at Geneva’s airport makes it clear that ANT robotic assistance is here to stay.

What do you think? Would you trust a luggage-carrying robot with your bag? Or would you prefer to check your bag yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: SITA (Used with permission)

Smart Ways to Carry Money When Traveling

October 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Traveling with money is always a challenge, because there are twice as many ways to lose money as there are forms of payment. Not only can you just misplace it or leave it behind, but you’re also at risk of pickpockets and thieves, especially if you travel outside the United States.

So here are a few tips for managing your money while traveling on business, especially if you travel overseas.

A credit card is an effective way to carry money when you travel, because you can always get a replacement if you lose it.

Get a compatible credit card. The card you already carry may be used internationally with a simple call to the company to alert them of your travels, but a growing number of European and Asian countries now require a card with a built-in chip. If you are traveling on business and your company doesn’t supply you with a credit card for expenses, make sure your personal line of credit can be accessed without penalty. Then, get a personal card to be used only for business expenses, one that lets you rack up airline or hotel points. Additionally, use this card whenever possible, rather than making cash withdrawals overseas. Not only are the fees higher, the exchange rate is less favorable when you exchange it yourself.

Consider on-body storage. You may have been told that money belts are a safe way to carry money, but an experienced thief can recognize them immediately (hint: nobody wears a belt that thick). Instead, money belts and fanny packs broadcast to thieves that you’re not a local, which could increase your odds of being a victim. Consider a money pouch that hangs on your belt inside your pants, or a wallet that hangs around your neck inside your shirt. Just don’t go digging through it when you have to pay for an item; the whole point of on-body storage is for it to be a secret!
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Five Tips for Packing Light from the Pros

April 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It seems everyone has a tip for how to make the most of the space you have in your suitcase. No one knows better, though, than flight attendants. Many of them use the Flight Crew Series Rollaboard from Travelpro.

Here are a few of their expert packing tips, as shared with Condé Nast Traveler magazine.

Travelpro Crew 10 with suiter

Travelpro Crew 10 with suiter

Heavy items such as toiletries and shoes take up a lot of space, but where you put them in your Rollaboard will determine your ease of maneuvering the bag through the airport. If you place your toiletries and shoes in the bottom of the case nearest the wheel base, you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes. By doing this it keeps the center of gravity low and it avoids heavier items falling into your clothing when the bag is being pulled upright. Flip flops and some sandals are by far the most versatile shoe with the smallest packing “footprint.” They go with many casual outfits and can serve as slippers in the hotel.

Don’t use a garment bag. Generally, they don’t fit in the overhead bins well, and closet space on planes is reserved for use by first class passengers first. If you insist, most likely it will be checked and then you’ll have wrinkled clothes when you arrive.
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More DIY Travel Hacks

April 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

In order for travel to be efficient and enjoyable, organization of your stuff is key. This is where travel hacks can help. We’ve read a lot of articles, heard from a lot of travelers, and even spoke with our fellow road warriors. And, of course, we found a great article on Huffington Post about the topic of travel hacks.

Here are a few of our favorites.

Travelpro Crew 10 with suiter

Travelpro Crew 10 with suiter

  1. All those lotions, shampoos, conditioners, sunscreen, makeup foundation, and eye creams you use take up a lot of space. Seal off a drinking straw with a heat sealer, fill it with your favorite lotions and creams, and seal off the other end. Label them with tape, and you’ve got some single servings of your different products. It saves space and you won’t run afoul of TSA rules.
  2. If you’re like me, you’re tired of wrestling with all those different charging cables and earbuds you carry around. Rather than unpacking and unraveling a tangled mess every time you need a cable, put them in an eyeglass case you’re not using. The hard shell ones that spring shut work best.

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Five Tips for Getting Work Done While Traveling

March 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Most of us file travel days in the “lost” category, thanks to the amount of time squandered getting where we have to go. With the fast pace of business, you really can’t afford to lose days to travel. Here are some suggestions for how to make the most of your time while you’re traveling.

Of course, you need a comfortable place to work too. This is the Oslo Lounge at Gardermoen Airport.

Of course, you need a comfortable place to work too. This is the Oslo Lounge at Gardermoen Airport.

First of all, be smart in how you book your travel. Even if your company has someone responsible for arranging itineraries, it’s worth the extra time to investigate the best options and communicate them to your travel arranger. Don’t let that investigation become a time sink, though. It’s not worth saving $50 if it takes an hour of your billable time to find that savings. Time is money, and your time per hour needs to be invested wisely each day.

Commit to getting to your departure gate at least 45 minutes before boarding begins. This will give you time to check email and stay on top of whatever needs your attention before you’re unavailable for 2 – 4 hours. Running your timeline right to the wire — and showing up to the airport at the last possible minute — creates stress, which makes you less productive. Organize your time so you can have time to be useful to those who need to hear from you.
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Five Tips to Help You Sleep on a Plane

March 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

No, sleeping and being on a plane are not diametrically opposed. You can do it if you know a few simple tricks. We learned a few of them in an Entrepreneur.com article on airport survival.

Apple In-ear headphones + Virgin eyemask = a good sleep.

Apple In-ear headphones + Virgin eyemask = a good sleep.

First, choose your side of the plane. I know this sounds a bit strange, but according to Heather Poole, a veteran flight attendant and author of the book, Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, it’s based on simple logic. “Get a window seat for night flights. If you sleep on your right side at home go for the right side of the plane,” Poole told Entrepreneur.

Next, dress comfortably. You can carry on your suit or whatever you’re wearing to your meeting in a garment bag and change into it when you arrive. Don’t even think about attempting to change into something more comfortable while in your seat. According to Poole, she has seen it all, including passengers arriving on the plane in adult footed pajamas. Talk about the walk of shame!

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Boats, Trains, and Automobiles: Luggage Options When You DON’T Fly

December 8, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Travel seems to revolve around airplanes these days, but there are other ways to travel the country. If you don’t have to conform to airline guidelines and your plans take you away from home for more than a week, you may need to take more with you. Investing in larger luggage allows you to get your stuff from here to there without putting yourself or your clothing through contortions to do so.

We offer many options for those who choose other means of transportation for their getaways. While not everyone needs the space afforded by larger luggage, it can be a space saving option to consider, especially for families traveling by car.

30 inch Tpro Bold Drop Bottom Rolling Duffel

30 inch Tpro Bold Drop Bottom Rolling Duffel

Our 26″ and 30″ rolling duffel bags can accommodate the needs several travelers, particularly several children or the clothing for an adult and a child, reducing the number of bags in the trunk or on the train or boat. Many of these duffels are drop-bottom, meaning that there is a separate lower compartment for storing shoes, cables and other odd-sized items. If you want one large compartment, you can unzip the divider panel for one large packing space. They are an excellent value for the price.

Travelpro has developed a specific bag for the non-airplane traveler: the 33″ Expandable Spinner model. Available only through certain retailers, this case is our largest offering, designed specifically for the traveler whose needs exceed the 28″ and 29″ cases. The bag operates with a spinner wheel system, allowing it to be pushed or pulled, and it is surprisingly lightweight for its size.

Or if you’re like most dads, you may want a “hotel bag” — the bag that gets taken into the hotel so you don’t have to unpack everything — on long car trips. A smaller duffel or backpack could serve that purpose.

What kinds of bags do you take when you’re not traveling by plane? Do you have a favorite or a go-to bag? Share your stories with us in the comment section below, or on our Facebook page.

Bring This, Not That: Perfumes and Colognes

October 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Personal hygiene aside, traveling can be a smelly affair. The taxi smells, the airport smells, the restaurant smells, the airplane smells, and all of that can make you smell. Not the best way to make a good impression or to feel your best while you’re away from home.

Sometimes you need a little perfume or cologne to cover up the travel odors. But what’s the best way to travel with your favorite fragrance?

There are several options. You can pack your full-size bottles in your checked bags. Several Travelpro models have a wet pocket specifically designed with this in mind. If there’s a spill, you haven’t gotten it all over your clothes and shoes.

You can also purchase a smaller size that meets the TSA’s 3.4 ounce requirement, and put it in your 3-1-1 bag.

This week's Bring This Not That. Scent bottles with perfume finger sprayers.

Scent bottles with perfume finger sprayers. Samples of women’s perfumes at the Fragonard perfume factory in Èze, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ask for some complimentary samples when you purchase cologne or perfume at a department store. One traveler we know even created a special compact roll-on version of her favorite cologne out of a roll-on dispenser purchased just for this purpose. It was smaller than 3.4 ounces, and it was enough to last several trips.

Duty-free purchases are allowed in your carry-on, regardless of the size, but unless you check your baggage on the return flight, you’ll run into the same dilemma you had before you left home. So if you want to buy fancy airport perfume, do it on your return trip.

You might also consider choosing a less expensive option that you designate just for travel. Many retailers offer scented body sprays in travel sizes that could serve this purpose.

How do you travel with your favorite scents? Do you have a Bring This Not That topic you’d like us to cover? Let us hear from you in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page.

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