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10 Tips for Better Business Travel

There’s no place like home.  Unfortunately, there are those who must travel in their jobs and are expected to perform at their maximum level regardless of jetlag, lost luggage, lost sleep and arguments with the cab driver.  There are ways to avoid problems and arrive at your destination at the top of your game and feeling great.

  1. Plan ahead. Sure this is a no-brainer, but give it some serious thought.  Be a good Boy Scout and be prepared by completing any presentations early and pack the night before you leave.  Family matters should be resolved early so you get a good night’s sleep before traveling.  Confirm your plane reservations and arrive at the airport early.
  2. Check with your credit card company to see if they add a surcharge to foreign currency or ATM transactions. Many add an additional 2 to 3 percent.
  3. Things to carry? A big wallet that can hold tickets, credit cards, passport and receipts all in one place. Pack a pen and have scratch paper handy for making notes.  Always carry some cash – including coins in case your cell phone won’t work.
  4. If you carry lots of metal things in your jacket pockets like phone, keys, coins and pens, it saves a lot of time and hassle to simply remove your jacket and place it on the conveyor belt when going through airport security instead of placing each item in the plastic tray.
  5. Arrange a transfer from your airport destination to your hotel before you leave home. Determine the approximate cost and time of the transportation to avoid arriving late.
  6. Always carry on your laptop. Yes, even if you don’t plan to use it in flight, you’ll have the peace of mind that it’s okay and by your side.  You can relax knowing the baggage handlers can toss around somebody else’s expensive computer.
  7. If you’re flying to another time zone, change your watch to that zone’s time as you take off. You’ll feel better if you adapt quickly to the new time even if it means going to bed sooner than you want.
  8. If you’re spending several consecutive nights in the same hotel, take this opportunity to do laundry. If you packed light, as you should, this might be necessary.
  9. Exercise and get a good night’s sleep. A recent study revealed that business travelers who exercised while on a trip performed up to 61% better than those who didn’t.
  10. If you must take a cab, negotiate fares up front. If you wait until you’ve reached your destination, you’re at the cab driver’s mercy.

Lastly, find time to relax and smile even if you should encounter a couple of rough spots.  A stress free business traveler is a happy business traveler and one who performs better at his or her job.

Beating the High Cost of Business Travel

Whether you’re flying or driving to your business destination it’s costing more and more to get there and back – and that eats into the bottom line of profit.  There are many obvious solutions, which include using a motorcycle, bicycle, more fuel efficient car, public transportation or you could even walk.

Some businesses are resorting more to shipping their products and following up by phone and encouraging their employees to become less car and travel dependent.  When possible, the face-to-face business call is becoming a thing of the past.

If you must fly, creative ticketing is becoming more prominent but most of it is frowned on by the airlines.  These are tactics such as back-to-back ticketing where two round trip excursion tickets are bought with the required Saturday night stay restrictions.

The outward part of each ticket is used and the other half discarded.  This could save more than half of a mid-week return.  Be warned, though – airlines are cracking down on these practices saying it violates their policies.  Many businesses are still using this method hoping they won’t be caught since the savings are significant.

Other ways to save on airline tickets is to book as early as possible, check for alternative dates and times and flying into a nearby airport.  Being flexible on when and where you fly could save you up to 30% and more.

If your business trip requires you to drive you’re probably familiar with various ways to save on gas but here are a few you may have missed:

Avoid long engine warm-ups.  30 seconds is plenty.

Buy gas at the coolest time of day and don’t fill tank to the top.  Stop at the first click.

Slow down.  Driving at 55 mph saves more than 20% compared to driving 65 to 70.

Keep windows closed when driving highway speeds and your car top clear to reduce drag.  Even a vinyl top creates extra friction and uses more fuel.  Sleek aerodynamics can save money.

Put an automatic transmission in neutral when idling for a long time.  The strain uses extra gas and heats up the transmission.

Remove snow or icicles from your car and unnecessary things from your trunk.  Extra weight means extra fuel.

When buying gas, it’s usually higher in the affluent areas of town.

Economists say worldwide demand for gas is rising. However, U. S. consumption is down with fewer miles driven each year.  But so far gas prices continue to rise with the penny-wise business traveler the ultimate survivor.

Business Travel Luggage Options

Business travelers often travel without their spouse, but rarely without their luggage.  Luggage selection is especially important now that airlines are charging a fee for a second checked bag and many times the first bag as well when traveling economy class.

If you’re flying first class or business class, fees don’t usually apply…yet.  Still, the savvy business traveler needs to be aware of what options are available when it comes to traveling smart and friendly.

Never has there been such a diverse selection of luggage, both checked through and carry on.  The smart business traveler travels light for a number of reasons including security, economy and mobility.

It’s important that the bags not only carry everything needed as compactly as possible but it must also be easily accessible for both the traveler and security. Luggage comes in all sizes, colors and prices and there is a bag that will fulfill your need be it on-line or in a department store.

If you’re interested in not leaving anything behind, a rolling business case might be your best bet.  These include a removable garment sleeve, computer case, a toiletry kit and ample room for other necessities.  It provides convenience and versatility.  The garment sleeve is designed for 1 – 2 suits and is perfect for the 2 – 4 day business trip.

Never check a bag that is meant to be carried on.  Most briefcases, travel totes and plastic garment covers are not designed to be checked.  These are excellent for carrying on items you don’t want to lose such as medications, prescriptions and keys.  Totes are best for a hassle free trip through airport security.

Traveling with a laptop?  If you don’t want to pack your laptop with the other luggage there are many case options depending on how safe you want to be.  Laptop cases come in both crush proof and corrosion proof and many are also watertight, airtight and dust proof.  Colorful cases designed especially for women are also available.

If your bag is old, it may not withstand the demands of today’s automated carrying systems.  It may be time to update.  Never check through fragile items but if you must, hard covers provide a larger measure of safety than soft.  And remember, no dangling straps or hangers.

To roll or not to roll?  It depends on how light you’re traveling and how much you can tote around.  No doubt, wheels make carrying much easier for baggage to be checked.

Remember too, never leave your luggage unattended and at your destination claim your bags immediately.

When it comes to luggage size does matter.  The carry on bags must weigh less than 40 pounds and be no larger than 45 linear inches.  You can determine how many linear inches your bag has by adding the length, width and height.

Business travelers are more concerned than ever about their luggage’s endurance, performance and style.  A little pre-planning and judicious shopping for just the right luggage for your particular needs will go a long way toward an enjoyable and successful trip.

How Business Travelers Stay Healthy

It’s much easier to stay healthy at home than on the road.  Travel alters your daily routine of sleep, diet, exercise and environment.  When this happens your body can cease to function properly and this can lead to insomnia, upset stomachs, allergies and emotional stress.  But there are many ways to stay healthy while traveling.

Food can be a leading cause of illness when traveling, especially in foreign countries.

Avoid eating heavily. You will be subjected to new and possibly exotic foods so remember all things in moderation.

You don’t pig out on junk food at the office do you? Substitute fruit or possibly a health bar.  Fruit that you peel is probably safer.  Know the difference between hunger and boredom.  It’s best to eat before a long flight.

Water can also cause problems.  Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration but make sure the water is safe.  When in doubt, drink bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.  Put an extra bottle of water in your bag to carry aboard the plane.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine.  Both are diuretics and will keep you going to the bathroom unnecessarily.  Remember, one drink in the air can act like two on the ground.  If you must attend a gathering at the bar, never be the last to leave.

Get plenty of rest and sleep.  Make sure your hotel room is at least two floors away from all the parties.  This avoids the noise and the temptation.  Also, request a room away from the elevators and ice machine.

Ice machines vibrate and this filters through to adjacent rooms.  It’s wise to clear a path from your bed to the bathroom before you turn out the light.  It will save a possible “trip” you didn’t want to take.

Make time for exercise.  A healthy traveler is a more fit and productive traveler.  Most hotels have health spas and many great business contacts are made there.

If you have back problems, two small suitcases with wheels are better than one large one.

Better yet, call a porter.

Alleviate jet-lag by tricking your body into adapting to the new time zone.  Go to bed when the natives go to bed – even if it’s noon at home.

Wash your hands frequently and avoid any co-worker who is sick.

If you do get sick, don’t panic.  Rest, take your medications and it will likely pass in a day or two.  Take time to relax and read or watch an in-room movie.  Your co-workers will appreciate your not spreading any illness to them.

What to Expect When Flying Business Class

If you’re flying to an important business meeting or a long anticipated vacation, getting there could be half the fun when you fly Business Class.  You may have reluctantly walked passed these seats on your way to economy.  Hey, they already have drinks in their hand!

What else can these people expect near the front of the plane?  They enjoy many luxurious amenities, which vary from airline to airline. Before departure they can take advantage of airport lounges, which may offer free beverages, snacks, newspapers and Internet access.

Some even provide showers and a lounge chair for a short nap.  The pampering is great – and some airlines are known for trying to outdo their competitors in search of that repeat flyer.  This sure beats trying to lug your carry on through a fast food line.

They’re first on and first off.  This can really be an advantage when heading trough immigration and custom lines and the beach beckons.  And, look at the size of those seats!  They recline…way back… and on some, a curtain can be pulled for privacy.

They’re likely sitting close to more savvy and interesting travelers, fewer hysterical first time flyers and crying babies.  They get better entertainment options, such as free audio and video on demand (AVOD) and laptop Internet connections.

It’s a pleasure to dine in Business Class with most airlines providing menus with delicious choices.  And good food just tastes better when served on porcelain plates.  If you have a special diet, you can pre order your meal prior to the flight.  Of course, beverages are complimentary with fine wines and champagnes.  Wonder what those guys in the economy class are having?

Travel with a companion and save.  When flying business class, usually a companion gets a deep discount and sometimes even flies free.  Other than that, discounts are hard to come by unless you’re willing to sacrifice time and flexibility.  In other words, fare discounts may be offered for non-direct flights that include layovers that could end up costing you time, money and convenience in the long run.

Frequent flyers are allowed to utilize their air miles to be upgraded to Business Class. Be sure to mention this when you make your reservation.  Remember there is a certain group of flyers who are willing to pay for the privilege of sitting in Business Class, so book early.  To some popular destinations, making reservations six to twelve months early is not too soon if you plan to try for an upgrade.

Is it worth it?  Business Class can cost as much as four times that of economy and remember, amenities can vary greatly so don’t be shy about asking questions.  If personal attention, feeling special and fun perks are important, then Business Class may be for you.  You won’t get there any quicker than the folks in economy, but the experience is unforgettable.