There’s a lot to remember, juggle and take care of when you’re traveling for business. Here are 8 great tips for making it a little smoother.
1. Use mobile apps and good travel tool websites. Ever heard the phrase, “there’s an app for that”? There is, and a lot of them can help you stay organized while on the road. Tripit, XE Currency, Evernote are just a few. Lounge Review is a good website, as is AwardWallet.
2. Don’t choose your hotel solely on cost. Even when you’ve got an innovative product and top-notch staff you’re right to be conscious of cost. Don’t let it cloud your judgement though. You might be tempted to book that inexpensive hotel just a few miles from the airport because you found a good rate at an online travel website. It’s possible the airport shuttle doesn’t run 24 hours though, if the walls are too thin you won’t get much sleep, and if the hotel wifi is terrible you won’t be able to get any work done. Some hotels that are a little more expensive have great locations right across the street from a good restaurant to grab a quick lunch at and streets with easy shopping. Others might be far away from everything. Weigh your hotel options carefully before choosing one.
3. Bring every connector you might need. You don’t want to end up in a cold sweat 15 minutes before a presentation because the AV guy doesn’t have the exact same cable that worked perfectly at the last hotel. Many hotels have an unadvertised basket or box full of cables and connectors left behind by previous guests that they are happy to let you root through for a loaner. It is often located near the front desk. If the AV crew can’t find what you need, try asking the front desk before running to a store yourself. This includes common laptop and phone chargers too.
4. Ask your HR department about attraction discounts. Savvy business travelers often try to combine a business trip with fun in the city (if there is time). Many companies have partnerships with businesses that in turn offer you discounts for your patronage. With a trip to Monterey CA you could squeeze in a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium using discounted tickets purchased through your company. Show tickets, passes to theme parks and restaurants are just a few more examples.
5. Back up your computer files and have all electronics charged before you leave. It’s easy to charge everything the night before a trip, and it’ll be one less thing to worry about once you’re on the road. If something happens to your phone you can provide an easy digital copy, if your tablet or laptop is lost/stolen and the files are backed up somewhere externally like another hard drive or Apple’s Time Machine the process of recreating them all will be simple rather than a nightmare.
6. Use Uber instead of a Taxi. If you aren’t using Uber yet, you’re paying too much for short hops around town plus typically arriving in an old, possibly smelly cab that doesn’t always take credit cards. I have yet to be disappointed with an Uber vehicle, and if you haven’t tried Uber yet you can download the free iPhone app here, Android app here, then get your first ride free by using my link here to see what all the fuss is about.
7. Make sure to use the best credit card. For example, if you take a client out to lunch on the first Friday of the month, you should use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card for 3x Ultimate Rewards points (until 2016 when the benefit is discontinued). If you’re headed overseas, starting August 11, 2015 Starwood’s co-branded credit cards won’t incur foreign transaction fees so you should use those at Starwood properties.
8. Bring your smile. People respond positively to someone with a smile, and even when you’re stuck in a tough situation you can get much further with kindness than a frown. Chances are the people you’re dealing with are used to hearing complaints and a good attitude will go a long way.