No trick here - use a credit card that gives rewards for your favorite hotel chain and you can sleep and eat (breakfast) for free. We use our Marriott and Hilton credit cards for lots of business expenses and average around 24 free night stays each year - that's about $4500 worth of Residence Inn, Hampton Inn and breakfasts for two. Better still, use the cards to pay for business expenses and the rewards for personal trips. Pay yourself to take a long weekend off!
Never forget to pack multiple power banks/portable phone chargers when traveling for business. Low battery anxiety is real—there’s even a name for it: Nomophobia (Google it!). Please note: low battery anxiety is exacerbated when traveling. There is no reason to land at your destination on 10 percent phone power. As a businessperson, I cannot afford to lose my connection to my customers, social media, email, the outside world. Even a small power bank solves the problem and eliminates unnecessary stress.
Before you go on a big trip, it is tempting to try and plan every aspect of it. As tempting as it might seem, make sure to leave plenty of room for serendipity. Try to just plan the skeleton of your trip and leave room in between for discovery and for things to come up which you didn't plan. Talk to other travelers that you meet on the ground and you'll have a much better idea of what you want to do once you land.
Usually, just having a smile seems to get me what I want. I always ask when I check in however, if there is an upgrade available, if they give extra points for anything, and what specials might be available. Just last night (although at a stage theater) I asked if I could upgrade my row. Although they don't do exchanges, they made an exception and upgraded me 8 rows.
I had the Barclary Arrival credit card and it was super easy to earn AND redeem rewards. At the time I had to put $3,000 on the card within the first 3 months and then I got 60,000 points, which was about $625 in travel credit. Plus you get 10% of your redeemed points back. So I booked us 2 roundtrip flights from Newark to Orlando and a hotel outside of Newark – earned the points for those purchases and then I was able to go into my account and pay the travel portion of my bill with my points, plus get 10% of them back. Super easy! We also booked an AirBNB in Providence, RI that would have cost us $275, but was free because of rewards. Also, no foreign transaction fee, which is nice if you are leaving the US. I cancelled it after the first year though because I was just churning it for the points and didn’t want to pay the $89 fee after my first year was up. Something to think about though!
If you visit costly cities frequently, set up an office there. Become a member of several airlines and hotel chains to get discounts. Buy a business class ticket. Use coupons while traveling. Carry some ingredients with you and cook your meals at hotels. Stay in corporate housing. Do online research to find the cheap hotels. Select garments which are versatile and can be rolled quickly. Become friends with the hotel staff to get perks. Involve them in celebrations to get a free bottle of wine.
I just recently discovered your blog and I want to thank you! This blog posting is the most helpful one I have read yet. On most of the other blogs that I have read, the tip are all very repetitive and not very descriptive. Many of your tips I have not heard of and are the kind that one would only figure out through pure experience. For someone with not that much experience traveling, but with a desire to do so soon I found all of these travel tips extremely helpful! Thank you!
Thanks Matthew, I’m a 65 Year old new Zealander and been travelling south America last 6 months aiming for world! I got sick in hospital Bolivia and just had accident falling down steps in Quito Ecuador Hostel, but been enjoying myself nevertheless! Insurance far too expensive someone my age, so have to risk travelling without it. I’m traveling on my fortnightly pension! Thanks for tips.
If looming baggage costs and stronger airport security measures have you in a tizzy, you're not alone. Things we once took for granted when flying, such as complimentary beverages and checked luggage, are fading fast. Most U.S. airlines charge at least $25 to check a bag, and some even charge for carry-ons exceeding backpack-size—but there's no need to panic. Learning how to pack efficiently is the key to lightening your load (but not your wallet). Here, our travel experts share their tips to streamline your packing for a stress-free vacation.
1. Use a travel checklist. Even if you travel all the time, it’s easy to forget something. We should follow the advice of Atul Gawande in his popular book The Checklist Manifesto: To optimize performance, whether you’re a pilot, a doctor or a business traveler, keep a checklist and cross things off until you’re sure you have everything you need. Here’s an early version of the checklist I use today. (It is quite extensive.)
No matter how well we decorate our suitcase, sometimes the unthinkable happens. Sometimes bags go missing. Make sure all your valuables are in your hand luggage and always pack a spare change of clothes in your hand luggage too, just in case the worst happens and your checked bag is lost/delayed. That way you won’t have to rush to the shops as soon as you arrive to buy replacement clothing. But before you go shoving everything in your hand luggage, you might be surprised by some of these unusual items not allowed in your cabin bag.
At many hotels, check-in and checkout times are far from set in stone. Loyalty members often get the option of early check-in or late checkout, and sometimes hotels offer the option with certain packages or room types. And if you've got a late flight or just need a home base for a few more hours, it never hurts to call the front desk and ask. Often, the hotel will be happy to oblige.
The first time I read this tip, I thought it was absolute insanity. Then, one time I actually tried it, and you know what? I didn’t regret it at all! While this may initially feel like a slow painful form of packrat torture, doing this will cut you down to the exact essentials you’ll actually need. I honestly think that overpacking is hardwired in us, which is why doing this exercise is so helpful.
The duty has escalated to a healthy hit on tourists returning from a British airport to the U.S. or Canada: £69 (about $113) in economy class, and double that in any higher classes, including premium economy. The duty also applies to award tickets. Rates are lower for flights within the U.K. and for short hops to Western Europe (£13) and higher to Asia and the South Pacific. Northern Ireland opted to reduce the duty to zero on direct flights to the U.S. or Canada.
Shrink it. Jessica Ellis, a graphic designer who travels between New York City and Chicago every other week, piles clothing into Eagle Creek Pack-It Compressor bags ($10 to $26, rei.com). “Zipper them, and they take out 80 percent of the volume.” Warning: This can have wrinkly consequences, so if the clothes don’t yet require laundering, lay them flat and place fabric-softener sheets between them. Consider your fresh-smelling clothes a welcome-home present.
Perfecting the art of beating jet lag is a feat achieved by few, but there are a few important tips to at least get the amateur business traveler started. It’s always best to leave home well-rested so you avoid starting off on the wrong foot. From there, it is best to try to get as much sleep as you would in a 24-hour period at home. Your time in the air can either help or hinder you, as a plane is a great place to sleep, but often a difficult place to stay awake, if that’s what you need to do to settle into a new time zone. Either way, it is key to stay up until the local bedtime at your destination and not sleep in the following morning. Depending on which way you travel, the pros either recommend short naps and good coffee or short-acting insomnia medications like temazepam.
Every business trip is different. Certain trips are filled with meetings from the moment you land, while others are more relaxed and let you enjoy gaps between schedules. Regardless of your schedule, always dress comfortably for the flight. Forget about wearing a suit; you will not be able to snatch some rest during the flight with a formal business attire.
Whether it’s that steamy romance novel, thrilling sci-fi, or a dog-eared travel guide, download it before your trip. Even if at home you’re a paper-til-I-die sort, save the space and weight for your holiday. And don’t count on wi-fi to jump back into the story from your perfectly positioned beach chair. Make sure it’s on a water-resistent covered device (check out Otterbox for some serious protection for your cherished e-reader, phone or tablet).
I pack lots of scarves. They use practically zero room in a suitcase and are so versatile. They allow me to create multiple outfits from the same top and bottom by providing different colors and textures, and they also can serve as protection against the cold or sun. I have used a scarf as a picnic blanket and as something soft (or protective) to sit on. Also, I pick up scarves wherever I go so it turns into a travel moment, too! Misadventures with Andi
Put your toiletries in a plastic bag inside your laptop case, since those need to come out during security, anyway. Forget about bringing running gear along. It takes too much space in your bag, you will not have the time to go running anyway and chances are, it will make your fresh shirts smell of old trainers. Instead, bring a bathing suit and hop in the hotel pool.
"There's not much that makes me feel like an organized human as much as dividing my belongings into color-coded cubes. It's so wonderful to know exactly where everything you brought is as soon as you unzip your suitcase. Plus, you can very easily move your packing cubes into the drawers of your hotel dresser and instantly be done unpacking and ready to go." — Richelle Szypulski, Assistant Digital Editor
Are you lured by clever commercials that promise 4 star accommodations for the cost of a 1 star? Consider this: Booking directly with a hotel or chain has far more value than a quick fix. Here's why: Generally, hotels will not take your money until you show up. If you no-show or cancel, they will take only 1 night's cost, no hassle changes can be made to your reservation, and their website always has to have a better deal than what you can get from those 3rd party 'tempters'. Choose wisely!
Whereas reserving a premium, high-quality car can cost you an arm and a leg, if one of these vehicles is available when you go to pick up what you do reserve, you stand a chance at snagging one for a much lower price. Simply ask if one of these upgrades is available, and come ready to negotiate. (It helps here again to flash that smile and be nice). Travel expert Eric Rosen also recommends being savvy when it comes to paying for car insurance, as many credit card companies include coverage already. “In my case,” he writes, “3 of my credit card companies offer this little perk which saved me $200.”
Baggage allowance varies from airline to airline. Make sure you’re aware of your limits before you reach the airport. Some carriers will allow you to check in two bags, but not all, and the weight allowance can vary (see point 12). Make sure you understand the hand luggage allowance and avoid costly charges at the gate. You might also want to read our hand luggage guide.
“You’ll likely need to wash your clothes at some point, and carrying around a big bottle of Downy or Tide isn’t even enjoyable when you’re not toting your belongings on your back. My suggestion? Bring a ziplock baggie of powder detergent, and extra gallon size ziplock baggies (these come in handy in more ways than you can imagine). If you find yourself sans-washing machine, you can make your own by stuffing water/laundry/soap into the bag and giving it a little (okay, a lot of) shake. Rinse in water and voila: clean clothes. Easy peezy, fresh and breezy!”
Also, some airports have their terminals connected, other’s do not. Some have less obvious security checkpoints or “hidden ones” that are just around the corner. Figure those out if you can. I’ve went through a United Terminal checkpoint because it was less busy than the Southwest Terminal checkpoint before because I knew the Terminals were connected. Make sure they are though, or you will be making a trip out and then back through security! Ugh!
Many people view business travel as one of the worst parts of their job. The stress of policy-compliant booking, tight packing, busy airports, and trying to squeeze a Macbook Pro between yourself and the reclined seat ahead of you without spilling a complimentary ginger ale on the snoring man in 16B can surely be overwhelming. It’s a lot to manage on your own.
This is an amazing article. I use to travel a lot for my business meetings. I use to stick with same schedule each time. Not planning for some really interesting things to see around. But after reading your article, I am really interested to change my complete schedule to spend some extra time looking around for some interesting local site seeing and food.
Travel with an unlocked smartphone and buy a local sim card with a data/internet package at your destination. Not only it is much cheaper than paying for data roaming from your mobile carrier back at home, but the service and internet speed is always better. With this, you can make local calls with VOIP apps, search for last minute information about your destination, book things on the go, use maps to navigate the city and find attractions, and much more.