Be a regular, not just another, guest. Too often, business travelers play the "points" game to get the perks at all properties or the points for family vacations. I've changed that approach and become "property" loyal as a regular. What do I get out of that? I get the best in house upgrade all the time, at the same rate of a regular room, VIP Lounge access, and free Internet all the time. I even get rooms when the hotel is sold out, at my regular rate. At other properties, the hotel GM has me treated like a VIP.
When’s the best time to book a flight? How can a free upgrade actually cost you money? Why are duct tape, petroleum jelly, and dental floss among the most valuable things you can pack? Find out the answer to these and many other questions with our list of the 101 travel tricks you need to try. (And then add your own tips and tricks in the comments area below!)
By far the best way to enjoy maximum value in hotel accommodations and rental cars is to buy through one of the opaque agencies, where you either "bid" on a room or car or accept a price "blind" without knowing the hotel or rental company until after you make a nonrefundable purchase. The two biggest opaque agencies are Priceline (bid) and Hotwire (blind price), but several other OTAs now offer opaque options.
Travel can be hard on leather shoes, purses, belts, and jackets, so if you find yours looking worse for the wear while you're on the road, turn to your hotel bathroom for a quick fix. Liquid shampoo has an amazing superpower: a small amount, rubbed in circles with a cloth, can clean and restore the rich color of leather. It can also be a handy and quick way to protect leather shoes from winter salt stains.
Get ready to roll. With its mild climate, outstanding highway system, and nonstop-gorgeous scenery, California stands out as the perfect place for a road trip. And renting a car is about as easy as it gets. Whether your trip itinerary is a statewide tour of California’s greatest hits, a all-in-the-family visit to iconic theme parks, or an off-the-beaten-track adventure, there’s a vehicle to match your mood and style—snazzy convertibles, family-friendly vans, rugged models that can handle all types of conditions (even snow), even campers and Rvs, all in excellent shape and with good road assistance and optional insurance policies.
Our business class tips focus now only on tips for flying business class but also includes what airlines have a great business class product. Because once you learn how to travel in business class you’ll never want to stop travelling in business class. You’ll be researching all of the business class tricks and traveling hacking opportunities to make sure you can fly business class as much as possible.
Definitely one of the best travel lists/posts I ever read and I read a LOT! :) Thank you so much for the work you put in this. I travel, too, and have my own tips but for example I never realized my pills take up a lot of space in the blister packs (plus I’m not English so I just learned new words “blister pack” :D) and that I could take them out to save the space. I love tips like these :)
I love that you put try the local food at the top of the list. I have friends who love to travel but will never venture outside of restaurants like McDonald’s and the Hard Rock Cafe. These are also the friends who have gotten sick more times traveling then any person I know. Best advise is to look for the long lines of locals outside a restaurant or food stall and get in the line.
But what about work trips? Suddenly, the inconveniences of travel are mixed with the potential awkwardness of spending 24/7 with your co-workers. Like it or not, though, you’re bound to have conferences, client trips, or company meetings on the calendar at some point. So before you pack your bags, here are a few tips on making it tolerable and even—dare we say it—fun.
However, there are a few applications that business travelers can complete online to become eligible for special expedited security or customs programs to guarantee a slightly better airport experience every time. The most widely known of these are TSA Precheck and Global Entry. However, there are some differing views across the Internet on the pros and cons of these, so best to do some research if such opinions have stirred some skepticism in you. Big names fall on both sides of the debate, like USA Today or Skift for these programs, and Business Insider and Scott Mayerowitz of Associated Press against them, so, best to educate yourself, scout out some objective comparisons, and decide for yourself.
We almost always book our flights with points and miles, which we accumulated over the years through our miles-related credit cards. I know this is a lot easier for Americans than for others. I know for Europeans it is much more difficult to play the travel hacking game. (If you are Kiwi, check out this guide to travel hacking in New Zealand.) Travel hacking is a method for collecting miles and points for serious travelers. It’s one of the best ways to earn a business class trip. If you want to be a business class traveler but don’t have an expense account, this is how to do it. It’s one of the most important business class tricks.
Many of our favorite places are best traversed on foot. Skip the expensive sightseeing trolley and instead sign up for a group walking tour in your destination. If you're wary of being led around a tourist trap by someone in cheesy colonial garb, don't worry: Many destinations offer innumerable walking tours for every type of traveler, from the art buff to the culinary enthusiast. (Plus, a brisk walk between neighborhood nibbles almost outweighs the calories—we hope.)
For something a little more unique, pay a visit to www.RoadsideAmerica.com. This website lists unusual landmarks and tourist attractions by state. (Headed to Omaha? Get your photo taken in front of the city’s 6-foot bronze statue of Chef Boyardee!) Convincing your co-workers to do something silly or partake in the local culture will provide some surprisingly good team bonding time (not to mention photos for the break room).
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!
There’s a good chance you won’t get “walked” yourself (hotels don’t want to offend a guest whose company regularly sends business their way), but here are a few tips to avoid the situation anyhow: First, if your itinerary allows, stay at the hotel for more than one night since those who will be there for less than 24 hours are more likely to be turned away.
I generally don’t mind staying in hostel dorms, but if there is one among the good business travel tips I have been given, it is to avoid them whenever I am traveling for business reasons. Indeed, I do need my sleep, especially if I have had a long day and I have a packed schedule the following morning. The last thing I need is having to fight my way to sleep through someone’s snoring, and there’s always bound to be a loud snorer in a dorm. This was the case in my hostel in Tel Aviv. It was so bad that not even ear plugs helped to block the noise.
On overnight business trips, ditching the checked luggage and making the most of your carry-ons means less time spent waiting for baggage. For longer trips, minimize your luggage needs by packing two or three neutral coloured pants or skirts and a variety of tops to create a new look each day. Since you'll need to remove them for airport security, storing laptops in accessible travel bags helps speed things along, and packing both a plug-in charger and a battery-operated one ensures you'll have enough power to finish your presentation on the road. Lightweight and durable hard-sided luggage stands up to the use of frequent travellers. For occasional travel, consider affordable, stylish soft-sided luggage with an expandable compartment to hold souvenirs from your trip.
If you're like me, when you pack your suitcase, you put your special stuff in other bags, like small zipper bags inside of your bigger bag. If you're nodding, then you know ID-ing those smaller bags can be time consuming. A no-brainer remedy is to simply drop your business card into every one of these little bags, including eyeglass cases, pouches for cables and chords, makeup and shampoo bags, and even shoe and dry cleaning bags. This has saved me many a trip to lost and found.
While the external stresses of travel are often outside your control, how you manage them is completely within your control. If you let an unplanned delay throw you into a state of panic or rage, travel can become unbearable. When faced with anything from unending delays to slow-moving crowds, pay attention to your stress levels and take a deep breath, listen to music, or otherwise maintain your calm, and you'll find travel much more bearable regardless of what's thrown your way. This is especially important in unfamiliar environments. I've been threatened with deportation, found myself in Beijing back-alleys and completely lost, extorted, and dropped off at the wrong location with no way to communicate with my driver, but a deep breath and a smile ultimately allowed for recovery.
Airports now have shower rooms, so it is much more convenient to refresh at the airport instead of wearing a suit throughout the flight. You’ll look fresher and more prepared for the meeting too. This is even easier when you’re flying on a private jet. You can refresh in-flight and simply hop onto the car that picks you up ready for the challenges to come. It is the ultimate way of flying indeed.
A common mistake many people make is to ignore or shy away from the importance of social customs overseas. Be open to accept hospitality and engage with respect and patience and understanding of the challenges inherent to life in their country. Try the local food, seek out conversations with varying members of the community, and take the time to sit and listen. This type of focus on business trips has helped me learn about the culture and people with whom I would eventually manage an international charity empowering hundreds of women.
In some respects, I’m amazed at how staggeringly little I’ve grown as a traveler: I still roam cities with nary a clue as to what I’m doing, I’m still motivated largely by my quest to stuff as many baked goods into my mouth as possible, I still weep a little when forced to read a map. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t learn anything. I have picked up a few tips and tricks that I’ve gleaned from my many copious mistakes. Here are the best of of them – my my top travel tips and lessons learned from the last few years.
My annual business travel averages more than 100 hotel nights and 50 one-way flight segments. This travel is entirely for face-to-face sales meetings, which are notorious for being canceled, rescheduled, forgotten and so on. So, I follow three concrete rules when planning and setting business trip meetings. First, emphasize you are traveling from out of state for the meeting to establish it is not canceled or rescheduled easily. Second, send the calendar invitation for the meeting while you are still on the phone with the prospect. Lastly, if the calendar invitation is not accepted, I will assume the meeting is off until it is reconfirmed on the phone and accepted.
Don’t assume that buying the most expensive designer suitcase will get you an upgrade – instead, it’s more likely to attract thieves at the airport and on your travels. It’s better to be inconspicuous and go for a lightweight option. If you’re using a hardshell suitcase, this can add up to four kilos of weight before you’ve even started packing, so expensive isn’t always best.
I’m fortunate to have never had to deal with lost luggage, but I did have my backpack ripped open on a flight and I was grateful to have not had anything valuable in it at the time. I’ve also been on dodgy buses in Southeast Asia where we’ve arrived at our destination and people have had valuables stolen from their backpack by someone hiding out in the luggage hold while we were transit.
It's great to have a guidebook, something to point you in the right direction and give you background information on the places you're visiting. The mistake first-time travellers make, however, is only doing things listed in the guidebook – only visiting the restaurants, staying in the hostels and visiting the attractions that get the guidebook's stamp of approval. There's more to the world than the bits listed in those pages.
Sitting in an airplane seat is hard on your body. If you're not moving and stretching at regular intervals in-flight, you're putting yourself at risk. Opt to remain in your seat for hours at a time and you'll likely arrive with the aches and pains of tight muscles. More seriously, people who sit still for long periods have a higher likelihood of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition in which a blood clot forms, usually in the leg.
If you have lots of different types of activities you plan to do, that means you have a fair amount of gear you need to pack into your suitcase. Keeping everything organized can be a challenge. One of the best things you can do when you're packing for any trip, especially one that requires you to pack lots of layers, is to make sure you use packing organizers.
Instead, an hour or two before leaving for the airport, I’ll take two pain relievers. I know from experience I’m almost certain to get a headache from dehydration, a neckache from carrying heavy bags or a stomachache from eating at strange hours. Of course, I try to avoid those possibilities, but an early dose of a pain reliever can help mitigate unnecessary suffering.
Use a partner to help out. Get them to stand a bit away, so they don’t get drawn in, but still in earshot so they can hear. When you’ve done a bit of haggling, bring them over and say ‘do you think this is worth the price?’. If they agree that it is, you’ve got a deal, if not it gives you another bargaining angle – ‘I’m sorry sir, my friend thinks I’m still paying a bit too much, could you go any lower?’.
Many CEOs and entrepreneurs spend much of their travel time focused on work, which means they may be able to turn a vacation into a business trip. If the business owner spends more than 50 percent of each eight-hour workday on business, then their travel can be deductible. Almost every travel expense can be deductible if it qualifies as a business trip, including airfare and rental cars. Schedule client meetings, meet with prospects, hold shareholder meetings or look at potential investments while you are on vacation to make the trip deductible.
Let’s say you’re flying straight to Bangkok, where you’ve given yourself three days to see the main attractions. You can plan it all out, but you’ll most likely end up jetlagged and sleeping away a chunk of that time in the city. When you’re planning how long to stay in a place, take jetlag into account, as well as general travel fatigue. Remember you won’t want to be outside exploring for 12 hours a day every single day.
Kristina is the founder of Business Travel Life. Her love of fitness and travel unified to create a resource for business travelers and road warriors who want to take a healthier approach to business travel. She has traveled for business on and off for the past eight years. Kristina received a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State University and received her Bachelors of Arts in Business Marketing from Chaminade University of Honolulu.
Hi. We are just entering our 4th year on the road and I think I agree with just about everything above. It’s always changing, we find new, better ways, or what we want from this lifestyle changes, so for a few months we’ll be regular backpackers, then we’ll chill and rest for a while in a city apartment rental. Whatever, we love this life. Your picture of that little stove on the Everest trail brought back happy memories, we took the kids up there a few months ago, great times. Cheers!
You need insurance. Even if you're just planning to lie around in a resort for a week. If you're in an accident, or you get sick, or your bags go missing, or any one of a million other mishaps occur while you're travelling, you'll be extremely pleased you spent that small amount on an insurance policy. (Read: The insurance mistake travellers keep making)
Traveling as a family of four, we use vacuum-sealed, airtight, and waterproof space bags for each individual. They compress clothes by squeezing the air out, they protect fabric from spills, and they are an easy way to separate everyone’s belongings. They’re also great for bulky items like sweaters and ski gear for winter trips. The World is a Book
To each their own! I would rather have photos that differ to the million identical photos that other people have taken of a place. It’s a souvenir; it’s something to send my family and friends, so they can see I’m safe and happy (my mum definitely wishes I’d take my photos of myself to send her when she misses me!); it’s something I can one day show my grandkids, so I can teach them the importance of travel and show them what I spent my twenties doing.
You know the socks you often get on overseas flights? The ones that don't fit quite right and come with weird treads that make them impossible to wear with shoes? Give them new purpose by keeping a pair on hand to protect items from getting chipped or scratched in transit. They're the perfect size to hold the trinkets you pick up on your travels—the ones that don't need to be enveloped in bubble wrap but do need a bit of extra protection before being tossed into your bag. And in a pinch, they can serve as a handy alternative to a glasses case in your bag or purse.