Furthermore, if you're in a higher-risk situation—if, say, your medical insurance doesn't cover you abroad or you're heading to the Caribbean during hurricane season—travel insurance might be a smart purchase. Otherwise, maybe you're better off pocketing the extra hundred dollars or so and taking your chances on the road. To learn more, read Travel Insurance 101: What to Know Before You Buy.
I cite leaving my comfort zone as the number one way in which travel has helped me. It was leaving my comfort zone that gave me confidence in my abilities as a traveller. It helped me to overcome my anxiety disorder by showing me the things I was panicking about rarely happened — and if they did, they were never as bad as they thought they would be. And it introduced me to new experiences — most of which I unexpectedly loved!
Even if you aren’t headed to a beachside city or major metropolis, work trips don’t have to be total snooze-fests. Every destination, no matter how small, has something to keep you and your co-workers entertained. Find the local hot spots using TripAdvisor and Fodor's, or search by city on the Food Network website for restaurants featured on shows like Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. At the very least, you'll avoid an overpriced meal at a mediocre chain restaurant, and you may even become the office hero for discovering that the sleepy southern city you're visiting is home to the world's best hickory-smoked ribs.
One of my favorite tips for business travel is to get a serviced apartment, especially if the business trip is longer than a couple of weeks. What I like about an apartment versus a hotel room is that it is more spacious and feels more homey, so that I am significantly more comfortable. A good apartment comes with all the amenities such as a comfortable bed, a spacious bathroom, a cozy couch and a tv, a fully equipped kitchen, and even a washing machine and a drier.
If using room service, be nice to the order taker and make him or her your friend. When they tell the chef about the nice person from whom they just took an order, you’ve assured yourself of getting good food. If the food is great, call back and ask the order taker to thank the chef. I’ve had chefs call me back and say that no hotel guest had ever said thank you to them in their career. Always be nice to hotel workers and go out of your way to greet them with a good morning or good afternoon. They deal with loads of jerks and rude people. Visit the bank before your trip — hotels never have money to make change — and change $100 into $5 bills.
Duct tape can fix just about anything—including baggage. That's why we picked duct tape as one of the Top 10 Travel Essentials that Cost Less Than $10. Pack duct tape in your bag to protect your bag. Broken zippers, rips, and torn handles can be fixed with a sliver of trusty silver tape. Don't worry. You don't need to pack the whole heavy roll. Pick up a package of travel duct tape before your next trip.
6. Recharge gadgets using USB ports. Almost all devices have some sort of USB connection cable through which they can be recharged. Rather than drag along a spaghetti of cables, I find I can get by with just one plug when I charge my gadgets using my PC’s USB ports. This comes in particularly handy in the many international hotels that think that electrical outlets are an extravagance.
One other scenario: you have plenty of time, but know that your flight is nearly full, and the line is long. Every minute you spend in line is another minute that the window and aisle seats are given away. If you check in with the skycap, then sprint to the gate for your seat assignment, you’ll often find that the line at the gate is much shorter than at check-in, and you’ll actually get your seat assignment more quickly.
9. Develop a routine for sleep and eating. Eat before you get on the plane to maximize the amount of time you can sleep, particularly for red-eye flights. Transcontinental and transatlantic flights are often too short for a full night’s sleep. So maximize your Z’s by “preparing for bed”–brushing your teeth and getting into comfortable clothes–before the flight. Go to sleep as soon as you hit the seat. Scoring a window seat avoids being disturbed by fellow passengers during the flight.
At least every six months I'll empty my laptop bag and suitcase and remove items that I don't regularly use. There are tons of travel and technology gadgets that seem like good ideas, and it can be tempting to pack backup clothing, batteries, and a half-dozen pairs of shoes, but at some point you're going to be dragging, lifting, and hauling those items while they contribute nothing to your trip. In all but rare cases, items from clothing to chargers are available nearly anywhere in the world, so six pounds of backup gear is probably not worth hauling for a year on the off chance you will need it and can't find a local replacement.
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)
Step 2: Fill empty bottles with your favorite brands. Evelyn Hannon, creator of journeywoman.com, a travel-advice website, swears by Japonesque’s Gotta Go Weekend Travel Bag ($20, amazon.com). A mere four inches high by four inches wide, it’s stocked with eight clear containers for lotions, contact-lens solution, and the like. Fill them three-quarters full. “The storage department on a plane is not pressurized, so items filled all the way to the top will overflow,” says Bond, who learned that the hard way when a sample of Pepto-Bismol exploded all over her clothes.
Along freeways with heavy traffic, carpool lanes (also called “diamond lanes” for the diamond-shape pattern painted on the lane’s surfaces) are identified by black-and-white signs that include details on times and days of enforcement (usually during peak rush hour periods on weekdays). To drive in most carpool lanes, you must at least two people (including the driver) in the car (some lanes in the San Francisco Bay Area have a three-person minimum. Tempted to use the lane when you don’t have the required number of riders? Don’t—fines are staggeringly high, close to $400 in some areas. In the Los Angeles area, carpool lanes may have specific entry and exit zones; adhere to them or you could get a hefty fine.
Our best example of this was whilst in Siem Reap in Cambodia. We were desperate to see the temples of Sambor Prei Kuk, but couldn’t find any tour companies who would take us there for less than $120. After joining the local Facebook group, I asked the question, and within an hour had received a dozen private messages. It took a bit of time to sort them all out, but all seemed legitimate, and after some more research we ended up getting a private driver for $80 from a small company who wouldn’t have shown up in many Google search results.
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.
Fittingly, I'm writing this article from an airplane headed down to Mexico City on a business trip, one of the 100+ flights that I take for business each year, and have been averaging for most of my career. I'm often asked how to make business travel easier, and should you find yourself staring at increased travel in the near future, hope you find a helpful tip or two.
Outsource your airfare benchmarking by signing up for alerts that deliver the best current flight deals to your inbox. Customize your route and dates, and you'll be able to keep tabs on price drops and quickly find out when prices are on the rise. Both Kayak and FareCompare offer notifications for specific city combinations and dates. Another handy fare-alert option comes from our sister site, Airfarewatchdog.
A few staple items I like to have with us at the ready is the Mini Mender from Saje Wellness (this is a nice lotion for the kiddos, another great one is the Mini Moisture!), the Fortify Nasal Inhaler (or the Immune Mist!) and the Chest Cold soothing balm for myself and Justin (to ward off any bugs!). I like travelling with both of these as it’s an easy way to get your dose of essential oils and you know they won’t leak!
Wherever you are headed, you’re going to have great time! Just make sure you think through your list of activities beforehand so that you’re able to bring everything you need and pick the right luggage. And pack light if you can using this ultimate packing checlist. It always helps with mobility. And remember, you are a traveler. Respect the people and places you go to visit. Respect their customs, tip accordingly, try and learn their language, and truly immerse yourself in the culture. Travel changes us to be better than we were by opening our eyes and giving us newfound respect.
“For those trying to pack light, it’s difficult to choose worse items than bottled liquids (and gels, and aerosols). They are heavy, bulky, prone to leakage (especially on airplanes), and a security concern. And with but a little forethought, the vast majority of them can be eliminated entirely. From shampoo/conditioner to toothpaste, from sunscreen to insect repellent, from facial cleanser, foundation, and moisturizer to mascara, bronzer, and face mask, even exfoliants and perfumes, all come in solid versions that will save you weight, space, hassle, and the environmental cost of excess packaging.”
“When there are problems with the flight, most people start out annoyed or even hostile. If I tell the agents what a great job they’re doing and how I admire their patience, they'll often go to extraordinary lengths for me,” says motivational speaker Barry Maher. “I once had a gate agent spend 45 minutes to get me rebooked on another airline. Then she called the gate, grabbed one of my carry-ons and ran with me to security. When I got to the gate, the agent bumped me into first class.”
I am sorry to hear the you got scammed in your travel. That is a very awful experience. But what is inspiring is that you were able to survive and manage such ordeal in your journey. I can’t believe you even experienced Tsunami, that is so scary. Thank you for sharing all of your travel tips it is very helpful. I think that I will keep in mind all of your tips especially travel insurance. It would be hard if you would get injured and get forced with spending thousands of dollars, especially if unprepared. I want to avoid that situation.
“I’m a big fan of objects and items that can perform a double duty. For example, I always pack the sarong I bought in Thailand. Not only is it a beach cover-up, but it can also serve as a tablecloth, picnic blanket, makeshift satchel (hobo style), pillow, head scarf for bad hair days, shawl, changing room screen, privacy curtain for a bunk bed…the list goes on. Having one item serve many purposes keeps my packing to a minimum.”
This travel tip may not be as glamorous as tips about flying in business class, breezing through security lineups, packing ultralight, or finding swanky accommodations for pennies on the dollar (I have all these tips in my repertoire as well). But it’s the travel tip that could save your life - or at least your finances - when the crap hits the fan on the road.
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In general, good advice and info but I sure disagree with #7. Why you need a photo of yourself in all your pix, I don’t know, but I was tired of all your portraits of yourself rather than the places and the people in the places before I was 1/4 thru the list. Not to mention how annoying people who ask strangers to take their photo can be. Take photos of the people and places you see. That’s what I want after my trips and what I’d prefer to see on your blog posts.
If it’s a long business trip, you may have plenty of time to connect with local companies. It is, therefore, a good idea to start contacting them via social media and email a good few weeks or months beforehand so you have pre-scheduled meetings when you land. Also, pack wisely and include a power bank that can recharge your phone. It is also advisable to land a few days before your meetings/events so that you have the time to relax and get rid of the jet lag. Lastly, make sure to do some sightseeing; sometimes inspiration comes from quite unlikely places.
For starters, using an unlocked smartphone when traveling internationally will save you money, as you can purchase local SIM cards and use them for local calling, texting, and, of course, for wireless data to connect you to the internet. This is really helpful as you can tether your other phone, tablet or computer via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, effectively sharing the connection and avoiding roaming charges. An unlocked phone with a local SIM card means uploads of photos and videos can happen as you take them versus waiting to get somewhere that Wi-Fi is offered. Speeds are faster than roaming and if you’re taking part in business conference calls, those sound better, without the delay that comes about when you roam.
Since then, I flew for free to Romania, to Cuba, and I am now about to spend the many miles accumulated in the last couple of years to fly to the other side of the world (location to be revealed soon). One of my favorite tips for business travel is to join at least 3 main frequent flier programs: one with Sky Team, one with Star Alliance, and one with Oneworld.
So many travellers preach that it’s all about experiences not possessions, but you know what? Sometimes possessions can offer beautiful reminders of the experiences you’ve had. I only started buying souvenirs from every country I visited in the last year, and I wish I’d been doing so from the start of my trip. And if you’re worried about space in your backpack, just mail them off to a friend or family once you’ve bought them and your pack will be none the heavier. My friend Jaime collects magnets from every place he visits and I’m so jealous of his collection!