When I travel, I am often invited to stay with a local contact. I almost always accept the invitation. Staying in someone's home provides an opportunity to get to know them on a much more intimate personal level. Either I get a home-cooked meal or we eat at the best local restaurants. The closer connection allows for a deeper, more enduring relationship...or pretty fast clarity that it isn't a good match. In any case, it adds an interesting angle to the trip. (The photo is from a recent business trip.)
Fit more in your luggage and avoid folds, creases, and wrinkles by employing the "Bundle Wrapping" method from OneBag.com. This packing strategy involves filling a small pouch with soft items (like socks, underwear, etc.) and then wrapping larger clothing items around the pouch to form a bundle. (Click here to see a helpful diagram of the Bundle Wrapping method.)
One of the first lessons I learned on the road was that your plans will nearly always change. You’ll arrive in a place and hate it and want to leave immediately, or you’ll fall in love with a destination and want to spend longer there. You’ll make friends with a group of awesome people and want to change your plans so you can travel with them for longer, or you’ll find out about an amazing town that’s nearby and want to head there instead.
Your kids, especially toddlers, will ALWAYS need less than you think they will, especially when it comes to toys. An iPad or tablet plus a very small bag of favorite toys can get you to your destination, while the actual place you are visiting is often entertainment enough. With so many new sights and sounds to explore, you’ll find your toddler ditching that bag of cars you packed in exchange for every stick, rock, and leaf along the way. Walking on Travels
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.
One of my top travel hacks is to create an Excel/spreadsheet that I share with my other travel companions to ensure that we thought about the major details of the trip. A lot of people get really overwhelmed when trip planning as there are so many details to think about. However, if you like to do independent travel, a spreadsheet can be really helpful for figuring out the logistics of your trip ahead. This way, you can just show up at your destination with no stress.
When you receive something fragile in the mail, save the bubble wrap. It's perfect for protecting breakables in your luggage, from wine bottles (staple the bubble wrap around the bottle) to snow-globe souvenirs. Packing apples or pears for a snack on the plane? Fold them in bubble wrap to prevent bruising. A stapled sleeve of bubble wrap also makes a suitable iPad or iPhone protector.
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.
Excellent advice about talking to locals. When you get to know the people who live there, it really makes for a wonderful experience. And you are so right, they have the best insider tips! We’re guilty of focusing only on photos at one point as well. When we started blogging as a career, we nearly lost ourselves in the work. We now always have to remind ourselves to have balance. It’s amazing to be able to capture a moment at our fingertips, but we feel it’s just as important to stop and take it all in. It’s easy to miss the moment when you’re looking through the lens. Thanks for sharing!
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Access to Culture (formerly Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide). In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE centre, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, and the National Business Journals. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards.
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.
Are drinks free in business class? Normally, yes. There are certain Middle East airlines that don’t serve alcohol at all. But generally, drinks are free in business class, even on domestic flights. One of the best business class perks is the Champagne before take off. It always makes me feel so glamorous. Business class drinks are often of a higher quality than in economy, both for liquor and for wine.
When it comes to travel, your flight(s) will likely be your biggest expense. Save money by signing up for flight deal websites like Scott’s Cheap Flights, The Flight Deal, and Secret Flying. You’ll get epic flight deals straight to your inbox, saving you time and money. Also be sure to sign up for airline newsletters, since that is where they will announce their sales first!
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.
Studies show that frequent business travelers, who travel on average more than two weeks per month, are at a higher risk for a number of health concerns, including weakened immune systems, obesity, or mental health problems. Being prepared and smart throughout the booking, traveling, and working away process can influence some major attitude adjustments when it comes to business travel. Limiting stress on the mind and body can make more of a difference than you could ever imagine, so why not try out a few, and turn the worst part of your job to something truly enjoyable?
We all want to keep our money secure while traveling. Prepaid credit cards, which are often billed as a safer and more convenient alternative to carrying cash abroad, might seem like a smart option. You purchase a card and load it with funds in your preferred currency ahead of your trip. And if your card gets lost or stolen, you can cancel it immediately. Simple, right? Unfortunately, it's not so simple.
When you arrive to check into your hotel, make sure you are upbeat and smiling. Greet the hostess and say, "It has been a very long day. I'm betting that you have a really nice room waiting for me." Normally, they smile and keep checking you in. At this point, just keep quiet. I am betting you will be very pleased when you open the door to your room. A smile and upbeat personality will get you a long way.
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.
It may seem touchy-feely, and I've often been guilty of forgetting this admonition, but generally kindness is repaid with kindness, whether it's helping a fellow traveler, or giving a smile and kind word to one of the many travel industry employees you'll come across. It's just as easy to become angry and rude, but you just might get slightly better service and also keep yourself less stressed with a little kindness.
Thanks for sharing the link, Hayley! I’ll check it out. The flights I buy are usually super-cheap, though, so I don’t feel as though I’m spending a ton of money on them as it is. As an example, this year, I’ve flown Lisbon to Cape Town for $250 return, Copenhagen to Los angeles for $100 one-way, and Rome to Tokyo for $200 return. So I’m not like, oh man, I really wish I wasn’t spending this much money on flights. But as I said, will check it out nonetheless!
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.
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.
That said, remember that a work trip isn’t your own personal spring break. Even if you’re technically off the clock, after-hours events with your co-workers are not the time to ride the mechanical bull, challenge a local to a drinking contest, or re-enact your favorite scene from Coyote Ugly. What happens at the regional sales conference doesn't necessarily stay at the regional sales conference—and you don't want to run the risk of your bad behavior making it back to your boss. A good rule of thumb is not to drink more on a work trip than you would at any other business function.
4. Stay safe in transport. Avoid air travel mishaps by frequently checking whether your flight has been rescheduled or cancelled. When using bus services, make sure to go with trusted companies that are have many reviews online. Moreover, try booking your tickets in advance whenever possible, so you don’t end up stranded on remote bus stops with no transport in sight. If you are hiring local taxis, agree upon the fare in advance in case the vehicle doesn’t have a meter. Also, carry a map with you to avoid getting lost.
For example, when I went to Cuba, I collected several bags of computer cables, electronics, and other household and personal items to donate through a local casa particular run by a family. When I went to Myanmar, I linked up with a group of punk rockers who volunteered to feed the homeless and provide school supplies to rural areas. My friends and I brought supplies and supported their compassionate work, and I wrote multiple articles about them.
You can also land a cheaper flight by knowing when to shop. Although not all business travelers have the luxury of planning a trip six weeks in advance in order to catch that well-known Tuesday at 3:00 P.M. trick, most flights are also slightly cheaper just after midnight any night, after all 24-hour holds are lifted. Deleting browser cookies can also work to your advantage, as, with them, ticket prices tend to go up after you’ve visited multiple travel websites.
Most prepaid credit cards come with some surprising hidden fees, such as inactivity fees, reloading charges, monthly fees, activation fees, and so on. John Ulzheimer, CEO of SmartCredit.com, told CNNMoney, "Consumers need to realize that any insinuation that a prepaid card is less expensive than a debit card is false, and any claim that it will help you rebuild credit is just a lie."
The number one thing to remember if you’re going on a business trip is that you have limited time in your hands. Plan your days, weeks and month ahead. Maximize this time by organizing and setting meetings before you fly out, use the travel time to do one of these two things: your research on the place and people you are visiting or event you’re attending or administrative work.
What great tips! I’ve been traveling for years and there is a learning curve for sure. I had a sharp learning curve when the kids arrived because boy are traveling things different when you take the littles! One tip that never changes no matter the group or your changing situation is your #25 “Tell your traveling partner how much you appreciate them. That is SO true. Being appreciative of your family makes all things better – good times, bad times and everything in between.