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.

As a productivity trainer, I travel quite frequently. Sometimes, there can be quite a bit of downtime. It could be long delays between flights, or canceled flights requiring you to rebook on a later flight. This often causes travelers a great deal of stress. But don’t fear downtime. If your flight gets delayed, you might default to checking your email or doing other work. But it may actually be more productive to use this unexpected time to meditate or just let your mind wander. This kind of mental break really boosts your productivity and creativity.
The Americans with Disabilities Act states that all public buildings must be wheelchair accessible and have accessible restrooms. Most hotels and attractions are now outfitted with wide doorways and wheelchair ramps. City streets now feature a growing number of sidewalk corners with dropped curbs, and some public transit vehicles are equipped with lifts. Many state and national parks now have fully accessible ADA trails. If you need details, call destinations and services in advance.
Have a few overflow items that just don't seem like they'll fit? Try closing and zipping your suitcase completely (even if you have to sit on it to make it work). Then reopen your bag and try adding the items in any available spot (think corners, spaces between larger items, etc.). Often, once you've compressed the bag by zipping it shut, you'll find just a bit more room once you open it again.
Even if you don't normally use lip balm, it can still be an important item to pack. Breathing dry airplane air, being out in the sun, eating salty foods in transit—travel inevitably leads to mild dehydration and chapped lips. And there's something off-putting and vaguely predatory about constantly licking your lips. Lip balm can also be used to tame frizzy hair ends, soothe dry cuticles, protect skin from windburn, and even unstick a stubborn zipper.

Stay Organized: Keep your laptop bag and luggage organized. This includes cords, medications, papers, and anything else that has a tendency to get tossed into the bag. The more organized your bag, the less likely you are to lose or forget something along the way. Packing cubes, plastic bags, cord organizers, and smaller travel bags are all useful tools to stay organized.


What happens if you arrive in a city, go to grab your email confirmation for your accommodation, and your phone and laptop are out of battery? I always make sure I have a hard copy of my guesthouse name and their address, as well as directions if I won’t be taking a taxi. Once I arrive, I’ll grab one of the hotel’s business cards, so I’ll always know where I’m staying, and can show it to locals to ask for help with finding my way back.
Starbucks addicts, rejoice! Here's a clever way to avoid having to pay a commission fee to convert that last bit of foreign cash to U.S. dollars at the end of a vacation. First, pick up a reloadable Starbucks Card before your international trip. Then, if you have leftover money in the local currency when you’re on your way home, use it to reload your card at the Starbucks location in your international airport.

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 possible, start a running or walking routine. This allows you to stay healthy on the road without relying on specific gym equipment or facilities, and also lets you tour the area you're working in and get a sense of the place outside the cubicles and meeting rooms. I aim to do my running routine in the morning since evenings are usually consumed with dinners or catching up on other work, and it's always interesting to see a place as it wakes up and engages in life's little routines.
I always thought money belts, neck wallets, and bra purses were for carrying “extra” cash or so you didn’t have to leave money behind in your room or lose it all if robbed. For example, I have $50 in my regular purse. If I spend all of it, when I have some privacy, I’ll pull $50 from my hidden stash in my bra purse (attaches to the strap or side of a bra) and put it in my purse. There are comfortable bands that can be strapped around the thigh. These aren’t meant to be accessed during transactions.
Not using a money belt is not great advice. Not showing you have a money belt is. I was express kidnapped in Peru by a fake taxi, robbed at night on a train in India and was pick pocketed in the Philippines. I had an additional incident in Peru with a mugger who slammed into us at tried to snatch and grab one of my two companion’s bag. I carry several extra credit cards, a second cell phone and my passport and hundreds of dollars in backup cash when traveling, which I keep in pockets that are going to require my cooperation for a thief to access. I keep cash and my preferred credit card in separate pockets in my outer garments, and figure that whatever is there has to be of low enough value that it is expendable in the event of criminal action. Amazon has packs of 20 zipper pocket pouches that can be sewn into clothing. In addition to shooting pictures of the serial numbers of my phones and cameras, I email photos of my birth certificate, passport, passport photo, driver’s license, and credit cards (front and back). Plan on being robbed at some point. If you travel long enough, it is going to happen. I live near Khao San Road, and just going to the market is an opportunity for a smash and grab or a sleuthy pick pocketing. I plan accordingly, and use money belts for my passport and Departure Card as well as secondary credit card and emergency cash. Having been to emergency rooms twice in Thailand and Vietnam once, it is necessary to have several hundred dollars worth of cash on hand for emergencies. ATMs and bank balances are nice, but can be pretty worthless if you are not in a major city when fortunes change for the worse.
When you are in a new country, meeting locals is one of the best ways to experience the country’s authentic culture. Smile at strangers, try to learn the local language, and ask questions to the people you meet who live there. You never know, you might end up making a friend who can take you off the beaten path and offer you some true insight into what life is like for those who live there. This kind of experience and knowledge can’t be bought on a tour and can only be achieved by making genuine local friends!
Our flying on business travel tips include many practical tips that can make your business flight more comfortable and enjoyable. For example, what to have in mind when choosing airline, why you should avoid flight connections if you possibly can, why you should check in on-line, how to choose the best seat on the plane, how to beat jet-lag, and many more practical business travel tips.
Space-saving compression bags like Space Bag let you pack up to double the amount of gear—no jumping, sitting or lying on suitcase required! Available at The Container Store and Walmart, these oversize plastic bags are equipped with one-way pressure valves along one edge that release excess air and keep it out. Compression bags work best for bulky items, such as sweaters, coats, down jackets, pillows, beach towels and even wet garments.
One of the best travel tricks is to visit destinations out of season. It’s a great way to save money, as both flights and accommodation are generally available at reduced rates. Unfortunately, not all destinations are suitable to visit out of season – for example, you probably wouldn’t want to visit the Philippines during the typhoon season! That being said, visiting out of season it one of our top tips for traveling South America and is a great way to visit many other places on a smaller budget.
This is why the group tours are popular, why people see things like "seven countries in 12 days" and think that that's a good thing. This is your big overseas trip and you want to see as much as possible – you want to tick as many boxes as you physically can. But that's a mistake. You have to trust that you'll travel again. Instead of trying to see everywhere at once, slow down, get to know one country, or maybe two, and your appetite will be whetted for a lifetime of similar adventures.
When you travel, you’re in the sun more than most people thanks to months of island hopping and beach time, and entire days spent outside exploring. Wear sunscreen every single day, regardless of the weather and temperature, because you really don’t want your trip of a lifetime to result in skin cancer. Plus, it prevents premature ageing! I wear sunscreen every day, even in the middle of winter.
Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. He has spent over a decade providing strategy consulting services to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Patrick can be reached at patrick.gray@prevoyancegroup.com, and you can follow his blog at www.itbswatch.com. All opinions are his and may not represent those of his employer.
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