This is a no-brainer, but it's something that many travelers don't think to do. If you missed the cancellation window for your hotel, restaurant, or car booking but can still change the reservation date free of charge, move your reservation back by several weeks or months. Then call back to cancel with a different representative. Sneaky? Sure. But it works, and you'll never get stuck with a lousy cancellation fee again.
Sure, you know how to book a hotel on your own because you’ve got a credit card and the Internet. But chances are you’re not booking a hotel as well or as cheaply as you could. Don’t feel bad about your amateur mistakes. All you need is a little instruction, and, well, a credit card and the Internet. To turn you from hotel amateur to hotel pro, we’ve probed the minds of lodging experts to hear their tips on saving the most money and maximizing every hotel stay you book. These are their essential hotel hacks.
I keep a “quick fix” kit in my cabinet and grab it for trips. It contains earplugs, a sleep mask, lip balm, ibuprofen, and extra contact lenses. I also bring flavored tea bags to relax with a cup of tea no matter where I am. As for clothing packing tips, I keep it simple with lots of black. It goes with everything and is difficult to stain! Spanish Sabores
What happens if you don't follow the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) 3-1-1 rule for carry-on luggage? Attempt to bring a large bottle of shampoo or a full-size gel deodorant through the security line and the TSA will likely confiscate your stuff, holding you up in line in the process. So get familiar with the agency's rules: All liquids brought onto planes must be in 3.4-ounce bottles or smaller and inside a single, clear, quart-size zip-top bag.
You got it. MINI EVERYTHING. When it comes to the items in your toiletry bag, pack the travel size of everything you need if you can find it. My face serums from SkinCeuticals come in travel sizes, plus my Lavender and Rose mists from Saje come in a smaller size as well. You can easily find travel size deodorants, shampoo, and conditioners, toothbrushes, etc.
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.
Good advice. Here’s a dozen more. (1) Packing a towel: get a thin, cotton towel used in Turkish Hamams. They pack to nothing; dry out fast; double as a sarong, Mosque head covering, or picnic cloth. (2) Universal sink stopper – don’t leave home without one. (3) As much silk, light cotton, Gor-tex, and synthetics as you can tolerate. Dries fast, light weight to pack. (4) Prescription scripts – diabetics know this is critical; others can use the advice as well. (5) Money belts – absolutely use them!!!!! (6) Lunchtime museum visits – check opening hours!! MANY close at lunch. (7) Locks: Yes, but add thin fishing lead wire (loops on both ends). Lock luggage together or to the overhead bin of buses and trains. (8) City Attraction Cards: some work; most don’t unless you want to race from museum to museum. Do the math first. Often transit cards are a better deal than the full event cards. (9) MAJOR sites/museums: book admission times/fees on line in advance. Why stand in line at the Louvre, etc. when you could be inside appreciating. (10) Double-check all opening hours on line and ask TIC what sites are closed (for renovation; lack of funds; you name it). All guide books, no matter how useful, are out of date the minute they hit the stores. (11) Learn to use Kindle (or similar) for travel reading but as NOT guide books (worthless). (12) Location, location, location. Sometimes, that cheap hotel/hostel/apartment in the boonies is worth the savings, but not if you want/need a quick refresher in the afternoon. AND, always ask floor level and elevator availability when renting an apartment! European floors begin on the “ground” level, not “first floor” — and the stair cases can be very high. Not all of us are twenty-something Australians who can climb mountains with full packs.
Despite the constant rise of popularity in Skype and other modes of video conferencing, meeting in person has not become an extinct activity. If you are a young professional or recent graduate, business travel will likely be part of your job at some point. If you happen to be a lucky consultant, you will reach frequent traveler status faster than you can say “priority boarding." After reaching the frequent traveler status just a few months into my new job, I hope to bring some value to those who share aspects of my life on the road.
Start by collecting all of your important documents in a travel document organizer. (This travel organizer holds a passport, ID, credit cards, coins, documents, a boarding pass, and a pen!) By bringing all your important information together, this will help ensure you have everything you need to get from one place to the next. Not sure what you need? Here’s your international travel checklist, document-wise:
“I couple the carry-on mentality with wearing my bulkiest clothing items for the travel itself. If you sport your bulkiest shoes and a jacket, you can clear plenty of space for more items in your carry-on while having an extra layer for the chilly plane ride. I also pack a large plastic bag in my carry-on that I can use after passing security to redistribute any items from my luggage and store my shoes overhead during the flight. Bring a pair of comfortable socks and enjoy your upgraded shoe-free leg room, all while experiencing the relief of embracing the minimalist approach to packing and enabling your trip to be filled with experiences rather than clutter.”
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.
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.
Recently, for example, a nursing mother was told by a TSA agent that she couldn't bring a breast pump with empty milk bottles on board the plane. (Legally, she could.) In 2007, the TSA lifted its ban on regular lighters, but many screeners still confiscate them. (Legally, they can't.) The moral of the story: Familiarize yourself with the TSA's rules and regulations, because you can't necessarily expect your security screener to be well informed.
When possible, even on business trips, I try to avoid hotels and stay with a member of one of my homestay networks. I find the genuine contact and family atmosphere a welcome change from conference hotels. Yes, there's some transportation logistics, but generally, I find it worth the schlep across town to make new friends and get my batteries recharged.
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.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few valuable lessons that I would love to share with budding entrepreneurs, saving them from making the same mistakes I did. I have two tips when it comes to saving on hotel bookings. One, call the hotel and book directly. They would gladly offer you a better deal as they will save money from paying commission to the booking websites. Two, it also pays off to book last minute, reserving a room after 6 p.m. on the day of your arrival could bag you an even better deal.
All these tips are great, but I truly appreciate the perspective about Sunrise is better than Sunset. I know I am probably in the minority here, but the freshness of morning is a rebirth for me. And a dazzling sunrise does more for lifting my spirits than almost anything else. Whatever problems I had yesterday, now, with this new sunrise, I have a chance at a fresh start. (Don’t get me wrong…I love a romantic sunset too!)
Also, there are plenty of ways to take photos of yourself without asking strangers to do it. I’ve asked someone to take a photo of me exactly twice over the past five years. Buy a tripod, use a selfie stick, balance your camera on something. Regardless of that, being annoyed by someone who could be on a trip of a lifetime and wanting to capture a special moment, is kind of sad to me. As I said in the post, I really recommend not judging people because they travel in a different way to you. Or in this case, wish to capture their travels in a different way.
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.
I book all of my flights through Skyscanner, because it consistently finds cheapest deals. The key here is to keep things flexible: I look at flights to an entire country (or search for “everywhere” if I’m not sure where to head next) and look at prices over a whole month. I don’t collect points and miles, but I still rarely spend more than $500 on a long-haul flight.
No matter where I’m traveling, I like to maximize my business trips by scheduling time for what I like to call the big three — existing client visits, new business meetings and professional development opportunities. Before heading out, think about which contacts are based in that area and plan to host a dinner or grab a quick coffee with them. These face-to-face meetings go a long way in maintaining relationships with existing clientele as well as forming connections with potential business partners. To maximize your time out of office, look into any additional conventions or meet-ups you can attend to either strengthen your skill set or learn something new. Being in a foreign learning environment can also be fantastic for networking. If you seek out opportunities in these big three areas, no minute will be wasted.
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.
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.
For example, Southwest Airlines boards their planes using a letter-based grouping system. Passengers check in no earlier than 24 hours before their flight and receive a number and letter combination (like A23 or B14). Passengers line up in groups of five, loosely in order and board when your group is called. It’s open seating on Southwest so you get pick your seat.
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.
Don’t forget to squeeze in some light exercise in between flights and meetings. A 30-minute walk around the airport or a simple stretching routine when you feel tired is often all that is needed to refresh. Exercising also keep the body metabolizing at the ideal rate, which means you can sleep better at night and not have to worry about possible health problems ruining the trip.
I travel a lot for work, from Florida to Vegas to Ecuador, and I’m usually on a bus, train, boat or airplane! I visit trade shows, I speak at conferences, and I visit clients. The key to success when you are constantly traveling is organization. I have a written day planner where I can see my week at a glance, which helps me prepare my flights and schedule, as well as not overlap or miss any details.
I travel everywhere with a reusable filter water bottle. That’s even in the UK. This lets me avoid buying bottled water when the tap water isn’t potable and keeps me safe. It also stops me contributing to the increasing problem of plastic in landfills and oceans. Even when the tap water is good to drink but smells or tastes bad – even of chlorine my filter water bottle gets rid of it for me.
No, it is not a good idea. Liberals have been giving these people the idea they are special and privileged above the rest of Canadians simply because their ancestors lived here before Europeans arrived. This is creating animosity and division like we have never seen before. All Canadians should be officially simply Canadians. Leave our historic traditions and symbols alone and stop trying to tear down our statues of our first PM, John A MacDonald.
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!
As the TSA screening protocol has expanded, I've found small ways to save time during airport screening; I make sure that metal (watch, keys, change, phone, etc.) is in my computer bag - not on my person. And since airport requirements differ, I always assume the TSA will need to see my boarding pass a second time. Finally, for those wearing dress shoes through airport security, consider trading in your laces for a pair of slip-ons. You never know when you may need those two minutes you'll save.
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!
This rip-off is especially noxious because it is based on a lie—that the fuel surcharge somehow isn't part of the regular fare. How bad it is? Recently, British Airways posted a round-trip from Boston to London with a base fare of $208, plus $230 in government/airport/security taxes and fees and a $458 "carrier imposed" (read: "fuel") surcharge. Ridiculous!