Friday, August 5, 2011

Top 5 Best Business Travel Tips

Business travellers are a special breed. Practically living in the sky, these road warriors blaze the trail for the rest of us weekenders. Business travellers know where the best restaurants are, the best VIP lounges, and which airports have free wi-fi.

So we've rounded up the best tips from business travellers here:

Pack light - Be ruthless when you pack. If you're smart, you can go on a six-week trip with nothing bigger than carry-on (even you, ladies). If you stick to one colour scheme and add a few accessories, you'd be surprised how far a few outfits can go. Heels are almost never necessary, really. Flat shoes can be just as formal and take up much less space in your suitcase. Not checking a bag can be the difference in catching or missing your flight, and mean you sail right to the door while the rest of the plane crowds around baggage claim.

Spend smart - Budgeting when you travel is all about knowing how to save money, but also about knowing when it pays to spend. Coach is fine on a one-hour hop from Chicago to Minneapolis, but a 20-hour haul to Australia might call for that $150 upgrade for extra leg room. That said, look for discounts. If you don't find them, then ask... what's the worst that can happen? Look for deals with freebies like breakfast or wi-fi to save money. Paying with your credit card helps maximise exchange rates as well.

Use your gadgets - Nearly every traveller has a smartphone now, so get the most from it. Use the camera to take pictures of your hotel or where your car is parked so you don't need to remember. Use Google maps and GPS to find your way around unfamiliar cities. Download iPhone travel apps (or Blackberry travel apps) to help you predict the weather, calculate currency exchange, keep track of your flight, and even translate signs for you. Load your iPod or iPad with movies and books, or look for that wi-fi connection to kill time on layovers.

Be loyal - It pays to join loyalty programmes. Accumulating miles can not only gain you free flights in the future, but come with perks like priority seating, discounts on hotels and rental cars, free wi-fi, and you'll be the first in line to get upgraded. Many travellers report that they simply get treated better as part of the hotel or airline's loyalty programme.

Smile - It should go without saying, but alas it doesn't nowadays. Be nice to people. Yes you're tired, but probably so are they. I've said it before, but being polite to check-in agents and TSA screeners will get you much further than snapping or shouting will. It goes further than that though: offering a sympathetic smile to a struggling parent will do more than glaring at them when they're trying to calm their child. Being chatty with taxi drivers will help them get to know you and share their insider knowledge of the city (or just not screw you over). Being friendly opens you up to a world of new and unique experiences when travelling.

1 comment:

  1. I'm willing to try anything to help keep my business travel expenses in check. As a small business owner, it's really hard to keep those costs down!