I recently wrote an article entitled Travel Tips for Smart Business Travelers which you can also find on Infobarrel. Here are some additional tips to make your time on the road easier and more productive. Please share your travel tips in the comments section.
1. Use your phone to take a photo of your parking spot at the airport. I must confess I have a bad memory. On more than one occasion, I arrived back at the airport after a week of travel only to spend precious time searching for my car. I worked around this for a while by always parking in the same area but then realized that the easiest way to solve this problem is by taking a quick picture of the parking space number.
2. Print your boarding pass before going to the airport. This will save a great deal of time especially if you follow step 3. Nearly every hotel has a business center so you can log on and print. Don't worry if you forget or if someone is hogging the hotel computer checking Facebook, most major airports now have kiosks away from the ticket counters that allow you to print your pass.
3. For short trips, do not check your luggage. If you have your boarding pass and are not checking luggage, skip the ticketing counter and head straight to the security line. Be sure to follow the guidelines for luggage size and for packing liquids. This also saves time at your destination because you can skip baggage claim as well.
4. Always pack an extra set of clothes. Eventually your flights will be cancelled and you will end up spending an additional day on the road or will regret ordering the spaghetti for lunch. Having a fresh set of clothes as backup makes it a little less stressful.
5. Carry some cash. Not only will you need cash for tips, some places do not take credit cards or require a $10 minimum purchase. You may even need to bribe your cab driver to take you to your destination especially if you are traveling in NYC and they tell you they need to let you out because their "shift is about to end and don't want to get fined."
6. Don't forget your charging cords. We are so connected to our laptops and phones that a dead battery is not only an inconvenience but it can also cost money in lost productivity. Be sure to take your car charger as well if you plan to spend time in the car. There are battery packs available that can recharge your electronics in the event you cannot find a wall socket.
7. Use your phone to take a photo of your car tag. I learned this the hard way during a recent visit to NYC. I returned to the garage where I parked my car and realized I had lost my claim ticket. The parking attendant said it was no problem and only needed my tag number which I unfortunately could not remember (see tip #1). It took some time for them to find my car using only the make and color which cost me precious time and an overly generous tip for their trouble.
8. Download a scanning app for your smart phone so you can scan receipts. I do my travel expense reports on Mondays. It inevitably turns into a scavenger hunt for receipts much to the amusement of my wife. There always seems to be one missing which finally shows up in my suit jacket or car visor. With a scanning app, you can quickly scan your receipt and convert it into a Adobe pdf file to print later or upload to accounting software. I use Scanner Pro but there are many others to choose from.
9. Keep a bag packed. Purchase an extra set of frequently used items to keep in your travel bag. Items to include would be toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, shaving cream, deodorant, sewing kit, etc. Although most hotels have these items available either as complimentary or in their gift shop, the razor they provide leaves much to be desired. One of my fellow road warriors also keeps a fully packed bag in the trunk of his car just in case he gets stuck on the road or needs to go somewhere on very short notice. I don't go that far but do keep an extra tie in my glove compartment in case I get coffee on the one I am wearing.
10. Use your credit card instead of your debit card. Credit card theft is a real problem and thieves are becoming more advanced in how they capture your information. You have more protection with a credit card because you can dispute the charges and no money has come out of your account. If someone captures your debit card information, they can empty out your account quickly leaving you with little or no money to pay your bills while you are trying to resolve the issue with your bank.
11. Be aware of your surroundings. Some travelers are oblivious to what they share publicly especially when they are on the phone. I sat behind someone on a train who reserved a hotel room and gave his credit card number, expiration date and security code to the person on the other end of the line. He was even kind enough to spell out his name. This could have been a very expensive mistake especially if I had a pen.
12. During drink service on the airplane, only order clear liquids-Water, Sprite, or especially Vodka. once during a flight from Kansas City to Detroit, my Diet Coke ended up in the lap of the gentleman sitting next to me. He was wearing khakis and I was absolutely mortified. He took it better than I would have especially since he said he was going to a meeting when we landed. It made for a long awkward flight. Hope his meeting went well. It did help me come up with tip #4.
Please feel free to share your favorite travel tips in the comments section. I travel nearly every week for work and am always looking for new ways to make my travel easier and more productive.
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