Female Business Traveler on PlaneCredit: canstockphoto

Business travel can be challenging with long work hours and evenings away from the family. Over the years I learned a few tips to make travel a little easier.  Whether you are an experienced traveler or just started a new job requiring travel, here are 12 smart tips to make your travel less stressful and more productive. Please feel free to leave your travel tips in the comments section below. 

  1. Sign up for hotel and airline rewards -one of the perks of traveling for business is earning travel rewards for personal travel. Sign up for the rewards programs for the major hotels and airlines. Most of these programs are free although American Express Membership Rewards program does charge an annual fee. It doesn't take long to earn free flights and free hotel rooms if you travel frequently.
  2. Check in curbside at the airport-skip the long line at the ticket counter and check your baggage curbside. Be sure to tip the skycap to make sure your luggage ends up where you do.
  3. Try to stay at a hotel with a restaurant or room service-travel enough and you will inevitably get delayed. There is nothing worse than arriving at your hotel at 11pm when most restaurants are closed and finding the only nourishment available are stale snacks from the vending machine.
  4. Ask for a hotel room away from the elevator-no one can get rest with the constant dinging and rowdy inebriated people getting off the elevator at 2am.  If you tend to be the inebriated person at 2am, you will want to request a room next to the elevator so you are more likely to get to your room and not disturb people like me.
  5. Put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door-some housekeepers like to start their day very early and can interrupt your sleep or shower.  For your safety, you should also deadbolt the door and put the safety lock on.  You can take the sign off the door when you leave the room so it will be cleaned.
  6. Unplug the alarm clock-most hotels are opting for very cool yet complicated alarm clocks that will sync with your electronic devices. Unfortunately it can be difficult to program or worse yet it may set by the previous guest for 3am for an unexpected wake up call.
  7. Use your cell phone for your alarm clock-your cell phone will not fail if the power goes out. Order a wake up call as a back up. Do not rely on a wakeup call from the front desk because they are not always reliable.
  8. Prepare your wardrobe for the next day-by preparing the night before, you will be able to take care of any issues that may come up such as an alarm not going off, a broken iron or power outage.
  9. Check the hotel's website to see when they renovated last- every property looks good on the internet. If you have not stayed at the property previously, a good way to judge the condition of the hotel, look online to see when it was last remodeled.  Also do a search on the name and location of the hotel.  I recently did a search on a hotel I was about to stay and found there was a shooting in the lobby last year. Not someplace I am interested in staying.
  10. Bring sanitizer- everyone knows to avoid the comforter but the most germs in your hotel room can be found on the tv remote and phone. Avoid the water glasses if they just have a paper lid on it.  I avoid the coffee maker as well. A friend of mine brings her own linens when she travels.  
  11. Eat local-ask the front desk or concierge for dining recommendations. You can eat at the big chain restaurants back home. Take this opportunity to enjoy the local flavor.
  12. Complain about your trip-a mistake many new travelers make when they travel is to rave to their significant other about the lush accommodations or wonderful meal they just enjoyed.  It is not until their spouse tells them about the kids fighting all day and their wonderful dinner of hot dogs and macaroni and cheese do they know they made a mistake. Make it known that your hotel is barely habitable and the food cold and inedible and you miss your family very much.

Please leave feedback if you try any of these and they work or share your own personal tips. Safe travels!