For over 25 years, I’ve been a road warrior; traveling frequently from coast to coast and sometimes overseas.
With so much travel under my belt, I want to share my top travel tips so other business travelers like you can skillfully navigate the ins & outs of weekly business travel while also ensuring your personal travel is more pleasurable.
My Favorite Things about Business Traveling
Consistency of accommodations and knowing that expectations will be met is critical. Considering the pain and suffering of life on the road, it’s good to know exactly how comfortable your bed will be, the quality of the food and that you can count on dependable service.
It’s also nice to see the world a little bit at a time and go places that you may not pick for personal travel. Who knew how charming and unique so many smaller towns can be all across our country! It also takes you out of your comfort zone and gives you the chance to experience new things, new customs and new places.
Plus, you’re gathering valuable travel reward points with every visit!
My Least Favorite Things about Business Traveling
Sure, there are drawbacks to frequent travel. The wear and tear on your body, plus time away from family and friends. Winter travel requires more layers to clothing to pack and carry, and summer travel brings hordes to the airport. But those things come with the territory and you can prepare.
Expecting the Unexpected
You never know what will happen while traveling. How about the fact that I met my wonderful husband on a flight? Delta Airlines would be proud – Seats 2E and F in 1999. Nothing compares to this, not even my time sitting next to John Elway or James Brown!
Items I Bring Along on Every Trip
• Ear plugs. Not just ear buds for listening to music, but actual ear plugs for noise cancellation.
• My Kindle/iPad for reading, games, content and other time-passing distractions.
• An eye mask for longer flights. You will sleep better!
• A pashmina wrap for chilly moments when those airline blankets simply won’t do.
• Aveda Stress-Fix body crème, a hydrating body lotion with an aroma proven to reduce feelings of stress.
• Almonds as a healthy and filling snack.
• EOS lip balm. Rehydrate those lips after a long flight!
• Hand sanitizer, because those trays, lights, screens and arm rests aren’t cleaned as often as you’d think.
• Gum, for obvious ear pressure issues when they arise. Not to mention fresher breath!
• Ricola Lemon Mint Sugar Free throat drops; both refreshing & helps with dry air.
• A real book focused on work topics because I like turning the pages, writing in the margin and highlighting key passages to share with clients.
• Ladies: travel with shoes/jewelry that don’t set off the scanner to avoid the hassle.
• If you do have to remove shoes because of rods in the heels, bring socks to avoid the dirty floor!
My Best Airport Security Time Saving Tips?
If you’ve been procrastinating about joining TSA pre-check, do it. It will be the best $85 you ever spent, while also ensuring swift security service at every airport. If you have a Platinum AMEX they will pay for the fee, which makes getting TSA pre-check a no brainer!
If you frequently travel airports that have “CLEAR” – use it – you get a personal “concierge” from the beginning of the security line. If there is any line they walk you to the front of the belt and even put bags on the belt for you. Wow!
Be purposeful about traveling times. Avoiding the obvious log-jams of Monday morning and Friday mornings/nights will make your travel life much happier.
The Best Ways to get Rewards/Points
Be consistent with chains you use. (i.e. Marriott, Hilton, Delta, American, Hertz, Avis) Pick a provider for each phase of travel and stick with them.
Sign up for these rewards programs regardless of how often you travel, because it adds up faster than you might think.
Diligently check your points status to ensure you’re getting your earned credits/points.
Call customer service if you’re having a problem and be nice – they frequently give you bonus points for any inconvenience experienced, especially if you’re a longtime member of their points program. (another reason to sign up today to maximize longevity purposes!)
Personally, I stick with American Express for travel – thanks to perks like $200 annual towards travel fees like bag checking, onboard purchases, and more. Amazon also rewards Amex members, and don’t we all buy from Amazon these days?
Why gather points? When it comes to air travel, you’ll eventually earn early boarding, premium seating and other freebies like free flights. For hotels, you’ll get early check-in, late check-out, bonus nights for free and more. Rental companies will provide better pricing and even let you select any car from the entire lot!
Tips on Overcoming Jet Lag & Travel Weariness
Of course, drink lots of water.
Did you know digestion is disrupted during pressurized flight? Minimize the food and you’ll feel better!
Save any drinking of alcohol for the return flight after your meetings have successfully concluded!
Don’t think about the time zone you came from – mentally, live with the time zone you are currently in – make yourself rest or get up with the same routine that you do at home.
Other Airline, Hotel and Car Rental Travel Tips
Desk workers deal with jerks every single day. When you’re nice and patient, it will pay off. “Please” and “Thank You” will get you a long way.
If you’ve got a Platinum American Express, that provides access to airport clubs all across the country! This can more than justify the annual fee with creature comforts raging from snacks and cocktails to free wi-fi and beyond.
Book as early as possible to get the best choices for airline seating. If you’re an “aisle” person, you don’t want to find yourself in the maddening “middle” at the last minute.
Check the difference in airline fare for days/times/fare class – the differences may be minimal from coach to first and might be worth the upgrade!
Download the “app” for every hotel, airline or car rental company. You can often get additional points for using the app to check-in or other tasks as these companies move towards automation.
Hotel Room Booking Tips
I always request a high floor away from street noise, and one that’s close to a stair exit but not the elevator.
There may be a “best view” depending on where you’re going – I don’t care much about that unless I’m staying for a lengthy amount of time – since not in the room much for business travel anyway. But good to keep in mind if you want to see the best view in a particular city!
Bonus Travel Tip
Be sure to sign up for newsletters from your favorite airlines, hotels, car rental companies because there are always points opportunities and last minute deals that you’ll never know about without being on the mailing list.
Safe travels to you all, my fellow road warriors!