By James Drakeford
Posted: 11th May 2012 12:27
Business travel can be a double-edged sword. While you get to visit some of the best cities this planet has to offer, you are generally too busy or too tired to enjoy it fully. Here’s a few tips to make the eight hour flights, the stale cellophane wrapped sandwiches, and the panic of ‘have I remembered everything?’ that little bit more bearable.
Regardless of whether you have any business trips planned you should already have a travel bag packed. Having the peace of mind knowing everything that got you through your last trip and the trip before that is already nestled at the back of your wardrobe means that you will never again wake up in the middle of the night to do that final check through.
If at all possible try to travel light so that you don’t need to check in. That way you won’t have to hang around at the airport upon arrival waiting to be reunited with your luggage or not at all as the case may be. Take reading material which you can dispose once you reach your destination, pack tightly with socks going inside spare footwear, and don’t waste your time packing towels and toiletries that will be provided by the hotel. Always keep important documents, money and keys on you personally to make sure they don’t go missing in action.
The first trick to booking travel is making sure you do your research. Scour the net looking for the option that suits you best (whether price or departure time is your preference) using comparison website such as Fare Compare and Sky Scanner. If there are more than one of you making the trip then check individual ticket prices as well as group purchases. Airlines have a tendency of booking significantly more expensive tickets as a group while cheaper seats are scattered around the plane unoccupied.
Also, never hold a grudge against an airline for more than two years. Travel firms and airlines are constantly changing standards so the company that you despised back in 2000 is probably better than the company you dislike right now.
Mileage Credit Cards
Airline mileage credit cards are popular among business travellers because the cardholder can quickly earn air miles or other travel reward bonuses by doing nothing more than charging their normal business expenses on one of these specific cards.
The rewards are generally reaped once you reach 20,000 air miles so the frequent traveller will likely receive a free flight each year.
Another sparkling advantage of using a mileage credit card is that it tends to make the time and effort involved in filing expense reports less mind boggling and soul destroying.
Credit cards can also be a great way of getting into airport lounges. The £350 annual fee for an American Express Platinum for example, includes complimentary access for cardholders to the clubs of Continental, Delta and Northwest.
One mistake that is often made by the casual business traveller is booking a hotel near to the airport. As you will only be making that return trip the once it would be far more beneficial to book a hotel nearer to your meetings or events. It is equally important to look out for the hotels that provide free breakfast and internet service as this will save you money on the road.
While Mileage Credit Cards can acquire you free flights, why not look into the hotel reward packages that are on offer in order to earn free hotel stays amongst other freebies in exchange for your loyalty towards a brand.
Many of the reward schemes have various different luxuries on offer. To cipher the best deal work out the number and variety of ways to earn points that you will use, number of points awarded for hotel stays, and the number of branches the hotel company have in destinations that you travel to. The Hilton HHonors program for example is a global brand with hotels all over the world. You can gain points through train travel on Amtrak and Deutsche Bahn, 10 points for ever qualifying $1 US spent, as well as points for hotel stays and air travel.
Other little gems...
‘You don’t get if you don’t ask’ is a key phrase to remember whilst travelling. If your flight is delayed then ask for a complimentary meal or drinks voucher. When you check into your hotel – enquire about an upgrade. If you are taking partners or spouses on business trips with you, then ask organisers if they can procure tickets for events and activities around the city. After all, what’s the worst they can say?
Any stickler for organisation will tell you that it is also important to make sure you either print maps or ensure that your GPS is programmed with all of the destinations you require for the duration of your stay.
Airports and aeroplanes are also a haven for germs. Take vitamin C supplements before, during, or after flight in order to keep your immune system up – and for the motion sickness sufferers try eating plenty of ginger root and pick up a sea-band or bracelet from your local health store or pharmacist.