It is pretty trendy these days to lament how difficult business travel has become – “the airlines charge for everything,” “the security at airports is a pain,” “there are so many other travelers,” blah, blah, blah.
I beg to differ.
I find this a fairly great time to travel, for all sorts of reasons: many airports are very comfortable and have nice amenities, such as Wi-Fi, an abundance of outlet plugs, shopping and a wide variety of restaurants. This helps us avoid ever being bored while traveling. Additionally, it’s easy to be productive while on the road. . . I could go on, but you get the idea.
All of that said, there still are some tricks of the trade that can make you an even more savvy business traveler. Here are my Top 7:
1. Check in, online, exactly 24 hours ahead of your flight: I actually hate sharing this suggestion because I don’t really want too many people to know it, but it’s my job to share great business tips, so alas, here goes: If you don’t like your seat assignment, or don’t have a seat, you can easily fix this by checking in exactly 24 hours before your flight. As you likely know, that’s when airlines allow you to check in online. What you may not know is that most airlines typically release a bulk of seats at that time as well – emergency rows, bulk seats, that sort of thing. By checking in as soon as they become available, you can change your seat location and nab a great spot.
2. Bring extra batteries: Yes, an extra battery for your computer is not cheap, but it is great to have when you are trying to get a project done on a long flight. You’ll also need extra batteries for your noise-cancelling headphones that will eliminate unwanted noise during a flight. (You have some, right?)
But here’s the real kicker: Buy and bring an extra battery or charger for your smartphone. iPhones are notorious for not having enough battery life or the ability to change out batteries, but did you know that for less than $50 you can buy an external, extra iPhone battery? Yep, it’s true.
3. Use apps: While we are on the subject, there are no shortages of great apps that can make your travel life much easier:
- Flightstats: Allows you to easily check for flight delays, or use your airline’s app to do the same
- TripIt: Allows you to organize trip details – flights, car rentals, hotel reservations – into one master online itinerary — even if arrangements are booked at multiple travel sites
4. Find a haven: Airports can be very hectic, but locals know where to go to find some peace and quiet. And you can learn their tricks at AirportHavens.com. On this site you can see where regular fliers escape the hustle and bustle while at the airport.
5. Get maximum frequent flyer miles: Recently while in New York I asked the hotel where I was staying if they gave miles for my airline and found out that they do. I had stayed at this location at least five times before I asked about this benefit. Other ways you can receive frequent flyer miles is by using certain credit cards, opening a new credit card, shopping online and renting a car.
6. Bring along a portable fabric steamer: Again, for less than $50, a portable travel fabric steamer will make your travel days much easier. This handy device will save you time and effort when you need to get wrinkles out of the clothes you just unpacked.
Do you have any business travel tips that you swear by? Share your thoughts below with the SBOC community.
About Steve Strauss
Steve Strauss is one of the world’s leading small business experts. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. Steve is also the author of the Small Business Bible and his latest book is Get Your Business Funded: Creative Methods for Getting the Money You Need. A popular media guest, Steve is a regular contributor to ABC News Now and frequently appears on television and radio. His business, The Strauss Group, creates unique, actionable, entertaining, and informative multi-media small business content.