The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) predicts that U.S. business travel expenditures this year will increase 6.6 percent over 2013 figures, with companies paying out $289.8 billion on over 460 million trips. That’s a lot of money disbursed on a lot of flights, hotel rooms, rental cars, and other travel needs, to say nothing of all that time workers will be spending away from home. If you’re one of the millions of road warriors who live out of a suitcase for a fair portion of your year, we have some tips to help ease the hassles of business travel.
Keep Your Essentials Ready to Go
Depending on whom you ask, your essentials might include everything from eyeglass cases (to hold assorted accessories) and sanitary wipes (to fend off germs and medical expenses) to earplugs (for obvious reasons) and smartphone GPS apps (to reduce rental-car fees), among many others. You can determine which items you absolutely need when you travel on business. To save time on packing, though, try leaving your essentials in your luggage when you return from a trip. (Restock as required, of course.)
Pack Once, and Use a Checklist
Forgetting to pack something is easy to do (and fairly commonly done). To avoid leaving anything behind, make a checklist (which may differ from trip to trip), and devote whatever time is required to check it off all at once. Packing in stages can cause you to overlook certain items (or include them twice and thereby take up valuable space and weight).
Power (and App) Up
To avoid power-outage worries and frustration, make sure you fully charge all of your electronic devices the night before you leave. To eliminate all those pesky scraps of paper that can clutter your wallet or disappear without a trace — from travel receipts to business documents and more — load your devices with travel apps designed to keep your business trip on track.
Checked bags can cost time and money, especially if they’re over the weight limit or (worse) you need to change flights at the last minute. If your trip will last more than a day or two, compare the cost of hotel laundry services against checked-bag charges to figure out whether you need that extra bag or can make do by flying in business-ready attire.
Play Your Cards
Frequent flyer cards offer upgrades and other perks (even for economy-class flyers), and the more clubs you join, the more you’re covered. Don’t limit your choices to airline offerings; hotels and rental-car agencies also dole out the rewards.
Join Travel Plus
Whether you’re hitting the road to close a deal, hold a client’s hand, or expand your network at a conference or convention, you can earn 5% cash back on flight, hotel, and rental-car reservations by making them through Travel Plus. You can also get rebates on a wide range of airline services, hotel extras, rental-car fees, Wi-Fi, and more. When you join Travel Plus, you can save on all your travel needs.