Valuable Tips to Save Time and Money on Business Travel

businesstravel_mainThe 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 Gobusinesstravel_bag

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.


businesstravel_planeCarry On

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.

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Time-Saving Travel Tips: What to Pack for a Ski Weekend

skiweekend_downhillGreat news for winter sports fans:  The 2014 Winter Olympics begin in Sochi, Russia, less than two months from now, on February 7, 2014.  The spotlight on the various alpine and freestyle skiing events will likely motivate both skiing enthusiasts and skiing novices, spurring weekend getaways to local ski resorts.  To help less-knowledgeable skiers save time and relieve stress, we offer a few tips on what to pack (and what not to pack) for a ski weekend.

Prepare for sub-freezing temperatures.  Cold weather is a common (and necessary) part of the ski experience, but there’s a significant difference — in degrees and in kind —  between a stiff January breeze blowing around a street corner and a bone-chilling winter wind at the top of a mountain.  Pack for a worst-case scenario; include:
skiweekend_kid

  • Long underwear
  • Waterproof thermal socks
  • Insulated blue jeans
  • Turtlenecks and/or flannel shirts
  • Heavy sweaters
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof ski pants
  • Insulated gloves and/or mittens
  • A warm hat and/or balaclava and a scarf
  • Ski goggles
  • Lip balm and sunscreen

You can take off some of the apparel as conditions allow, but it’s a lot easier to shed existing layers of clothes than it is to add layers you don’t have.

skiweekend_rentalRent your equipment.  Unless you already own skis, boots, and poles, you might be better off getting your gear at the resort’s rental shop, instead of splurging on everything for a sport you’re just learning.  Rentals can be more cost-effective, and the staff can match you up with the proper equipment for that day’s snow conditions.  Plus, the less you pack, the less you have to lug around.

Bring (or rent) a ski helmet.  For safety reasons, many resorts now mandate that their employees wear helmets when skiing or snowboarding, and the employees are probably much more adept in snow than you are.  Head injuries while skiing or snowboarding are serious matters; a helmet can save your life.

Pack your daily necessities.  That means toiletries, makeup, pajamas, medications, vitamins — all the items that are part of your day-to-day routine.  While virtually all resorts have convenience stores, they’re not as well-stocked as your local supermarket, and you’re unlikely to find a pharmacy in a remote location, let alone a doctor who will write you a prescription without a full workup.

Bring the entertainment.  For some, the fun begins with the après-ski activities.  Make sure you take along your camera, video (or perhaps board) games, your favorite bottle(s) of wine or beer, that book and/or DVD you’ve been hoping to catch up on, and definitely your smile and sense of adventure.  A weekend getaway is a vacation, so take the opportunity to relax in whatever way you see fit.

skiweekend_fireplacePack away some savings, too.  With Travel Plus, you can earn 5% cash back on flight, hotel, and rental-car reservations while enjoying rebates on a variety of travel perks.  Wherever you go, ski safely — and best of luck avoiding a yard sale!