Thursday, October 8, 2009

How To Survive Business Travel

By Flea - Be A Survivor

In my everyday life I am an “Information Technology Professional”…which is code for I know a bit more about computers than a box of rocks. In my profession I have had to do a fair amount of traveling which has actually been nice. It isn’t so much travel that I get burnt out but just enough to keep things interesting.

I have been across the border to Montreal Canada and even across the sea to Bonn Germany (great food there by the way). I have been to a couple of dozen airports and cities across this great nation. Some of my favorite US cities are Dallas, Memphis and Philly (would not want to live there but a cool place to visit).

For those of you who travel for business I have some survival tips to make your experiences much more pleasant and efficient. Some of these are common sense and some I have learned through the school of hard knocks but hopefully you will find them all useful.

The first thing you need to do especially if you travel a lot is sign up with all the reward programs that airlines, hotels and car rental agencies offer. If you can, pick a few favorites and always try to stay at those places and use those carriers. My company lets up keep frequent flier miles and I have gotten SEVERAL free round trip tickets just from flying with a particular airline more than another.

The carriers I have had the most luck with have been Northwest and Continental (Yeah who’d a thunk it!). I usually try and stay at Marriott brand hotels and I usually stick with National Car Rental. When I rent a car I NEVER go to the counter, I go right to the Emerald club aisle, throw my crap in a car and drive to the booth (benefit of being a member). I get a lot of free perks from Marriott like free rooms and meals and from Continental I have gotten round trip tickets and first class upgrades. If you don’t sign up for these programs and you travel frequently, you are CRAZY!

My second piece of advice is NEVER check bags with an airline, especially in Philly the black hole of baggage. I take my laptop backpack and a roller carry-on, to say I am a master packer would be an understatement. My wife is amazed when I travel for two weeks out of those bags; all it takes is planning. The benefit of not checking a bag should be obvious but I can tell you first hand I have been in meetings with business people wearing sneakers and sweats because the airline lost their bag. It’s also great to get off the plane and head right to where you need to go without having to wait for the bags to be unloaded.

Make sure you have directions printed ahead of time for all the destinations you need to get to. Don’t rely on the rental car to have GPS, If you have a GPS you can bring with you, great, otherwise make sure you HAVE directions.

Some quick tips would be:
- Make sure you have some cash on you.
- Make sure to get plenty of sleep before, during, and after your trip.
- Try to eat reasonably; nothing is worse than upset stomach or diarrhea when you are stuck on a plane.
- If you need to use your personal credit or debit card, call your bank and let them know you are traveling (this will help prevent the Fraud Prevention Unit from freezing access because of charges in strange cities).
- Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water.
- Even if it is a business trip try and see some sights if you can.
- Bring reading material like books or magazines to read in the hotel and on the plane.
- Dress comfortably when you are going to airports because security can be a nightmare, slip on shoes (sneakers) and sweats are what I usually wear. I will change to business attire when I get to my destination.
- Be patient, delays in travel are inevitable…screaming at the airline employees won’t get you anywhere. In fact I have gotten fast tracked and bumped up by being SUPER NICE to them.
- Most importantly try to have some fun!

...that is all.

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7 comments:

  1. Luckily, I don't have to travel...but this sounds like some good advice to me. I like it when we can get the benefit from someone elses' experience. It sure makes things a lot simpler!

    Thanks for the information...

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  2. Good advice, minimilist is best. However, being a solo traveller and not having any checked bags is one of the terrorist flags for DHS. So make sure you don't do any other things that will get you flagged and body cavity searched, i.e. last minute, cash ticket purchases; wierd liquids or solids in your bags; forgetten knives, guns, or bullets in your bags; have a bad attitude; have anything that shows you are a veteran, Ron Paul supporter, anti-abortionist, constitutionalist, etc.

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  3. As a solution to the problem Jack mentioned you could acquire an old beat up suitcase and put some old worn-out clothes and stuff in it and check it. That might keep you off the terrorist watch list and if it was lost or stolen it wouldn't matter.

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  4. Great tips Flea. I've never flown before but I've always heard to pack lightly and not give any luggage to the airport.

    matthiasj
    Kentucky Preppers Network

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  5. I have flown hundreds of times, never checking a bag and DHS hasn't kicked in my door yet...I have been the lucky contestant at the security checkpoint exactly once...the guy gave me cheap thrill and let me go on my way.

    Keep in mind I am carrying bags, I just take them on the plane or gate check them (when available).

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  6. I travel a lot, good advice. I used to be a heavy packer, but learned my lesson on that. Don't check bags anymore, but really get frustrated with those carrying on too much!

    Just don't take too much cash, ask Ron Paul Campaign workers!

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  7. One thing that might make business travel a little more pleasant is to stay in serviced apartments rather than hotels. I've found that it always feels a little more like living in a country for a while. A sterile hotel establishes you as a tourist or business traveller but a serviced apartment makes it feel like home while you're there.

    ReplyDelete