I might be what you would call a true travel professional. After years traveling for business, and now being in the business of helping others travel, I’ve learned how to get the most out of trips, especially when things go wrong. So here is part one of my favorite tips and travel hacks to get the most out of every business trip you embark on:
Embrace how technology can help you
Technology can make your life both easier and more complicated, but if you utilize it correctly, you’ll seriously streamline the process. Back up important documents in electronic form, collect and store all street addresses ahead of time, and log your parking spot electronically
And always have a backup plan. Travel is my business so I know it better than most, but anyone can download smartphone apps that can help you find alternative flights in the event of delays or cancellations.
But, keep it simple with devices. Look in your carry-on bag: Is there a laptop in there? A tablet? An eBook reader? A music player? It’s too much. Most business travelers are far better served by carrying just two devices. Trim down to the basics: a good smartphone and either a tablet or a laptop. They’ll do everything you need.
Find good resources, and use them
Even in this day of the internet, I still use a travel agent. Travel agents can match or beat any online price and they offer personal service, which can be especially important if you encounter any difficulties or complications while traveling.
Also, enroll in airline rewards programs. You’ll receive complimentary upgrades and preferred status along with airline perks the general public will not receive.
Check your emotions
Don’t let frustration get the best of you, because you know who else is probably frustrated in that airport? Everyone. So be nice and you’ll be shocked at how far it gets you.
This may sound corny, but in an age where travel is stressful and everyone is grumpy, you’ll find you go a lot farther if you lead with a smile. I’ve gotten free First Class upgrades, room upgrades, even free products and services just because I was polite, courteous and cheery. Sometimes, I have to fake it — after all, business travel is HARD, but you’ll find it’s easier on you and on others if you lead with kindness.
For that extra edge, make sure to catch the name of the person checking you in. Say thank you when you leave the front desk. Being pleasant and kind will get you a long way.
And most of all, stay calm. Things may seem like they are falling apart – planes are grounded, there’s no rental car, your internet doesn’t work – but there’s almost always a workaround, if you think creatively.
Come back next week for tips on packing like a champ and operating smarter to get you through when would-be catastrophes strike.
At UNIGLOBE Travel Designers, we have expertise in both business and leisure travel as well as international travel with a live consultant for each phone call. We are your neighborhood travel designers – serving the Columbus community and beyond since 1981!