As many business travelers know, a well planned and prepared trip is an enjoyable and usually successful trip. No matter how often you travel, or for how long, here are more expert travel tips from H.O. Maycotte, contributor to Forbes magazine.
A note about airline points programs. It’s a good idea for you, or your company, to choose an airline and stick with them. The more you fly the same airline, the more benefits you’ll enjoy from the points program, including upgrades, early boarding, and other benefits. If you don’t have a favorite carrier, look for one with the most destinations from your home base.
Take advantage of travel apps. One way to stay ahead of delays is to load up your phone with essential travel apps, starting with your preferred airline. Other useful apps include Flightstats, Kayak, GateGuru, SeatGuru, TripAdvisor, TripIt, and of course, Hoyt on the Go.
Pack ahead to present. As the Boy Scout saying goes, “Be prepared.” Maycotte recommends being prepared for anything, especially when on a business trip. Pack a backpack ahead of time with everything you’ll need for a meeting and/or business presentation, including laptop and/or iPad, cables and connectors, business cards, pens and paper, some toiletries, even a change of socks and underwear — so even if you have to run to a meeting from the airport, you’re all set to present.
If you make presentations often, don’t assume they’ll have your connector, so bring them all: HDMI, DVI, AV out, etc. Bring whatever you might need to show content from any of your devices. Also, keep your content on a flash drive as backup.
Be prepared for weak or no Wi-Fi. In a pinch, you can use AT&T tethering to turn your phone into a hotspot. If you can’t use your phone, use slides for backup. If you can’t show slides, be prepared to use a spiral bound version of your presentation or an old school dry erase board if you have to.
Be frugal, yet practical. If you’re traveling overnight for business, don’t just book the cheapest flight or hotel room. Book based on location, as well as price. If an airport or hotel is many miles away from your meeting, the stress won’t be worth the savings.
Prepare for the airport. The good thing about traveling often is you get better at it.
Fly with a carry-on bag only. If you’re traveling overnight or for just a few days, pack a carry-on bag only. Checking a bag is a huge time waster, and if it gets lost or ends up in Houston and you’re in New York, it could ruin your trip and dash your business objectives. Maximize space by wearing your good suit on the plane, roll up clothes instead of folding them (to prevent wrinkling), and ship any necessary materials to the destination ahead of time.
Other savvy airport tips …
• Check-in online ahead of time. Most airlines allow you to check-in online starting 24 hours before your flight time. If you can, take advantage of this service.
• If eligible, apply for TSA Pre✓ to save time at the airport’s security lines. If you fly internationally on a regular basis, register with Nexus, Sentri, or Global Entry.
• Other ways to speed up security: Remember to pack toiletries with less than 3.4oz of liquids in a clear bag and wear shoes without shoe laces, if possible.