If you travel often then your convenience is very important. Get the best out of travel companies and be prepared for the unexpected!
1. Sign up for frequent flyer programs–even if you never use them.
Maybe you’re not a frequent flyer, but you should still sign up for their programs when you travel. Even if your accrued mileage stands at zero, at least you’ll represent the possibility of future business, in the event you have an issue or a request.
“Business travelers can do what they can to gain any level of status with the airline. Even just having a frequent traveler number is better than not having one at all,” suggests Craig Fichtelberg, president of AmTrav Corporate Travel.
2. Check business and economy plus.
If you’re on a budget, you probably only search for coach class flights. Usually, that makes sense, but during the holidays, there might be fewer business travelers–which can occasionally drop the price of business and economy class seats.
“Certain times of year, or routes that are new or not performing well, airlines will sell upgraded seats for a song!” advises John Clifford, a professional travel advisor.
3. Get the most out of each hotel stay
Anywhere you travel, there are bound to be dozens of hotel options at your destination. There are just as many ways to get the most out of that hotel stay, including discounts, free meals, upgrades and more. Here are a pointers on getting the most buck from your hotel.
Consider staying near the airport. Hotels near airports receive less elite travelers, since the majority of business travelers stay downtown in premiere locations. Because of this, you’re more likely to save money and receive free upgrades near the airport.
Factor free food into the equation. Many hotels have executive lounge services that offer free dinners Sunday through Thursday and free cocktails for elite travelers. Free food perks go a long way in offsetting costs.
Ask the hotel chains you frequent what types of programs they offer. The more you stay, the more automatic upgrades, suites, free stays and other perks you’ll receive. It may require signing up for their credit card, but it can be more than worth it depending on their program and how often you travel.
Consider booking online. Certain sites will offer rewards – like a free night — for being loyal to them.
Longer stays at the same hotel can come with discounts. Several chains offer the fifth night’s stay for free.
4. Think about timing
Sleeping while on the road or in the air is difficult, and often not worth it. If traveling to Asia, land around 6 pm and work on the plane, so after landing, you can get a good meal and a solid night’s sleep while adjusting for the next day.
5. Fly on Christmas Day (or other big holidays).
Yes, travel is crowded during the holidays–but often not on the actual holidays themselves. So if you don’t mind arriving “day of,” you can save stress and money.
“Travelers that are spooked by crowds should fly on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day, historically when the fewest flights are booked,” advises Kelly Soderlund, spokesperson for Hipmunk. “They should also steer clear of … December 22 to 23, when crowds peak.”
6. Put on your sweatshirt
A sweatshirt is the Swiss Army knife of apparel. The versatility and comfort of a hooded sweatshirt when traveling can’t be overstated. They keep you warm on cold flights, are significantly more comfortable than a dress shirt or polo and make a more comfortable and sanitary pillow option.
7. Pack a mobile pantry
Food options at tradeshows and within walking distance of hotels are average at best, yet, can be expensive.
Pack a trail mix, health bars, beef jerky. Packing food that you’re comfortable with helps you avoid starving yourself or spending too much on food you wouldn’t usually pay for at all if at home.
8. Hydrate instead of intoxicate
People get intoxicated on flights, especially when there’s free alcohol. Don’t.
The last thing you want to be in a city while traveling for business is hungover and dehydrated on top of possibly being jet lagged in a new time zone. Force yourself to drink water while traveling to stay hydrated instead of those free glasses of wine and beer on planes.
9. Focus on on-time arrival records.
Nothing makes flying more stressful than missing a connection, or when your flight shows up super-late. The four airlines with the best on-time arrival records, advises Taj Bates, founder of The YOLO Guide to Travel, are Delta, United, Alaska, and Hawaiian.
“If you haven’t booked your ticket yet, and you plan to fly in the U.S., book with an airline that has both a high on-time arrival rate and low cancellation rate, even in winter,” Bates suggests.
10. Know how much your luggage weighs.
Overweight luggage costs, along with just about every other nickel and dime fee, have gone through the roof. So if
“Invest in an inexpensive digital baggage scale,” suggests Rafael Romis of Weberous. “It is especially useful if you are planning to do any shopping while you’re on your trip or if you think you’re going to receive a lot of Christmas gifts that might weigh your bag down.”
11. Keep a back up of your important documents.
“Take a photo of [important] documents and easily put them in Last Pass. …if you lose your wallet you then at least have all of this info on your phone or have access to it on a computer (you just have to login to your Last Pass account),” suggests Chelsea Brinkley, founder of Travel Brinkley.