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How To Travel Smarter

plane-50893_640Business travel is a fact of life for many of us. Some people dread it, others love it, most of us simply endure it. Here are some ways to make it cheaper, more effective and more endurable.

Booking Flights And Accommodation

When you are searching for those bargain flights online, remember to browse privately or clear your cache after each search. This is because the travel companies keep a record of what you have already seen, and aren’t going to deliver to you those real bargain flights which they have to offer, rather, they’ll show you flights at or around the prices you’ve already seen.

When booking accommodation, don’t just automatically go for the big name business hotels. Are you really using all those facilities that you’re paying for – the gym, the pool, the business center? Chances are you aren’t especially if it’s just a one night stay. Instead seek out smaller boutique hotels and even bed and breakfasts. For example, when staying in Belize City, I always choose The Nest Inn (www.dnestinn.com). This is a typical b and b, with wi-fi in every room, and knowledgeable hosts who can help you find your way around the intricacies of the City – a real home from home.

Another favorite for me when I am in New York City is the Chelsea Lodge, which is off the beaten track, but makes up for that by having inexpensive (by New York standards) quiet and comfortable rooms with kitchens, and even a small garden.

Taking Your Tech

Remember before you travel to check if your telephone company offers a roaming plan, and understand how it works. When I’m traveling I use Skype as much as possible for phone calls. My documents are in the Cloud, and the amount of papers I have to carry is minimal. Remember if you’re going overseas to take with you a universal outlet converter, battery chargers and ideally, spare batteries if it’s going to be a long trip.

If you’re flying, remember that security requires all your electronic devices to be charged up so that you can demonstrate them powering on.

It goes without saying that you should carry your e Reader, so that you have a way of passing the time for those inevitable delays. You may plan to work every minute, but traveling is stressful, so build in some relaxation time, particularly if you are traveling across a number of time zones.

What To Pack

It’s a business travel truism that you should just take a carry on rather than checked luggage. Buy the best, lightest one that you can, and also invest in a large satchel which can be packed with all kinds of extras, and which will be allowed as well as your carry on. Check what your ticket allows you to take, and use the allowances to the maximum. If you are heading to a cold climate from a warm one, you can take a coat – so stuff the pockets with your hat, gloves and scarf. Safety pin them so they don’t fall out. Check out companies like TravelSmith for specialist light weight business travel clothing.
Silk is the traveler’s friend; it’s lightweight, cool when it’s warm, warm when it’s cool and looks good. Pack silk pajamas, underwear, shirts, to lighten your load. Collect travel sizes of everything, and remember the prohibition on more than 2oz of liquids in your on board luggage. Put all those little travel packs, and your toiletries, into a quart sized zip lip bag for security inspections.

Refreshments Along The Way

If you are traveling within the US, this is likely not an issue. International travel is another matter. Remember that you can’t take liquids through airport security as a rule, but generally you can get as much water as you like once on a flight. Snacks are another matter. Airline food is often horrible, so, I like to take some good sandwiches and packs of dried fruit and nuts especially when flying trans Atlantic or trans Pacific, so I can be sure of having something decent to eat independent of airlines and airports.

Air Miles, Points And The Like

Don’t book anything just because it will get you reward points. Shop around and buy things for less, and use the money you save to buy things you need instead of collecting points for them.

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