Keeping Balance on the Road: Business Traveler Spotlight on Fred Fredericks

Business travelers unite! We know you’re on the road and always on the lookout for ways to make the most of your time. We’re on the hunt for the best business travel tips. How can you get through the JFK airport that much quicker? Or stay in shape while you’re on the road? How can you be alert at your meeting, despite your draining redeye flight? To gather up these tips, we thought we’d look no further than the business travelers here at Concur.

Let’s face it: business travel can be hard. While bosses expect you to be plugged in, synched up and on board at all times, loved ones wish you’d turn off the Android already. This struggle to find a work-life balance has been tugging at Fred Fredericks for a long time now, though he has found ways to make his personal life as rich and rewarding as the one at work.

As a Senior Vice President of Research & Development at Concur, Fredericks is responsible for overseeing the corporate travel booking tool used by millions of business travelers around the globe. As part of his role, he flies more than 100,000 miles each year in the friendly skies, often overseas. With a wife and three young children at home, Fredericks balances commitment to his profession with dedication to his family.

Home, sweet, home

“As an industry, we underestimate the strain business travel puts on marriages and families, let alone time with your kids,” Fredericks says. “We don’t talk about it – but it’s hard.”

To stay connected with his family on the road, Fredericks makes a point to call every day and bring along his webcam on long trips so he can see the faces of his loved ones. He has a policy of no presents; instead, he plans an individual activity with each child when he gets back.

“Time with your kids is more rewarding than a chocolate bar or a toy – though sometimes that’s popular, too!”

In the bag

Fredericks never checks a bag for trips less than two weeks long. To make packing smoother, he always packs his carry-on the night before his morning flights, folding in only the minimum essentials.

“It’s amazing what men can get away with fashion-wise. We can recycle our suits all week and no one will notice.”

What people will notice are wrinkled clothes. Fredericks has advice for that, too: “Speaking from personal experience, if you hang up a shirt in the bathroom to steam out the wrinkles, keep it away from splashing water. Also, if you decide (even though it is not environmentally conscious) to steam your clothes without staying in the bathroom, remember to take the stopper out of the drain or the tub may overflow. Not speaking from personal experience or anything….”

When it comes to airport security, Fredericks has his packing strategy down pat. “I keep my toiletries in a plastic bag on the outermost pocket of my carry-on. When I get up to the TSA lines, I pull out the plastic bag and replace it with my cell phone, belt, keys… anything I have in my pockets trades places with that toiletry bag. It’s simple, but it makes security that much faster!”

Up in the air

Frequent flights mean frequent sniffles. “Getting sick on the plane is inevitable – I’ve had a cold off and on for three months now.” Fredericks combats travel bugs by taking Airborne® before flights, using a saline nasal spray, and staying hydrated.

Internet is indispensable to Fredericks while on the plane. “I’m a former 1K on United. And coach on Virgin is better than United’s domestic thanks to the availability of power and internet at the seat.” Not every flight has internet, however. “On trips to Europe, I can get my inbox down to zero total items, literally. Without the internet connection, no one can write me back!”

When booking, Fredericks avoids domestic red-eyes and connections. “I do this so often that I know what works best for my sanity – early-morning departures, direct flights and an aisle seat. In my view, business travel is all about getting me where I need to go efficiently, so I can do my job well and get home to my family.”

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