Stay Safe and Healthy on the Road: Business Traveler Spotlight on Jennifer Alford

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 red-eye flight? To gather up these tips, we thought we’d look no further than the business travelers here at Concur.

Things aren’t always magical on the road, even by time-tested road warrior standards. Between the cancelled flights, long security lines and unfamiliar cities, Jennifer Alford says that business travel isn’t the glamorous lifestyle some people think it is. As Concur’s travel and expense administrator, Alford travels three or four times per year. But her experience has led to some valuable expertise on the rules of the road that keep her safe, happy and healthy.

Take precautions. One thing to pay attention to in new cities is personal safety. Alford suggests stuffing those plastic convention badge holders (pictured) with your ID, room key and cash instead of leaving them in the hotel room in dodgier cities.

“It never hurts to be too safe. In Europe, I recommend carrying a ‘mugger’s wallet’ – a decoy with pieces of paper instead of credit cards and cash,” Alford says. “That way, if the unthinkable happens, you’ll have something to hand over and walk away with your well-being and your valuables.”

Don’t let the bed bugs bite! No, really. Another safety tip is a little creepier – as in creepy-crawly. Alford’s encountered bed bugs in past travels and always keeps her suitcase in the bathroom while she checks the bed as a precaution. “I learned my lesson – the telltale signs of bed bugs are dark spots or blood on the sheets about the size of apple seeds,” she says.

“If you find them, move three floors away and complain – politely, but loudly. Hotels spend a lot of money on cleaning – the last thing you need is a health issue on a business trip.”

Alford also advocates moderation on the plane – a little alcohol, a little stretching, a little pile of layers. The only thing that shouldn’t be little is the amount of water you drink. “Jet lag isn’t caused by lack of sleep – it’s dehydration,” she says. “If you want to avoid headaches and exhaustion upon arrival, it’s simple: drink water!”

Make them laugh. “Literally! When you’re stuck if the flight’s overbooked, delayed, or cancelled, nothing works better than a little levity to get what you want with everyone at the airport – well, everyone except TSA agents,” Alford quips.

She doesn’t tell jokes, but instead aims for small wins: smiles. “Making the gate attendant grin is far more effective in getting what you want than frustrating them further with demands.”

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