My pals here at Concur know a thing or two about smart business travel; after all, both Concur Breeze and TripIt are tools that make business travel easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable. While many people these days like to complain that airline travel has become difficult – “the airlines charge for everything,” “the lines are too long,”etc. – I am of a different persuasion. I think this is a pretty great time to travel, especially for business.
Here’s why: Between computer technology and flight technology, getting to and from distant locations is easier and cheaper than ever. And I dare say it’s more important too. While the Internet has made it so that we can work with people remotely and actually never need to meet them in person, it is important to meet them in person. Nothing beats face-to-face contact.
So while travel is great and important, there are always some tricks of the trade that can make your travel life better. Here are 5 that made a difference for me:
1. Check-in, online, exactly 24 hours ahead of your flight: I am loathe to share this with you, but sharing business tips is what I do for a living, so here goes:
If you have a lousy seat, or no seat, you can easily fix this by checking in online exactly 24 hours before your flight. As you know, that is when you can typically check-in online. But you may not know that airlines often also release a bulk of unreserved seats at that time too. So by checking in right when check-in opens up online, you can nab one of these open seats.
2. Use apps: Aside from the aforementioned Concur Breeze and TripIt apps, some other apps that can improve your travel life are:
- Flightstats and Flight Track Pro, which allow you to check on the status of your flight
- The app of your airline of choice will do the same
- GateGuru helps you locate the best dining, shopping, and service choices at various airports
- Wi-Fi Finder helps you locate free and paid wifi in over 650,000 locations
3. Bring extra smartphone batteries: iPhones are notorious for not having enough battery life and not being able to change out the battery. But did you know that for less than $50 you can buy an external, extra iPhone battery? You can.
4. Bring along a portable fabric steamer: Similarly, and again for less than $50, you can pick up and bring along a nifty little item that can vastly improve your travel experience. In this case, it’s a portable travel fabric steamer. Instead of ineffectively steaming your clothes by the shower or trying to figure out an unfamiliar iron, this handy device will get the wrinkles out of your clothes pronto.
5. Stay hydrated. Planes are notoriously dry. Stay away from caffeine. Stay away from alcohol. The more water you drink, the less jetlag you'll have.