Ten Tips for Hassle-free Business Travel
By June Campbell
If you're a road warrior, these travel tips will help reduce the stress of your journeys.
- Choose your Travel Modality Wisely
Planes, trains or automobiles: what's the choice to be? While air travel is clearly the only way to go for long journeys, shorter trips of a couple of hundred miles might be faster via train, bus or auto. When making your decision, consider time spent traveling to and from airports, plus time spent lining up for check in, security and departure. Also consider the effects inclement weather can have on your travel choice. It's no fun hearing the announcement that your plane can't land due to poor visibility and you'll be returning to your departure airport.
- Consider Alternative Airports
If you're flying, consider alternative airports that are outside the city you're going to visit. As a rule, these airports have fewer flights, less overbooking and less delays than their larger counterparts.
- Obtain an International Drivers License
If traveling outside your own country, an international driver's license will be more readily recognized than your locally issued driver's license. The cost is not prohibitive and in most regions, the licenses are easily obtained by showing your local driver's license. Inquire at your local Automobile Association.
- Get Your Maps Before You Leave Home
Travel is less stressful if you know how to get around. Before leaving home, obtain maps of your destination city. One approach is to visit web sites such as City Search (http://www.citysearch.com/) and print out maps. Place your printed maps in plastic folders for protection against the elements. Trying to read a road map while standing on a rainy street corner has its obvious disadvantages.
- Carry Electronic Documents Rather than Hard Copy
Rather than carry heavy stacks of brochures or sales letters, take electronic documents on diskettes and have them printed at a local printing service. Similarly, if you are working a booth in a trade show, it's a good idea to carry electronic documents in case you run out of the stack you shipped from the office.
- Find Hotels that Cater to Business Travelers
Hotels that cater to business travelers will have Internet capabilities and offer access to business machines such as faxes and photocopiers.
- Remember Adaptors and Converters
If you're traveling to a foreign country, remember that you might need special voltage adaptors for electricity. You might also need plug adapters to accommodate both electrical plugs and telephone jacks. A good travel store will be able to help you decide what's needed.
- Use Calling Cards
When you're staying at a hotel, the phone bill can be a major expense. The cost of calling your family, checking your voice mail and checking your email is best handled by using a telephone calling card or a corporate credit card.
- Check your Cellular Service
Cellular phone companies regularly offer new rates. Check to be sure you're getting the best deal -- some now include long distance charges in the monthly fee. If your business travel will take you to small, out-of-the way towns, your digital phone might not work. You will need an analog or dual digital/anlog phone for such trips.
- Protect Yourself Against Theft
Before leaving home, make copies of your travel documents (passport, airline tickets, travel insurance, credit cards and itinerary). Take copies with you and leave a copy with a contact at home. Take special precautions for your electronics. See what your local travel store has to offer in terms of protective luggage. You can purchase laptop cases that disguise the fact that they're used for laptops, or laptop cases that look old and battered. And of course, you already know how fast and savvy a pickpocket can be. Avoid carrying important documents in your purse or hip pocket.
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