Business Travel Hacks to Know
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For those whose jobs keep them constantly on the road, they know that traveling for business is often an unglamorous affair. However, with a few travel hacks in tow, your business trip can be more comfortable, and you may even accrue some benefits to use on your next vacation.
Keep Your Air Miles
You know all those air miles you accrued when you went on vacation? Turns out that in many cases you may also earn flyer miles when traveling on business. Check with your corporate travel department — you may be able to credit your business air miles to your personal mileage account. You can typically keep your miles if you use a personal credit card to book your trip and are reimbursed for your expenses, but sometimes you can keep them even if you use a corporate credit card issued by your company.
Don't Forget Hotel Points
While many travelers are aware that airlines offer miles, not as many take advantage of hotel points. All of the major chains offer hotel loyalty programs. If you often stay in hotels when on business, you can rack up a lot of points toward free future stays. If you're a regular at a particular hotel, friendliness toward the front-desk staff goes a long way to making your stay comfortable, even if the hotel doesn't offer a rewards program.
Benefit From Elite Status
In addition to earning points and miles, crediting your flights and hotel stays toward elite status is an important way to make business travel a bit less rigorous. Having gold or platinum status in various airline and hotel programs is the path to room and seat upgrades, complimentary breakfasts, free Wi-Fi and a host of other benefits, such as lounge access in airports and hotels. Ensure that your frequent flier or hotel loyalty card numbers are attached to all your reservations in order to progress toward elite status.
Eat Your Way to Benefits
Most airline and hotel loyalty programs offer a dining component so you can earn credit for eating at specific local establishments. If your company pays for your travel, this is another great way to earn miles or points without any personal out-of-pocket expenses. Searching the list of participating restaurants is also a great way to find new restaurants that you might not have otherwise patronized.
If you're self-employed and don't have a company to foot the hotel bills, Airbnb can be an attractive alternative to more traditional accommodations. With Airbnb, you'll stay in a private home or apartment rather than in a hotel. Typically, Airbnb listings offer local flavor and amenities, such as kitchens, and often provide more bang for your buck. Even if you're a subsidized business traveler, Airbnb lodgings may help you feel more at home and less like you're on the road.
Build in Downtime
If you have any control over your travel schedule, try to work in some time to explore your local surroundings while on a business trip. Visiting a new city's parks and museums makes your trip less of a grind and more of an adventure. Just getting out for a movie and some local food relieves the stress of business travel. A Saturday stay can be hard for some business travelers to manage, but for those who can swing it, staying over a weekend often saves a bit on airfare and offers some enjoyment.
Apply for Global Entry and TSA's PreCheck Program
One of the biggest pains about business travel is dealing with security checkpoints. While it's easier to tolerate security delays when traveling once or twice a year, if you have a regular business travel schedule, long waits can be a frequent headache. By signing up for the TSA's PreCheck program, you qualify to speed through dedicated security lines without even removing your shoes or taking out your laptop. The Global Entry program, which grants expedited entry for international travelers, also provides PreCheck benefits on domestic flights.
Back Up Your Documents
When traveling for business, it's likely that you'll be bringing some important documentation in tow. Whether it's company plans, proposals or even just your travel itinerary, you'll want to have electronic or hard copies for when Wi-Fi is spotty. Save your work on your laptop, a portable hard drive, or use a cloud storage service — such as Google Drive — to ensure you'll have copies of everything you need.
Bring Extra Chargers
With so much work relying on online communication, you're only a drained battery away from disaster on a business trip. Always pack extra batteries and/or a portable charger when you travel, especially for meetings that may run unexpectedly long. While some businesses live by the motto, "Always Be Closing," you should "Always Be Charging" when on a business trip.