Eight more ways to survive business travel
My first post on the subject garnered more attention than I expected (thank you, Business Insider and my fellow road warriors) so I was motivated to write Part 2.
- Be your own detective: During a delay do not depend on the gate agent for information. The gate agents are great but they are often getting information later than alerts are shared on the airline’s app. Once I saw on the app that our flight was being cancelled so I moved my way to the customer service line. About 5 minutes later it was announced and I was already being rebooked.
This can also help you feel like less of a prisoner to your gate. I have never understood why every restaurant and store in the airport doesn’t have a small monitor to check your status. Imagine how much more money they could get out of me in the Hudson News if I knew I could safely linger.
- Dine for data: Many airport restaurants have wifi for their customers so when you dine log into their network. Next time you are in the airport you can borrow some wifi by setting up camp nearby the restaurant. Sure you can use your phone as a hotspot but this is a good alternative. I was sad when the Vino Volo closed at Newark because that was my go-to for years.
- ebay your way to first class: Purchase a first class lounge pass for your preferred airline so that you have a calm airport oasis when you have a layover or delay. You can buy a day pass at the lounge but it makes sense to buy them in advance if you travel often. People sell their passes on ebay all of the time for half of the price and then you can just carry it with you for safekeeping. Sometimes free passes come with airline credit cards. I was really grateful to have this during a 16 hour wait in the Dallas airport.
- Let the car wait for you: If you use rental cars, enroll in their loyalty programs to make the whole process faster. For instance, Hertz Gold Members can skip the long lines and go straight to their cars. After a long flight it is a great perk and it stops you from being upsold on additional insurance you don’t need. Travel pros know that often their credit cards (and sometimes personal auto insurance) give them more than enough coverage.
- Block out the blink: My very smart friend, Lisa Pearson, shared that she brings duct tape to put over any blinking red lights on the TV or thermostat if that kind of thing keeps you awake. Post it notes also work in a pinch.
- Beware the robot refrigerator: While I’ve already warned you about mini-bars, you should also be aware that many hotels use automated appliances. What this means is that when you remove an item it automatically charges your room for it. I found this out the hard way when my curiosity about the calories in a carrot juice and the contents of the intimacy kit resulted in a charge on my bill. The hotel will usually refund you the money when you explain and I always imagine they get a good laugh at your expense later.
- Use the gym for more than sweating: Bottled water at hotels is criminally expensive. To save yourself or your expense account money check out the hotel gym. Most gyms have complimentary water bottles or at the least a water cooler so you can fill up your own bottle. You can usually grab a piece of fruit too.
- Timeshare the gym: If you want privacy while you work out then you might want to casually find out if/when your co-workers plan to exercise. It can be a little awkward to see your boss or your CFO when you are red faced and sweaty and in lycra so you may want to avoid their gym time.
Next up, my POV on expense accounts, per diems, and traveling for work etiquette.