Ah, business travel. No matter how seasoned you are, the world of business travel is ever-changing, thanks to ever-changing regulations and technology. Since we know you’re already hooked up with your online check-ins, alerts and updates, here’s a concise list of what we consider to be the most essential tips and tricks for streamlining your business travel experience.
No, not entirely. But your traveling life will get a lot easier when you join the U.S. Trusted Traveler program, a.k.a. Global Entry (globalentry.gov). This is a government program that currently costs $100 to apply for expedition through airport security. However, there’s a lot that needs to happen in order to be pre-approved, including background checks and in-person interviews, and the program has been in flux since Donald Trump took office, but the payoff, especially if jet-setting is part of your job (or life) description, is well worth it, for the time spent to save time in line ratio. Ask a travel agent about it, it can be a headache to apply for — the government’s Internet interface skills are equivalent to those of a fish.
The Saga of the One Carry-on Bag
In order to be a true traveling ninja, you simply must perfect the art of packing the perfect carry-on. If you’ve already collected all your sample-sized favorites, including toothpaste, medications, travel-sized body essentials, keep the fluids in a plastic bag readily available to remove when going through security. Moreover, leave these items in your bag when you’re not traveling, including additional chargers for all your electronics (and don’t forget earbuds). If your airline requires you to pay for your carry-on, be sure to pre-pay, and remind yourself that a paid-for carry-on still adds time to your life you wouldn’t have if you were waiting for checked bags at the carrousel.
It’s no accident this tip follows the one on carry-on luggage. Before you skip over it, knowing already that you can easily pack a suit or a dress, understand that we’re pushing for a color-scheme that truly isn’t the usual black or brown. Every year certain colors come into vogue, whether it’s a deep burgundy or lighter camel; when you dress monochromatically you reap so many benefits. Aside from the obvious mix and match factor, which is huge in and of itself, you will make yourself look longer, thinner and potentially a little bit dressier. This includes, you’ll be happy to hear, your more comfortable clothing. (And don’t make us remind you about random airline upgrades, and how important it is to always look presentable.)
Marrying a credit card that’s good to you isn’t unlike other kinds of marriages. You’ll want one that’s super reliable and has incredible benefits (we’ll put good-looking and makes you laugh aside for now). When you build a history with a card, be sure there’s a reciprocity: You’re good to them, they’re good to you. When you travel for business, the card you use is potentially the most important decision of them all. The right card can offer you incredible upgrades and actually earn while you sleep. So, if you ask us, go ahead and put all your eggs in one basket – er, loyalty program. They’re not all created equal, so do your research to see what’s best for you. And ask your travel agent for their opinions/advice — they will have had a lot of real-life experience with their clients. And some of it will be funny! I mean, to you, not the clients.
Ask for the Upgrade
You know all about points, and you know how to use them. Just remember this: Wherever you go, there are upgrades available. Practice saying, “Is there an upgrade available?” every step of your trip. Airlines, car rental companies, hotels and travel agents are the obvious ones. Ask people on the street! Ask everyone! And there are also memberships out there that might be worth investigating. If your values align with loyalty programs, as discussed above, give them a call to research how to get the most out of your relationship, whether it’s for business or pleasure travel. Dress well when you ask if and where possible, but, hell, we don’t care if you’re stark naked, just ask!
Read more of our tips for business travel: Business Class