Monthly Archives: January 2017

Best Tips for Easier Business Travel

Traveling for business isn’t always easy. Sleeping on planes, packing constantly for trips and staying glued to your mobile device can derail your routine and make you grumpy.

Keeping a positive attitude is the first step to a stress-free travel experience. And acknowledge helpful staff. Travelers have a better chance at getting upgrades, itinerary changes and extraordinary service when they ask politely and maintain happy demeanors.

“When there are problems with the flight, most people start out annoyed or even hostile. If I tell the agents what a great job they’re doing and how I admire their patience, they’ll often go to extraordinary lengths for me,” says motivational speaker Barry Maher. “I once had a gate agent spend 45 minutes to get me rebooked on another airline. Then she called the gate, grabbed one of my carry-ons and ran with me to security. When I got to the gate, the agent bumped me into first class.”

Kindness isn’t the only way to minimize inconveniences and maximize your productivity while traveling. Here are a few practical ways to make traveling for business easier:
BY KAYLEIGH KULP
TAGS
TRAVEL TIPS
Limit Luggage to a Carry-on
Travel is stressful when you’re worried about lost luggage or being late to a meeting, says Barbara DesChamps, author of It’s In The Bag: The Complete Guide to Lightweight Travel. Bring only a carry-on, check in for your flight online and go straight to security at the airport. If you don’t check baggage, you won’t have to wait for it when you land.
Use Technology to Plan Ahead
Check out Seatguru.com to view your airplane’s seating plan in advance, including information about limited recline or legroom seats and in-seat power ports. Find out where galleys, lavatories and exit rows are, and request a seat change that makes working or relaxing easier.

Instead of calling around to restaurants at your destination, make reservations at OpenTable.com, of which 20,000 restaurants worldwide are members.

Bring a GPS with pre-loaded maps of your destination to make driving your rental car in a new place easier, says Maria K. Todd, CEO of Mercury Healthcare.
Join a Rewards Program and Stick With It
If staff notices you frequently patronize their airline, rental-car company or hotel, they are more likely to help you, says Maria Perez, marketing manager of airfare search engine Fly.com.

Members of rewards and loyalty programs often receive early boarding on flights, priority hotel room, first-class upgrades and “all-around better treatment,” Perez says.

Some rental-car companies deliver rental cars to rewards program members personally, while less frequent customers must shuttle to the company’s facility to retrieve their rental,
Dress Well
People get much better service when they dress well and appear wealthier, says DesChamps. Wearing an outfit that doubles as presentation attire while traveling is also wise in case your baggage is lost or you are late, says Melissa C. Gillespie, partner at Innova Communications. That way, you’re not stuck in jeans for a big meeting.
Keep a Bag Packed
Save time packing by keeping a carry-on suitcase packed with the minimal amount of clothing, shoes and accessories you need, including 3-ounce toiletries in a Ziploc bag. Trade bulky laptops for thinner laptops and tablets such as a MacBook Air or an iPad. Replace hardcovers with eBooks. If you must bring a coat or bulky shoes, wear them on the plane to avoid taking up space in your luggage.
Keep Customer-Service Numbers Stored in Your Phone
Keeping customer-service numbers handy offers quicker access to the right people if a flight is cancelled or you need to change a hotel or car reservation, rather than waiting in line once you’re there.

Special Travel Tips For Spring Break

Whether you were blasted by bad weather this past winter or you’ve just been pining for an escape, the good news is that spring break has finally arrived. Get a jump-start on your spring break plans — whether they are partying with the college kids or a tamer family getaway to the beach — with these suggestions.

Student Spring Break Tips

* Take a look at organizations like StudentCity who run trips for both college and high school students to popular spring break destinations.

* Looking for that winter wonderland retreat instead of the warm sands, try these student ski getaways.
CollegeSkiTrips.com
Studentcity.com/ski/

* Party like a rock star by heading to Vegas for an MTV Spring Break 2013 epic party with the network’s trademark wild parties, heavy boozing, goofy games and celebrity hosts with events at The Palms pool, Rain Nightclub, Moon Nightclub, Ghostbar and the Playboy Club.

* Why not take your time off and give back? Combine volunteer work with some sight-seeing and relaxation time. Not only can you see the world, you can improve it.
Voluntourism
Volunteer Travel
Volunteering

* Take advantage of student discounts and youth hostels whether you stay in the US or go international.
STA Travel Student Universe

* If you are hitting the road, start saving money for gas now. When it is time to go, visit sites like these to track down the cheapest gas along your route.
Gasbuddy.com
Gas Prices on MapQuest
Gas Price Watch

* Start preparing for your trip now by stocking up on sunscreen, bathing suits and other spring break essentials by shopping online.
Drugstore.com
Everything But Water

* Get that body in shape for the beach by logging some extra hours at the gym, on the treadmill or in downward-facing dog. Track your fitness goals with a helpful fitness app.
Active.com’s 10 Best iPhone Fitness Apps for 2013
Family Spring Break Tips
* Consider a variety of options with our suggestions for a unique family spring break.

* Book a stay at any of Oyster’s top spring break hotels.

* Get spring break budget tips, from MommyPoints.com’s Summer Hull.

* Bypass the beaches for the slopes on a skiing spring break.

* Compare prices on flights and car rentals.
Kayak
FareCompare
Travelocity
Expedia

* Look for spring break special events and discounts available now.
Family-Friendly Mardi Gras
Disney Discounts
Spring Break Blast
Hershey in the Spring

* Forecast the weather.
weathertrends360

* Skip the beach and instead camp under the stars with the whole family.
Camp Jellystone
Camping with Kids

* Can’t get away but need to keep the kids occupied during the break? Enroll them now in a local Spring Break Camp.
Holiday Camps
Spring Break Programs
DC Spring Break Camps

Special Tips to Make Travel Delays More Productive

Almost every frequent flyer has been stuck at an airport due to weather, mechanical issues or other delays. Sometimes “stuck” can mean overnight. How you react to that disruption says a lot about your ability to handle the unexpected. Anger does little good; getting creative can soothe the soul and maybe even lead to a pleasant experience. There’s no need to play Angry Birds for 4 hours. Here are a few tips to make your layover downtime more productive.

Get a 1-Day Airline Pass
Even if you’re not a member of an airline’s airport club, many offer 1-day memberships. American Airlines, for example, charges $50 for a 1-day pass, and up to 3 children under the age of 18 are permitted to join an adult at no extra charge. You’ll pay for drinks, but snacks and Wi-Fi are on the house. Rules vary among airlines. Delta, for example, allows no guests on its $50, 1-day pass, but the booze is complimentary. An airport lounge is usually a comfortable and relatively quiet place to spread out and accomplish some work.

Head to the Chapel
If you crave a quiet space but don’t want to spring for an airport club membership, find the airport’s chapel and settle in with work materials or a book. But make sure to check your airline’s departure board from time to time. Just because a gate agent says your flight is delayed for 3 hours doesn’t mean it won’t leave sooner if, say, the weather clears or a mechanical problem is solved quickly.

Find Friends on Google Latitude
Find your friends and have a party, or at least lunch. Several location apps allow you to use your smartphone to track the whereabouts of friends. If you have Google’s Latitude app on your phone, for example, you can check to see if anyone you know (who is also on Latitude) is stuck in the airport, too. Nearly 2 million people pass through Atlanta’s airport a year, for example — surely you know one of them.

Discover Things to Do Near the Airport
At any airport, if your layover is long enough for you to leave the airport, ask a local what’s within an easy cab ride that’s worth visiting. The tour desk at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, for example, can arrange a quick tour of the city that’s only 6 miles from the airport.

Stuck in Abu Dhabi? The Al Ghazal Golf Club is adjacent to the airport, and passengers are welcome in its English-style clubhouse. And if you’ve never played on a sand golf course, it makes for great dinner conversation later when you describe such hazards as burrows dug by desert lizards. Golf clubs are available for rental.

If you find yourself stranded at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, hop the sleek light-rail train for the 6-minute ride to the Mall of America, and get a little holiday shopping done between rides on the indoor roller coaster.

Check Out Airport Museums and Art Displays
You already know you can shop ’til you drop in major airports around the world, but you can often engage in more mind-improving activities as well. San Francisco’s airport has well-curated, rotating displays of art, metalwork and even vintage airplanes scattered throughout various terminals. In SFO’s International Terminal, you’ll find the fascinating Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum. Check out the 1920s Ford Tri-Motor passenger seat (that looks like your grandparents’ wicker chair), a mint-condition Pan Am tea set and the various styles of flight attendant uniforms through the years.

At Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, just steps away from a casino is a mini-art museum, a branch of Amsterdam’s renowned Rijksmuseum. Want to know what the airport you’re stuck in has on offer? Just check the airport’s website.

Don’t Do Something Stupid
Wait, I’m not really advocating this, but if you type in any search engine “stupid things to do at an airport,” you’ll be surprised by the number of postings by folks who clearly have too much time on their hands. These days, it’s not advisable to do anything stupid at an airport. Playing the slot machines at the Vegas or Amsterdam airports is smarter than doing something that will draw the attention of airport security personnel.

But you can certainly get a cardio work out doing some serious walking in large airports without ever leaving an airport’s secure area. Many airports have mini-spas that offer massages and other treatments. And if you’re a Type A traveler who complains you have no time to think uninterrupted or to read a book or magazine from cover to cover, a layover is just what the psychologist ordered.