Business travelDo you know someone that is a frequent business traveler?  I don’t mean several times a year, although that is a lot.  I mean every week.  I do.  My good friend Mary is a consultant and she leaves her beautiful home early every Monday morning to catch a flight to Atlanta where she works.  On Thursday evening she takes a flight back to Colorado.

Mary is a very organized person.   She really has to be organized to keep track of all the personal care items she needs for travel, as well as business related tools, to be the best of the best in her profession.

So, how does she do that you ask, and keep her sanity?  That’s a good question, and the subject of this post.  During a recent conversation with Mary, she revealed some of her secrets as a business traveler that I’m going to share with you.  I knew she would provide some fabulous tips, but she gave me so much more information than I could have imagined.   So much in fact, that there are two parts to this article.

Part 1 focuses on all things related to the journey from the eyes of a woman, although most of these tips work for men as well.   So, sit back, buckle up and get ready for a smooth ride as we learn the secrets of an organized business traveler.

Focus on the journey…

  • Use the same airline, hotel and car rental company; book separately to get the most benefits of each of the points systems for frequent travel. Some airports have frequent parker lots as well.
  • Use one credit card for all travel expenses. One exception may be if you use American Express for all, but the hotel provides extra incentives for using VISA instead.  Use cards that offer cash back or points at the end of the year.  These rewards will become an addiction and save you a lot of money in the process.
  • Book flights on the airline website.
  • Check in – print the boarding pass and send a copy of it as a text to yourself if possible. You can’t rely on mobile apps that use WIFI or cellular because of limited connectivity at the airport.
  • Tie bright pink ribbons on both handles of your bags for easy identification, and so men won’t grab your bags, thinking they are theirs.
  • If you get to the airport early, don’t expect to get on a standby flight if you check a bag, it’s not likely.
  • Sold out or overbooked flights:
  • Beware of giving up your seat, it’s not worth it.
  • Don’t assume you’re getting on the next flight. It could be the next day and the airlines may not give you a hotel voucher.
  • The vouchers they give are usually for airline dollars, not another flight.
  • Airline dollars offered are likely not enough for a full fare.
  • Airline dollars have an expiration date and many times require you to go to the airport to redeem.
  • Always wear pants in case of an emergency evacuation. This will save you from your legs being burned if the use of an airline evacuation slide is necessary.
  • Even if you are traveling to a place with a warm climate; always bring a jacket in case your flight has a layover in a cold weather city and your flight is canceled. It gets pretty cold waiting for a cab in sandals and lightweight clothes outside Chicago’s O’Hare airport when all flights have been canceled due to snow in January.
  • Wear sandals on the plane and bring a pair of socks so your feet don’t get cold.
  • If the plane offers WIFI it won’t be free. Connect as soon as possible because everyone won’t be able to connect due to limited connectivity.  You won’t be able to make phone calls but you will be able to IM and email to maintain a level of productivity.

Hopefully we haven’t flown through these tips too fast.  Next week in part 2, I’ll reveal some great tips that an organized business traveler needs to prepare for the destination, so stay tuned!