Business travel with ease, seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? The topic of traveling typically comes with a heap of preconceived notions attached, many of which have merit; for instance, traveling is often associated with stress, inefficiencies, and wasted time. Yes, yes and definitely, yes. Traveling can sound exciting until you start going through the process. Fortunately, there are strategies that you can implement to make your trip more efficient and the hassle easier to cope with.
Planning a trade show can take your mind in several different directions, so it’s common to overlook and underestimate everything that goes into travel preparation. Easy travel doesn’t happen overnight. You should give yourself at least 30 days to prepare for your trip. There are several steps you can take and things you can do before your show to make travel to and from easier.
Too dramatic? Maybe, but once you sign up for one of these programs, you will never look back to the old way of screening. It will change your life. Or at the very least, your traveling disposition.
It’s just as promising as it sounds. Imagine no more waiting in long lines for check-in and security. How does it work? Find the dedicated Clear lane at the airport (also works for stadiums, arenas, and more), and simply have your eyes or fingerprint scanned at the kiosk, (have your social security number handy), and voila! You get to skate through the I.D. security check lane. Sign up is a breeze. You can either sign up online or at the airport. And it takes an average of 5 minutes. For $179 per year (add promo code for additional savings), it’s well worth the investment.
It’s ok TSA, I won’t hold a grudge against you for the long lines and hassles of the past because you have redeemed yourself with Pre-check. TSA Pre-check is a members-only way to save time and stress during airport security. The lines are shorter and you don’t have to remove your shoes, belt, laptops, or liquids. All you need to do is have your I.D. handy. It makes bag checks easier too. Simply sign up online and submit an online application. There will be a 10-minute background check, along with fingerprinting. Spots do fill up so apply several months in advance.
The New Way
The old you would have packed enough stuff for three people and frowned at upgrades. But today is a new day, and it’s out with the old advice and in with the new. A seasoned business traveler for trade shows has given us the following pro-tips to help make the most of the travel experience:
- Limit your baggage to a carry-on. It can be extra stressful worrying about lost luggage or the hassle of checking in cumbersome bags. When you limit yourself to only a carry-on, you remove all those worries. It can take self-control to leave items at home, but the result is liberating. And for peace of mind, opt to upgrade your zone to ensure that your bag will have space. It’s worth every cent.
- Some airlines have mobile apps worth downloading. It can streamline the process by allowing you to check in for your flight, and pay for your bag, all online. Just don’t forget to drop off your bag.
- Use a travel rewards system for hotels and airlines. If your company pays for it, you still get to keep the rewards for yourself. A loyalty program can come with a host of benefits, such as free flights and room upgrades.
- Double check your seating assignment on the plane. Sometimes jets are swapped and the size can be different than expected, thus changing the seating arrangement.
- Consider paying for your flight with a rewards credit card to earn points to redeem at a later time.
- In-flight wifi can be pricey (almost double the cost) and most of the time it’s cheaper to pre-pay for service before your flight. Paying for an all-day internet pass (regardless of how many flights you get on) can still be considerably less and save you on the in-flight price.
- If you are driving yourself to the airport, consider parking your car at an off-site parking space that includes a shuttle ride to the airport. The money you save can go towards your pre-paid wifi.
- If you are at an airport with multiple security checkpoints, don’t hesitate to ask for the shortest line.
- Know whether or not your hotel offers transportation, such as a shuttle, to and from the airport. You don’t want to find out last minute that you need to find alternative transport.
- Staying at a hotel near the convention/event center can raise the price tag, but the convenience can save you the hassle and money of hiring an uber/cab driver (or a car rental).
- The curbside check is still a great way to save time. Always have cash on hand so you can take advantage of this option. Cash is helpful in a variety of situations, from hotel porters to shuttles, it speaks everyone’s language.