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cokebottleag
Texas A&M Fan
King of Knee Jerk Reactions here.
Member since Aug 2011
20089 posts

re: Business Travel tips
quote:

I always dress in a sport coat when I fly, I find it has paid dividends when I have to go to Plan B or C when dealing with airlines or with business meetings once I get where I’m going.



This is good advice.


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hoopsgalore
Wisconsin Fan
Chicago, IL
Member since Nov 2013
6273 posts
 Online 

re: Business Travel tips
I travel to SF / Bay Area every couple weeks. 95% of the time, I’m there for 2+ days.

For luggage, I have a small duffel bag with two collared shirts, one sport jacket, pair of loafers, and a couple pairs of casual clothes. It’s the nature of the area — Bay Area is casual, so I skip the full suit.

I have TSA PreCheck and, exclusively, fly United. ORD is a hub and there are several direct flights to SFO each day. I have a MileagePlus Club Card, which gives me lounge access and free checked bags (helps when I bring beer back).

I don’t have status with any one hotel group because prices wildly vary in SF with conventions, etc. HR and finance, simply, request we try to keep hotels under $400/night. There are circumstances when that is not possible. Dreamforce, for example, can inflate hotel prices to $1,000. It’s insane.


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The Spleen
Alabama Fan
Member since Dec 2010
22698 posts

re: Business Travel tips
quote:


DONT:
get adventurous in new places


Why do you say that? That was the only thing I really loved when I traveled for work. I usually tried to plan my travel close toweekends when I was going somewhere cool and extend the trip a day or two to explore.


Jax-Tiger
LSU Fan
Portland, OR
Member since Jan 2005
17348 posts

re: Business Travel tips
quote:

Once you know what airline you'll be on, get a Business/VIP lounge membership for that airline. Waiting 3 hours for a flight while relaxing in a huge lounge chair with a coffee and food is nice.


The added advantage of this it that if you are flying somewhere where inclement weather can cause delays or flight cancellations, the lounges have agents to help you change your itinerary with no lines. I was flying up to Halifax, Nova Scotia one winter, and this was incredibly handy. Once a flight delay/cancellation occurs, everyone rushes to the nearest ticket agent. You can just wander on down to the lounge and someone will take care of you.

This is great if there are only a few seats left on the next flight out of town. The agents in the lounge really take care of you, because they know you are a high volume customer, or you wouldn't be in the lounge.


Jax-Tiger
LSU Fan
Portland, OR
Member since Jan 2005
17348 posts

re: Business Travel tips
Also, consider CLEAR, if you're traveling to/from airports that have it. It is actually faster than TSA-Precheck, although it costs more.

The biggest advantage for me was that you bypass the security line completely and go right to the scanners. This means that your time spent waiting to get your ID checked is eliminated and you can actually get to the airport 30 minutes before boarding and not be rushed. That means and extra hour with a client on the day you fly out, so it can be very valuable.


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cokebottleag
Texas A&M Fan
King of Knee Jerk Reactions here.
Member since Aug 2011
20089 posts

re: Business Travel tips
Well, it might be because of the places I went for work that I felt that way.....

Brazil and Mexico aren’t exactly the places for a skinny gringo to go wandering off by himself


TheDeathValley
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Sep 2010
8512 posts

re: Business Travel tips
1. The best carry on luggage
This one is a personal prefrence. Carry on bags are slightly different than checked bags because you won't be beating them up, but I think of luggage as "expendable" as in, if I get two years out of them, I did well. I like this one because it has spinning wheels, they are built well, and extremely lightweight. Always go with the international carry on size, because regional jets tend to have smaller overhead bins and you'll end up gate checking.
LINK
2. Getting in, out and around Airports

This one depends. If I know I will not be doing any site seeing, or if I will be staying in one location (let's say a hotel confrence room) I will just Uber. I have never used Lyft but I assume they are just as good. I have used Uber at many airports around the world, and have NEVER had an issue. Plus, they are local and give great advice. Most airports have designated Uber/Lyft pickup points to make the whole process easier and you can reserve times in some cities now.

If you go the rental car route, pick ONE and only use them. My company as a discount with Hertz so I have stuck with them for a few years. Most major airports let you pick your car upon arrival, which is a nice feature. You can always request a car, and they do pretty well at accommodating. I have called them a day ahead of time and made some pretty interesting requests (Our CEO came in and we wanted a new, black, clean Chevy Suburban and I got one the next day with less than 100 miles). Our account with Hertz gives us insurance, but if yours does not, GET IT. It is not a sucker bet. I got rear ended pretty good once and they brought me a new car, and that was the end of it. They handle everything. They also come with toll tags in all cars now, so that is nice.
3. Hotel chains to use

This is largely a personal preference. How much is your company willing to pay? Are you on per diem or expenses?

If the company pays for it, and you are in big cities, pick one of the bigger guys: Hilton, Shearton, etc. I personally use Hilton, and again, they are very good to their loyal customers. You can get silver with only 10 nights I think. Most bigger brands like Hilton also have smaller chains in network like Doubletree and Hampton and Garden Inn. Pick one, and stick with it, no matter what.

4. Airlines
Again, personal preference. I am based out of MSY so I could chose between: AA, Delta, United, Southwest, and Spirit. I will give you my experience.

Southwest They have no true perks for frequent flyers unless you do something like 120 segments a year, but the staff and schedules are nice. You can change your flights for free however you can't pre-pick a seat.
Hubs: They have "focus" cities such as MCO, HOU, and DAl
American I fly American now, and I am Platinum Pro. They have been very good to me, offer upgrades to frequent flyers, but the system is "interesting" For flights under 500 miles, it is compliemntary, but you are competing against everyone else who has status. For flights over you have to use "500 mile upgrades" so for a flight of 999 miles you would use two, but a flight of 1001 you would use three. You can buy them for $40 a piece or earn 4 with every ten thousand miles of flying. You only earn access to the admiral's lounge if you become ConceiargeKey but it is invite only.
Hubs: DFW, CLT, MIA, ORD, and LAX

United I have not flown them in 15 years, I could not tell you much other than they are a standard big boy airline.
Hubs: DEN, IAH, SFO, and EWR

Delta I was Platinum with Delta, and I only switched to American because I moved to New Orleans from Georgia where ATL is located. Delta is great, my FIL is Diamond which gets him Porsche airport transfers and SkyClub access.
Hubs: ATL, DTW, JFK, LAX

*Whether you chose Southwest or American/Delta/United, it is all the same. As a frequent traveler, they will help you every time as long as your are polite. If your flight is delayed/canceled or something like that, just know it is NORMAL. Regular folks fly once every two years or so, so their opinion is pretty mute. I hear all the time "oh delta did this or AA did this..." Airlines make 80% of their revenue from people who fly their airline more than once per year. Think about that.

This post was edited on 12/6 at 11:05 am


TheDeathValley
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Sep 2010
8512 posts

re: Business Travel tips
5. Credit Cards
Depending on your company you will either get a corporate card, or they will reimburse you on your personal card. Either way, get a cobranded card, either from your airline or your hotel. I have a Citi Exectuive card for AA and an Amex Blue with Hilton. My hilton card is free annually and gives me Silver status. They have a high card which is $95 a year and you get automatic gold. My citicard is $495 a year but I get admiral's club status which is worth it in itself. Additionally, you can earn EQM (miles that count toward status) and free checked bags for a few people. You get 1 mile per dollar spent, and $2+ for dollars spent.

At the end of the day, every hotel and airline has 2-3 tiers of cards going from free, to $100 to $500 and each has specefic perks that may or may not work for you. Some give free TSA PreCheck (I have Global Entry but that is another animal) and some give flight vouchers of $200 or so.

6. Getting through the airports
All airports are pretty much the same. Some, like DFW have multiple drop off points depending on which terminal you are flying out of, but everything is connected by plane. Just follow the signs, they are self explanatory. With PreCheck, I usually give myself 1 hour before departure for domestic and 2 hours for international. It can vary, but that comes with experience (Holiday, Early v. Late flight, size of airport, etc).

7. Final Advice
Pack light. No liquids, knives, all that jazz. All hotels have nice(ish) solitaries, so no need to pack that. All hotels also sell everything at a shop. If you have TSA PreCheck you leave your shoes on, your belt, your watch on and your laptop stays in the bag. It is worth every penny. At MSY it takes me 10 minutes from when I park my car to getting to the gate, and that is no exaggeration.

If you will be driving yourself to the airport, get a Park-N-Fly account. It is not covered parking, but it is cheaper and you book up free days rather quickly. It is also the only place to get "guranteed" parking as the regular garage at MSY can get packed quickly. If you use the parking garage, ALWAYS take a picture of where you park, trips begin to come together.

Always carry your medicine, keys, passport in your backpack, and always have a backpack. Keep a change of underwear and socks in there too, that has been really helpful in the past.

Get some nice headphones, this will be your best investment. You can go all out and get Bose or you can get the HG over the neck ones, just make sure those are in ear.

Room service is a waste of money. If you are a drinker, go to a local store and get what you want. Talk to the hotel staff about places to see/eat, they are local and they give great advice. If you must order food, use UberEats or Waiter. Better food, much cheaper, and often faster.


The final piece of advice, and the most important. If you do everything from your mobile phone, you do not have to talk to anyone the entire trip!
1) Check in 24 hours before your flight, get a mobile boarding pass
2) Check in 24 hours ahead for your hotel, get a "Digital Key"
2) Park and walk straight to security because you are not checking a bag. Give them your ID and scan your phone
3) Drop your bag on the belt, and walk through the metal detector, remember you have PreCheck so you do not have to do anything else
4) Grab a drink or wait at the gate.
5) Board the plane and scan your mobile phone
6) Deboard, go straight to the rental card parking lot, no need for baggae claim with no checked bag
7) Grab the car that they texted you to get, or grab one from your designated lanes.
8) Sign your release and drive to your hotel. Walk straight to your room and use your phone to open the door




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314stunna
LSU Fan
NYC
Member since Aug 2015
268 posts

re: Business Travel tips
quote:

Marriott Rewards Card. Get the card!


Do you use your Marriott card just to book hotel or everything?

I'm asking as I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and am about to get the Marriott card I think also.


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cokebottleag
Texas A&M Fan
King of Knee Jerk Reactions here.
Member since Aug 2011
20089 posts

re: Business Travel tips
Your phone is going to be your office in airports. You need to purchase a battery backup.

My favorite is the fuelrod because most airports have a kiosk you can trade a dead battery for a charged one, free.


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The Spleen
Alabama Fan
Member since Dec 2010
22698 posts

re: Business Travel tips
quote:

Well, it might be because of the places I went for work that I felt that way.....

Brazil and Mexico aren’t exactly the places for a skinny gringo to go wandering off by himself



Gotcha. All of my travel was domestic, so no real concerns there.

Here's one last tip not pertaining to anything OP asked. Try not to become that douchebag business traveler that looks down his nose at leisure travelers that only fly once every year or two. Yes, they'll get on your nerves, especially if you're in a hurry, but the experience is largely foreign to them. They get it, you travel a lot and know the ins and outs of it all. No need to sigh, or roll your eyes, or make snide comments to them.


pjab
LSU Fan
NYC
Member since Mar 2016
2877 posts

re: Business Travel tips
Lots of good advice in here. Once you get into a pattern, certainly get premium credit cards to maximize the benefits of spend. Amex Plat is a no brainer for anyone who flys Delta and takes uber one a month.

My friend travels a crazy amount for work (up to 5 flights per week) and predominantly on Southwest. He said he flys them because the points are the easiest converted into cash (cash equivalents, really). I think last year he cashed out points for several thousand worth of Amazon gift cards. He doesn’t value the domestic first class and always is A1 on SW so he minimizes time on a plane. Just something else to consider.


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cokebottleag
Texas A&M Fan
King of Knee Jerk Reactions here.
Member since Aug 2011
20089 posts

re: Business Travel tips
Seconded.


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ecb
LSU Fan
Member since Jul 2010
2958 posts

re: Business Travel tips
After going thru Samsonite luggage, I got travel pro

I buy a club membership every year to me it's worth it to have a place to go on layovers, get a bite to eat, work etc.

If you can, buy refundable tickets for business travel, builds up miles faster.

I earned points faster on Marriott than I did on Hilton so I use Marriott when I can, but I have most of the loyalty cards.

Always fly direct if possible, avoid Atlanta, O'Hare, Dulles, Newark if possible.

This is the most important thing to know, never, ever check luggage.


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Stiffy
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Oct 2014
204 posts

re: Business Travel tips
The only thing that I haven’t seen in other replies:
An Apple Watch is a must! Automatically changes to the correct time zone.
The only thing I have in my pocket is my drivers license. My boarding pass is on my watch. Makes life very easy!


cptigger
LSU Fan
Nola
Member since Jun 2005
1239 posts

re: Business Travel tips
A lot of truths in these responses. I travel weekly so I’ll add my 2 cents.

Pick an airline based on your travel needs. Personally I’ve done Southwest bc the companion pass is nice for family vacations. Lately I’ve opted for AA for the status perks. I’m now EP and it is nice. Supposedly not as good as it was in the last but then again what is.

Choose a hotel brand and stick with them. I chose SPG, now Marriott, bc the higher end vacation types were nicer than Hilton. I do miss Diamond status at Hilton for a guaranteed room but Marriott is fine.

A top end carry on is a must. Some say to get the international size but I’ve got the domestic Tumi and I haven’t found an overhead bin it doesn’t fit in.

I’m a backpack guy but whatever works for you.

Bose headphones for the plane and AirPods for everything else.

I rent from National just out of habit. I earn free rental days that I hardly ever use but so what.

Get a good credit card that maximizes points.

If you are traveling a lot make sure you find a way to eat heathy and work out. Otherwise the travel can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.
This post was edited on 12/10 at 10:03 am


cave canem
Mississippi St. Fan
land o sand
Member since Oct 2012
8198 posts

re: Business Travel tips
quote:

1. The best carry on luggage
2. Getting in, out and around Airports
3. Hotel chains to use




1) Hartmann, spend the money, you wont regret it.

Get a nice backpack, you can use stairs while the fatasses line up with their rolly bags on the escalators


2) Go ahead and get Global Entry as it will give you pre-check and if you ever re enter the US it is worth it. Always pre book the rental car or taxi online

3) Pretty subjective but stick to a national chain with lots of locations/brands so you can use the points as you wish.


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cave canem
Mississippi St. Fan
land o sand
Member since Oct 2012
8198 posts

re: Business Travel tips
quote:

Try not to become that douchebag business traveler that looks down his nose at leisure travelers that only fly once every year or two. Yes, they'll get on your nerves, especially if you're in a hurry, but the experience is largely foreign to them. They get it, you travel a lot and know the ins and outs of it all. No need to sigh, or roll your eyes, or make snide comments to them.



Ahh, the ones who cant figure out what to take out their bag before going through the scanner, forgot they have a belt on, don't know they cant have that bottle of water, and oh yeah did not know everything out their pocket meant everything?

Bonus points awarded if they manage to wait till they stop the entire line to sort it.

Are these the ones you are referring to?


Fat Harry
Tulane Fan
70115
Member since Mar 2005
1429 posts

re: Business Travel tips
In addition to everything else:

Download apps for everything. Every airline, every hotel, every rental car. Sign up for rewards programs for all. Makes life totally paperless and easy.

Get the Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve credit cards. I have both. Lounge access, points, trip insurance...all good stuff.

Monitor your airline miles / elite status at year end. One year I missed out on United Gold by just a few hundred miles.


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thelawnwranglers
LSU Fan
Oakland, NJ
Member since Sep 2007
22452 posts

re: Business Travel tips
Two sets of toliteries

Travel is bag read to go all times


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