A little bit of planning and forethought can save you a lot of time, expense, and trouble when traveling for work. Read on to learn our best business travel hacks, and attack your next business trip like a seasoned veteran. There are many simple things you can do, like skipping the luggage check and signing up for loyalty programs, that will make your next business trip more stress-free than ever before.
Consider a TSA Pre-Check Membership
Before you leave for your next business trip, do your future self a favor, and sign up for TSA Pre-Check. If you meet the qualifications for membership, you get to skip most of the hassle of the security line. Your membership lasts for five years, and during that time you don’t have to remove your shoes, laptops, liquids, belts or jackets in the security line.
You can sign up online to schedule an appointment that includes a background check and fingerprinting. This may be well worth it for those who travel frequently and want to make flights as streamlined and stress-free as possible.
Skip the Checked Bag
After you’ve logged a few business trips, you’ve probably come to realize that you can pack much lighter than you thought without sacrificing comfort or convenience. Investing in a good hard-case carryon with wheels will save you hundreds over the long term in checked bag fees. The items that take up the most space and weight in your bag are your shoes and bulky outerwear, like sweaters, cardigans, and suit coats. This is another place where investing in some neutral multi-taskers for your wardrobe will save you big down the line.
Take a dress from the conference room to a cocktail hour by swapping out the jewelry and adding or removing a cardigan rather than packing a separate outfit. Men can wear their suit coat and dress shoes on the plane to save on luggage space. Buying yourself one good pair of neutral travel shoes that can comfortably be worn the whole trip will save you space and pounds. If your cosmetics and liquids are causing you to check a bag, buy a few reusable travel-size squeeze bottles at any pharmacy and fill them up with your own product at home. You’ll love the time saved by not waiting in the baggage line, and you’ll never need to worry about ending up in an unfamiliar city with a lost bag.
Take Nonstop Flights Whenever Possible
Taking a nonstop flight can sometimes help you save when you consider the extra travel time and overpriced meals that you’ll have to eat in the airport by taking multiple layovers. By checking a few different flight search engines, you’ll often be able to find a direct flight at a good price. Layovers can come with a hidden cost when you factor in the risk of missing your connecting flight through no fault of your own — if your first flight is delayed, you have to wait for a bag, or your gate suddenly changes, you may face a mad dash through a busy airport with your carryon bouncing behind you. Skip the drama with a direct flight.
Try Skiplagging and Other Cheap Flight Hacks
You probably already use a flight aggregator to get the best rates, but you can also take advantage of some little-known hacks to score even cheaper flights. Skiplagged is a site that helps you find “hidden-city” tickets — the basic premise is if you’re trying to go from New York to Chicago, a flight from New York to San Francisco with a layover in Chicago might actually be cheaper. You then simply get off in Chicago and don’t catch the connecting flight. This is known as skiplagging.
Sign Up for Loyalty Programs to Save Big
Many people skip the loyalty program sign-ups, but it’s a mistake for those who travel regularly. Don’t think that exclusive mileage programs are the only perk available for frequent business travelers — your home airport likely offers a membership perks or rewards program that can come with discounts on parking, access to member lounges, and points for shop or restaurant purchases.
Another frequently overlooked source of perks is hotel chains, which offer loyalty programs that can get you special discounts, free WiFi, or upgraded rooms. To save money on transportation, look up car rental business programs like Dollar 4Business, which offers a 7%* discount on base rates for small businesses (so you know you’re always getting the very best rate), as well as perks like unlimited mileage and waived fees for additional drivers, young renters, and itinerary changes.
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* Discount applies to pay later base rate only. Taxes and fees excluded. Terms apply.