Depending on how often you travel for work, planning a business trip can be very exciting. Perhaps you’re looking forward to traveling to a new city, or maybe you’re attending a big conference to network and grow your start-up business.
Whatever the case may be, you are eager to get started. However, if you’re an inexperienced traveler, that excitement can quickly turn to stress if you are not prepared.
Who said traveling has to be super hard, though? Follow these simple tips to make your trip as stress-free as possible.
1. A few months before your trip, set up flight alerts. You can set them up for free on most sites. These alerts will send you a notification whenever the fare of your flight drops. You can even pick a certain price and only get alerted if the fare drops to that amount.
2. Keep in mind that if you’re going to fly internationally, you should book your flight a minimum of six weeks in advance. For domestic flights within your own country, booking a month in advance usually gets you the best rates and at least a week in advance will still save on the ticket price.
3. The more flexible you are with your destination and dates of travel, the more likely you’ll be to get a great deal. Let’s say your conference is in Manhattan. You may be able to find a hotel in Queens or New Jersey for half the price, and still be within a reasonable commute to your conference destination.
4. Consider flying into nearby airports. For example, you may be booking rooms at hotels in Los Angeles, but you don’t necessarily have to fly into LAX. You may get a better deal if you fly into the Long Beach airport.
5. Save money by booking your connecting flights separately. For example, if you’re traveling to Europe, a flight to Paris could cost a lot less than a flight to Rome. You could fly into Paris, then take a budget airline to Rome. It’s common to find a low cost, budget airline in Europe as well as in Southeast Asia. Yes, this kind of booking can be kind of a hassle, but it could save you hundreds of dollars, too.
6. Pick your seat beforehand with tools like SeatGuru. Not every economy seat is created equal! With this service, you can compare the perks and drawbacks of different seats on the plane and make your decision when you book your flight. This is especially valuable if you need to do work on the plane because some seats have no tables and others no reclining seats.
7. You may hate layovers at first, but you can learn to make the most of them. Airport lounges can be great, comfortable places to spend a few hours. Many lounges have free WiFi, massages, alcohol and gourmet food. Even if you don’t technically have access to an airport lounge at first, you can still ask if they’ll let you in for a fee. For example, you can access some lounges for $50 if you’re the holder of a certain type of credit card.
8. Instead of dutifully rolling up each and every item of clothing you’re packing, invest in a Space Bag. Similar to a vacuum seal, Space Bags suck the air out of clothing so you can pack more items in your bag. This is very helpful if you’re traveling somewhere chilly and need to pack big coats and sweaters.
9. Purchase a VPN so you can access your favorite websites while traveling abroad. A lot of international connections will block certain sites and videos. Some countries block YouTube. When you have a VPN (a virtual private network), you can access your favorite content.
Next time you are planning a business trip, follow these tips from Fiona Monarty of Hipmunk, the ultimate platform for all your travel needs, so you can make the most of your trip and focus on what really matters – the job at hand.
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