Welcome to the world of professional traveling. If you are reading this, chances are you are either new to traveling or interested in figuring out what you can be doing better. Before going into detail, I want to point out that there is no perfect way of doing things. These are just some ideas and tips that I’ve found useful over the past 10 years.
1. Sign up for reward points! This is the most important part of traveling. Before taking your first trip, make sure you are signed up for all the corresponding rewards programs, so you can fully benefit from traveling and work on your free trip to Europe (or wherever).
a. Hotel- Guaranteed room reservations, free stays (for that vacation in Hawaii), free upgrades, and even snacks upon check-in.
b. Airlines- Complimentary seat upgrades (because who doesn’t like first class), free luggage check-in, and free flights.
c. Rental Cars- Free upgrades (I got a Corvette once!), and free rental days.
d. Food – Make sure to sign up for Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A rewards, if you like that sort of thing.
2. Maximize rewards with specific credit cards! BEWARE! Credit cards can lead to unnecessary debt if not managed carefully. However, if you’re disciplined and pay them off regularly, the benefit is worth it. Whether it’s cash back, points or miles, the results can be, well, rewarding.
3. Prepare for crappy weather! It’s easy to pack the wrong kind of clothes for your destination. I’m not saying pack your entire closet, but make sure you look at the weather ahead of time (both the high and low temps) and account for the humidity of the area. As an engineer, you also want to take into consideration the climate of the work area. Some plants are very hot (if you are working around fryers or boilers). While others can be very cold (if you are working around open food or refrigerated areas).
4. Put your tools in your checked luggage! I personally have had to deal with this on several occasions. It’s easy to forget about that screwdriver in your backpack. This is the last thing you want to deal with in the security checkpoint, particularly if you’re already running late for a flight. The same goes for other tools. The quick rule is any tool larger than your hand should be in the checked luggage. This also applies to testing equipment. I get flagged every time I have travel with a Fluke electrical tester in my bag, so throw that in your checked luggage as well.
5. Beware using the rental car toll pass! Although this may seem like a quick and convenient way to get through a tool booth in an unfamiliar area, using the rental car toll pass comes with a hefty surcharge. Rental car companies can charge up to an extra $15.00/day just for use of their pass. Bring your own E-Z Pass transponder or pay cash if possible. Also, please remember to fill up that car when you are done, it just helps everyone.
6. Finally, find the nearest brewery! If you are ever looking for a good place to eat in an unfamiliar town, just look up a nearby watering hole… Even if you aren’t a beer drinker, breweries often serve great food and provide a relaxing atmosphere to wind down after a hard day’s work and will give you grub a lot better than a cheap fast food chain.
Do you have any business travel tips to share? I’d love to hear from you.
Image Source: katemangostar