Business travel in the United States alone contributed about $282 billion to the national economy in 2015, according to Statista. This was close to 30 percent of all travel in the U.S. that year. The same source predicts that just domestic business trips will reach $483 million by 2020.
That’s a lot of miles for a lot of people, who will be on airplanes, waiting in airports, and hoping to have good hotel accommodations once they reach their destinations.
And certainly, many business travelers do sometimes face stress and frustrations–delays, lost luggage, cramped legroom on planes, “iffy” Wi-Fi, and accommodations that are not the best.
But while business travel can be less than ideal, you do have the power to make them better. Here are some hacks that you may not have considered.
1. Buy a pre-approved security status.
You may have noticed the line of people that are pre-approved for security check-in. They don’t have to take off their shoes and get in a much shorter line. You can get on the TSA website, enter your information, and request permanent pre-approval status. If you “check out” with them, for a small fee, you can get into that shorter line permanently.
2. Don’t check a bag–pack smart instead.
American Express recommends that business travelers never, ever check a bag. If that checked luggage should be lost, a traveler can find himself without the clothing and personal care items he needs to get ready for a business meeting in the morning.
Instead, consider how to pack better. If you will need a suit for a business meeting, wear it on the plane–this cuts down on needed luggage space. (you can always get it pressed at the hotel). Your carry-on bag then has plenty of space for a clean shirt or two, and other items you will need.
And if you will be on this trip for a few days, again, use the hotel laundry/dry cleaning service.
3. Focus on those rewards points.
This is probably the most confusing and frustrating part of trying to get upgrades and more. Every airline has reward points; even some restaurants allow using them.
It’s worth the time and trouble to keep on top of these points and rewards. They can mean an upgrade to first-class on an eight hour flight across the pond–legroom, great meal, and free drinks–what could be better? You can ease the pain of looking for deals and keeping track by using websites that keep you updated on points/rewards programs and provide hacks for maximizing those points.
You may not know, for example, which airlines have reciprocal agreements on rewards points or that some airline employees have the authority to negotiate points.
Here’s another little trick: If you’re a frequent flier, request an upgrade to first-class when you book. This will put a “Y” or “B” on your ticket. So, if there is an available seat in the next class up, you’ll get it.
4. Sneak a hotel room upgrade.
Here’s a great tip if you are a bit of an actor. Arrive as late as possible for check-in. According to insiders, chances are some of the higher-priced rooms are still available and unlikely to be booked at the last minute.
When you arrive at the desk, engage the clerk in conversation and tell your “sob story.” You have been sitting in airports all day; you are behind in getting your presentation ready for tomorrow, etc. It is possible that the clerk will take pity and give you an upgrade. Just remember–don’t directly ask for it. You’re going for sympathy here.
5. Add an extra day.
The airfare won’t be any more expensive, so why not? If you’re in a cool city and tied up with business meetings or in a conference the whole time, you’ll be sorry if you don’t take the opportunity for sightseeing.
Even if you have to downgrade your hotel accommodations for one night, do it. You may never get back again.
Business travel can be stressful, especially if it is frequent. You can mitigate some of the frustration by being proactive and a bit assertive. Take these five tips, add more of your own, and make business travel as seamless as possible, even enjoyable.
Join To Our Newsletter
You are welcome