38 Tips for Business Travel in 2016

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Business travel is the new first class. In a vastly changing and growing economy, business travelers are not just the suits armed with briefcases. The face of business travel is changing and growing. Bloggers, conferences, networking events, and good old fashioned face-to-face business meetings are now driving the world of business travel. More popular than ever before, the business travelers of 2016 will set the pace for growing economies in the new year. As more companies seek to conduct business face-to-face and more millennials enter the workforce, business travel is expected to increase yet again in 2016. The U.S. Dollar continues to strengthen and fuel costs remain down, and air travel is expected to increase dramatically throughout Europe and Asia-Pacific in 2016, as well as domestically across the US. 

Recent polls have shown that millennials are increasingly in favor of meeting in person to conduct business and are twice as likely to seek business trips than the baby boomer generation. As more baby boomers retire and more millennials enter the workforce, business travel will continue to grow. The travel industry is also growing to account for the increased demand for business travel needs. New apps hit the market every day that seek to cater to the unique needs of business travelers. Travel programs are now offered to help expedite the boarding and security process, as well as assist travelers avoid flight delays. As travel requirements change and new legislation is implemented, business travelers will also need to keep up to date.  

Savvy business travelers will benefit from knowing these 38 tips for business travel in 2016.

 

Travel Programs

smarttravopeningscreen_800_1.jpgTravel programs are a great way for the frequent traveler to skip the lines or enjoy benefits like priority boarding. Business travelers will enjoy these benefit too.

  • Apply for expedited traveler status through a program like TSA Pre✓ for US travel or Nexus, Sentri or Global Entry for international travel. The faster lanes can save you an hour at the airport. These trusted traveler programs are vital for business travelers.

  • Focus on one or two airlines for frequent flier miles and reward programs. The more you fly with one company, the faster you will receive bigger rewards. We also recommend ‘travel hacking’ and signing up for a credit card that will give you miles as a sign on bonus.

  • Focus on one or two hotel chains as well. Make sure you have a frequent guest account number. Business travelers are a major source of revenue for hotels, so pick one that caters to your needs. Many provide discounts on meeting rooms, shuttle services, and room rates.

  • Pay attention to the U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings. Anytime there is a security concern within the international community, a travel alert is issued.

  • The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a free program that provides up-to-date information on the destination countries along with information on the Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts. Enrollment in the STEP Program helps the U.S. embassies and consulates abroad to stay connected with your travel plans. This allows them to better connect with you and your loved ones in the event of an emergency such as natural disasters or medical emergencies.

 

Packing and Airplane Tips

  • Use your flight time to relax. Don’t trick yourself into ‘working’ at 35,000 feet. But if you think you’ll need wifi, check this list here: In-Flight WiFi

  • Carry a spare change of clothes in your carry-on luggage. If you end up without your luggage, you’ll at least have a backup plan. Keep it light, smart, and simple.

  • Use quality luggage tags that list your phone number and email address.

  • Be kind to everyone that is on the clock. Airline and hotel employees can often carry a lot of privileges that can trickle down to the customers. Being aggressive and rude with them will quickly put you down the list for upgrades, and it makes your company look bad. Also, it’s just good practice to be a kind human being.

  • Try to avoid airplane pillows and blankets. If they don’t come in a plastic bag, they probably haven’t been washed in a while. But if they are in a plastic bag, save the environment and skip it this time. Pack your own silk sheet and comfy pillow.

 

Stay Healthy

Staying healthy on the road should be one of your top priorities. Unfortunately this isn’t always easy, especially when the most convenient foods aren’t always the healthy options. But your body will thank you if you follow these tips.

  • Wash your hands at every opportunity. This may seem like a no-brainer, but make an extra effort to keep your hands clean on the road. Keep in mind that many of the things you handle during transit may not be cleaned all that often (think: seat-back pocket, blankets, pillows).

  • Pack some supplies like Emergen-C, Airborne, aspirin, and Sudafed. And please don’t touch your face, mouth, or nose with unwashed hands.

  • Reduce your risk of a blood clot. Stand up and walk around every 90 minutes or so.

  • Eat your fruits and veggies. If there was ever a time to stick to a diet, do it while on the road. Business travelers are more likely to get sick than the average person.

  • Get exercise by walking or jogging in the places you are visiting. Force yourself to be a tourist every now and then. It will also keep you clued in with the local atmosphere and it will help keep your mind sharp.

  • Always stay hydrated with plenty of water. Water keeps your skin looking fresh and your mind alert.

  • Protect your stomach. Business trips are not the time to experiment with unusual cuisine. You don’t want to miss an important meeting because you were stuck in the bathroom.

  • Leave the booze and grab more water. Drinking on the plane will give you a hangover before you get to your hotel. When in doubt, drink some sparkling water.

 

Travel Technology Tips

There are endless apps and websites for the modern traveler. The “must have travel apps” lists seem to come out every month, so we won’t add on to that here. You should certainly download the apps of the major airlines, especially your airline of choice (remember your frequent traveler accounts), but here are some things you may not know of yet:

  • Google Maps: You can save your maps offline on your smartphone in the event you can’t get consistent wifi and you don’t want to be that lost tourist.

  • Mobile Payment Apps: Venmo, ApplePay, Chase QuickPay. There are many options for quick and free money transfers, but these are solid and trustworthy.

  • Chat apps to communicate with your team or clients (Slack, Whatsapp, Hangouts, Snapchat)

  • Uber or Lyft: Get around quick and easy.

  • AT&T tethering is a great way to utilize your smartphone if no wifi is available.

  • Seatguru.com will help you make informed decisions on where to sit on your next flight.

  • OpenTable.com makes restaurant reservations easy with over 20,000 restaurants worldwide are members. You’ll score points with everyone when you plan the reservations ahead of time.

  • Travel Search Engines. Many business travelers may not need to pay attention to the actual booking details, but if you are responsible for your own travel plans, we recommend using many of the best travel search engines to compare fares.

 

Passport Tips

Adding Passport Pages in 2016

One of the most important changes for 2016 is about your passport. Previously, the US Department of State issued a standard passport with 28 pages (17 of which could be used for visas). If travelers ran out of visa pages, it was possible to add more visa pages. As of January 1st 2016, U.S. travelers that run out of visa pages will not longer have the option to add pages. Travelers must now apply for a passport renewal. The old passport will be returned and the new passport will be the 52-page passport book. This decision was made to enhance security and meet international passport standards.

Passport Restrictions if you owe the IRS

For U.S. citizens that owe more than $50,000 in unpaid taxes, the opportunity to hold a passport may be suspended, revoked, or denied. A current bill intends to prevent travelers from obtaining their passport if you owe more than $50,000 and the IRS has filed a notice of lien. There may be some extenuating circumstances that the IRS will temporarily lift the ban, however all applicants should take this into consideration if they have delinquent tax payments. This is similar to the current policy regarding child support payments. If you are in arrears on child support payments, your passport may not be issued until your child support payments are paid in full.

 

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Passport Tips:

  • Renew your passport early. The current surge in demand for passports is the highest since 2007. Routine processing takes 4-6 weeks or longer. Expedited services can secure your passport in as little as 24 hours though.

  • When you renew your passport, keep your old passport if you still have valid visas. You can travel with both passports if you still have valid visas in your previously expired passport.

  • Frequent traveler and constantly need visas? Consider applying for a second duplicate passport. This allows you to have two passports so you can submit one for a visa and travel on the other passport.

  • Make sure your passport photos meet the requirements. Passport photos are the number one reason passport applications are denied.

  • If your name has changed and your passport is more than one-year-old, you will need to renew your passport. The name change process is handled during the renewal. You must submit certified copies or original documents for the name change.

 

Passport Requirement for Domestic Travel

The Real ID Act is possibly undergoing enforcement by the TSA, which means your driver’s license may no longer be enough for domestic travel. If your State ID is not compliant with the 2005 law, you may need to apply for a passport book or passport card in order to travel on domestic airlines.

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