As with any area of specialization, there are business travelers who always seem to know what they are doing and those who constantly seem to be in a state of crisis. The business traveler who has been at it a while figures out some insider information that not many travelers know. These little travel secrets make the world of difference when traveling. And you can bet they are not going to share this information with just anyone because this is the kind of information that can change the nature of your business travel forever.
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Your laptop is a crucial piece of equipment as you travel. In an airport emergency situation, your wireless laptop can be used to change reservations so you can avoid those long lines to get on the next flight out. You can reserve a rental car or snag one of the few remaining hotel rooms in town right from the comfort of a seat at the airport. Then the savvy business traveler can casually stroll to his or her designation as others around them panic because they knew how to leverage technology and the internet to bail themselves out of a crisis situation.
But one aspect of using your laptop to rescue yourself when the airport is in shut down is the limited power of laptops. To see your battery go dead just when you needed it the most is like watching your ship sink as the sharks circle the lifeboat. What not many people know is that there are open electrical outlets in airports that are there for cleaning crews if you know where they are. Usually these outlets are just under the windows that overlook the landing strips so if you can secure a seat near these outlets, you can charge up your laptop and keep your lifeline to the world alive.
Business travelers also know how to take full advantage of resources that are made available to business travelers exclusively. Find hotels that cater to the traveling businessperson. These hotels will not have amenities for families nor are they trying to bring in busses of teenagers on the way to camp. So you can find a hotel with much fewer young people making noise and being a nuisance when you are trying to focus on business.
In addition to using businesses that cater to the business traveler, take advantage of frequent flyer and priority clubs that many airlines and hotels offer. If you are going to travel a lot, you can rack up some credits on those clubs, which can result in upgrades to first class, better accommodations or free services when you stay at your selected hotels. They win because they capture your travel dollar. You win because you get pampered for a while.
You can gain a lot of convenience and reduce your hassles by using a less popular airport to come into town. By utilizing an airport in a smaller town near by and renting a car, you get out of the congestion of traffic and can drive to your destination without that exposure to the masses all pushing and shoving to get through the major hubs.
Extra copies of travel documents can speed things up a lot especially if you are leaving the country. Often when you are going through customs, you must surrender your passport so the customs agent can make a copy. So you make a copy before you get there and give it to them. With a quick scan, they can confirm that it is a legitimate copy and have you on your way much quicker.
Don’t overlook how public transportation can bail you out of dealing with a lot of traffic in large city situations. In Washington or New York, the subways work exceptionally well. If you can get out of the airport area via mass transit, you can find a rental car location in town and conduct your business with less wait and without the traffic jams you would face at the airport. Plus airport rental car sites are more expensive than those in town.
These little tips can go a long way toward making your trip less of a hassle, less expensive and more successful. By knowing how to get around the big crowds and use the resources made available to business travelers, your trip will be more efficient, more relaxed and more successful.
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Moving Through Airport Security Quickly
Ever since homeland security has become such an issue, moving through airport security has become more difficult. As a seasoned business traveler, this part of your business trip requires some savvy preparation and your knowledge of the system so you can sail through security at the airport as quickly as possible. But the ability to navigate airport security quickly is not something that comes easy or without some significant planning and training.
The biggest problem of getting through security is not you, it’s the other people who did not come prepared for this process. If you get stuck behind someone who is completely stumped by what is expected of them, it can take forever to get through the system. So the first priority is to hit airport security when the crowds are low. The easiest way to accomplish this is to take the first flight of the day out of that airline. This will be the time when there are fewer people in the airport than anytime of the day.
Usually it is only business travelers who are at the airport at six a.m. so they will be the ones that already know how to handle security and the lines will move much more quickly. Like them, you have already learned the most recent rules about what will pass through security and what will get you stopped. You will need your driver’s license and boarding pass several times as you move through the process. So have that out early on and ready to show it often. Don’t put that information away until you are on the other side of security and ready to go to the gate. That one-step alone moves you along quickly through the different checkpoints of airport security.
Usually airport security uses a queuing system to handle the crowds. That means that usually it is one long line moving up to the gates and then that line splits into several gates where various teams work the travelers through the scanning stations. As you are standing in line to go through the gates, keep an eye on the different stations. Some stations will stop more people or their equipment is too sensitive so it is moving slower. You may notice that a new team has arrived and is preparing to open a new station. With a bit of maneuvering in line, you can hit that new station as it opens and move through fast before the lines accumulate there.
This is also a place to do a bit of profiling. While it is not ok for police to profile, you can look over the people ahead of you and profile those who will either be detained for scanning or will be a big problem when they are ready to put their stuff on the belts. Certain ethnic groups might get scanned more often. It’s sad but true. We all want racial equality but if you can avoid being behind that person, you might get through security faster. Also, avoid “amateur travelers” who have lots of kids, the elderly, people in wheelchairs or anyone who looks like they are confused by this process. You can be a hero and help someone out if you have plenty of time. But as the lines split up to go to the different stations, you can simply avoid being behind people who will slow up the process and go to the fast lines to get through more efficiently.
You can cut down on how much you get scanned before you get to the airport. Wear slip-on shoes that you can get off quickly and back on quickly. Boots and tie shoes just slow you down. Keep the amount of “stuff” you are carrying through security to a minimum. Put your wallet, keys and other pocket material in your briefcase or purse before you even get in line. In that way you are down to shoes and that item to move through security and you can move more quickly.
These tricks of the trade can make the beginning of your business trip much less of a problem and get you to the gate more quickly. The security personnel will appreciate that you know what you are doing and you will reduce your stress and move along to your business goals with less anxiety and a greater focus on your objectives.