5 Great Travel Tips U Should Know

Traveling today is challenging to say the least. Planes are packed, TSA lines are longer and more frustrating and hotel rates are through the roof. If you travel much for business or pleasure, you should be aware of these 5 tips that can save you time, money and frustration.

1. Get a TSA Pre-Check Pass:

If you plan on traveling by air more than once or twice a year, you need to apply for a TSA Pre-Check pass before you fly. The TSA Pre-Check pass is a five-year membership program that will allow you to zoom through domestic airports. It is a prescreen program that clears you through TSA so you don’t get stuck in those incredibly long security lines. Even better, with a TSA Pre-Check pass, you don’t have to remove your shoes, unpack your laptop, take off your belt or jacket and you don’t have to bag your fluids for inspection. You simply enter a KTN code they provide you to your ticket reservation and Pow! you’re on the plane, ready for takeoff. The Pre-Check program requires you to fill out an application, pass a background check, be fingerprinted and do an in-person interview with a TSA official. The passes cost $85.00 and are good for five years. To apply for your pass, go to: https://www.tsa.gov/precheck.

2. Learn How to Pack Like a Pro:

People pack too much stuff! It’s just that simple. Unless you’re traveling for an overnight meeting, you need to learn how to pack like the pros. First, take everything you plan on packing and cut it in half. You’ll discover that beyond the mandated attire (business suit, tie, dress shoes) you won’t need that many different articles of clothing. Pack for the climate and weather and include items that can be worn casually or semi-dress. Roll your clothes. From t-shirts to pants, if you roll everything, you will not only save a ton of space, you’ll keep your garments wrinkle free. That’s why the U.S. military instructs all of its members to roll their clothes. Finally, use packing cubes and mesh bags. Both will save space and keep things divided and easy to access.

3. Book the Right Room @ the Right Price:

While deals on airline tickets and rental cars are fairly commonplace, getting a deal on a hotel room can take some time to arrange. The first thing you need to do is decide on a location. Use your favorite map program to locate the exact place you need to go for your meeting or convention and then gear all of your efforts to staying in that area. Nothing eats time and money like commuting, so try to avoid it on business trips and stay near your final destination. To get the best rates, do your homework. Use travel sites like Priceline.com, Kayak.com, Travelocity.com, or any of the dozens of legitimate hotel sites available online. Compare rates at the hotels featured in your area. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save by comparing prices between hotel booking sites. If you are taking a last minute business trip, Hotelstonite.com is a great site to find a room on the day you travel. Also be sure to utilize any group or membership discounts you may be eligible for. AAA, military and government discounts are just a few of the offerings that work for discounted rates at most hotels.

 

4. Rent Your Car Smarter:

Despite the appearance of numerous car rental agencies to choose from, the fact is that almost all U.S. car rental companies are owned by the big four: Avis, which owns Budget, Zipcar and Payless; Hertz, owner of Dollar and Thrifty; Enterprise, which has Alamo and National under its corporate umbrella; and finally, Advantage, who owns E-Z Rent-a-Car. This means that there isn’t as much competition as one would believe. Use a booking site that can really perform for cheap rates, like Priceline (hard to beat, especially when you name your own price), or AutoSlash, a great source for cheap rates. Whichever you choose, do at least a couple different ones just to ensure you’ve got the lowest of the quickly changing rates. There are also a couple of don’t-dos when it comes to car renting – don’t buy their insurance (most credit cards or driver’s insurance will cover any accidents) and don’t buy the prepaid gasoline plan. You can always buy gas cheaper, especially if you have the app, Gas Buddy on your phone, which will always point you to the cheapest gas in your area.

 

5. Rely on the Right Apps:

In addition to the specific apps mentioned above, the savvy business traveler should always keep a few updated apps on their phone. Gate Guru is great at keeping you updated on any gate changes your flight may be subjected to; Lola, is a brand new travel app that uses a combination of artificial intelligence and human travel agents to ensure your trip goes well; and finally, be sure to have Google Maps on your device as this handy helper will get you to meetings, restaurants and back to your hotel regardless of the city.

 

Use these five tips and your next business trip is all but guaranteed to be a smooth experience. One final tip – always arrive early to the airport, with 60 – 90 minutes being the minimum lead time you need. Being early not only helps ensure you make your flight, but will remove that traveler’s anxiety we all experience when traveling in these crowded, security-minded times.