In my previous jobs I traveled so, much i became a whiz at working from just about anywhere including the middle of a soybean field and having all the information I needed at my finger tips.
I've compiled 10 tips and tricks of the travel trade that will hopefully help you be a more prepared and relaxed traveler.
1. Join loyalty programs- Frequent travel or loyalty programs with airlines, hotels and rental cars are great because they are free, so sign up for all of them! Get something out of your travel. If possible, try to stay with one brand family of each; this helps you earn points faster. For example, I like HIlton hotels, so that could be a Hampton Inn, HIlton Garden Inn, Hilton, etc. If you seem to be accumulating small amounts of points on numerous different brands there is sometimes the option to transfer. For example when I lived in Milwaukee I often had to take a variety of airlines, so I never had enough miles to get a free flight. So, I looked at my preferred hotel program and I could exchange airline miles for hotel points.
2. CardStar app to keep you organized- So I learned quickly that keeping track of all the loyalty cad programs really weighed down my purse. I moved to having all my numbers typed up on a small piece of paper I carried in my billfold. Now, technology is your friend! The CardStar app is a great, easy-to-use app that stores all your numbers in one place. It allows you to have everything available at your fingertips and also you can enter restaurant cards like Qdoba and so it's less bulk in your wallet.
3. Calendar appointments for confirmation numbers- I used to be the traveler that had a folder with all my confirmation and important documents printed out. Now I use my phone for all my calendar needs to keep my life in order. I've learned that if you add in your flight, hotel and reservation confirmation information as appointments in your calendar. It's all right there!
4. Portable charger- One of the traveling pains that I always run into is dying devices. Over the past couple of years I have become reliant on portable recharging devices. The great news is these devices are getting cheaper and smaller. I was fortunate enough to get one for Christmas from my sister and brother-in-law and love it. It's a Jackery brand.
5. Lay out your clothes by day to pack- I was the queen, and sometimes still falter, of completely overpacking for a trip. However I learned the trick from my sister to lay out your clothes by day. This helps you look at your travel plans and ensure you have options, but also complete outfits. It really stinks when you get to your destination with lots of great bottoms and not enough tops. Simple, but in important. Plus when you are traveling with men for work, they don't want to wait at checked baggage for the two-day trip. I've learned the art of mixing and matching!
6. Envelope for receipts- Simple idea, but when you find yourself on back-to-back trips an envelope for each trip is very helpful when it comes time for expense reports. It's also a time saver to write any necessary information on the back of your receipts at the time of purchase. If you need to record who is dinner, do it when you sign the receipt, much easier than trying to recall the details when you look back.
7. Map your destination when you take a car or cab- I will pull up the destination on the map before hailing a cab. This helps you share the exact address and closest intersection to the cab driver. This is extra helpful in city where you are unfamiliar. I also like to go ahead and navigate to the destination with my phone on silent, or at least track the route on the map. While you never want to be the bossy rider that directs the cabby, but it does help you possible save a couple bucks making sure they don't take any "shortcuts".
8. Picture of where your car is at airport- A couple years ago there was one month when I was on the road all but five days of the month, and they were not back-to-back. Needless to say, I was exhausted when I got back from the last trip. After gathering up my suitcase, computer bag and all my travel essentials I made my way to the parking garage. I had left 10 days prior and had been in four states since I flew out. That combination lead to me having no idea where my car was. Apparently I had parked on a different level of the garage then I normally did. The worst part, I could hear my car horn honk when I set the alarm off, but couldn't find it because it was one level up! So, ever since that exhausting trip that ended in me taking a cab home and coming back the next day I've snapped a quick photo of the closest indicator pole. Referring back to the image as soon as I land has saved lots of headaches!
9. Travel with Airborne, water and snacks- Traveling takes a lot out of you. I've learned to pack Airborne in case you start feeling sick, zap it before it gets worse. I believe the stuff is made by wizards, because it always does wonders for me! I also always travel with a large bottle of water, or refillable bottle to keep yourself hydrated. Finally, I like to keep a bag of a protein rich snack like beef jerky, or a good trail mix handy when I travel. The benefit, if your flights end up overlapping with normal dining hours, you've got a little kick to get you through.
10. Place your laptop in the middle bin through security- While it's never happened to me, it has happened to a coworker. I always make sure to grab my laptop by placing my bag on the belt first, then then computer in a tub and then something else, maybe my coat or my purse. That way you are never in too big of a hurry to just grab the bag and go.
Well that's a lot of information. Hopeful you find it helpful. Please feel free to add your favorite travel tip to the comments!