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The Victim Newbie
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7,329 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am switching careers and the new position is going to have me traveling extensively. I used to travel quite a bit but it was pre 2001 when flying was alot different than it is today.

So i have a question for those of you who are frequent flyers. What are some "insider" tips that you can give me? The traveling I will be doing is 3 days at a time. The company I am working for has a travel desk that books the flights. I start on Monday so I don't know how all of the hotel and rental car bookings work yet.

Any tips that you are willing to share, no matter how trivial will be considered. Thank you
 

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Moderator,
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^^^ This. And car rental reward points, and airline miles, too. There's a lot of points and rewards you can rack up being a frequent traveler for business.

Will all this be on a company bill or will you use your own card and get reimbursed? If the later then get a good rewards CC.

Play it smart and you can clean up on the company's dime.

Who does your company's travel desk use for travel?
 

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Resident Slow Guy
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7,320 Posts
Become a rewards member of an airline carrier, hotel and rental car and rack up points. Before you know it you will be a Gold Awards, A-List, what have you member and will get free drinks, free nights, flights, etc.

Always pack an extra set of clothes as there is always a good chance of your flight getting canceled. For six straight weeks over the summer, my flight was either delayed or cancelled. Airlines will only put you up in a hotel ONLY if there is a mechanical problem. If it is weather related, your ass is sleeping in the airport.

Toothpaste, mouthwash and all that other shit needs to be 3oz or less or the TSA gestapo will make you check your bag in.

If at all possible, fly Southwest.

Airport bars are mad expensive but if you get a per diem like I do, then dranks are free. But I try to be conservative with that shit so I can keep that money.

There is more. I'll have to get back to you.
 

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If you fly economy, do web check-in 24 hours ahead and get a seat in the emergency exit for better legroom. It tends to be cooler by the exit, so carry an extra layer of clothing.

If you plan on sleeping on long fights, get a comfortable pair of ear plugs.
 

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Chief Apex Inspector
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10,427 Posts
>> Do Not <<

Use a personal card for company expenses.... if you do, *you* are *personally*
responsible for the charges whether they are reimbured or not.


Tom
 

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The Victim Newbie
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7,329 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for all of the advice so far. What about dealing with airport security? I have heard things about preferred flyer programs that allow you to keep your shoes on, keep your laptop in the bag if your laptop bag is TSA approved, etc.

Can anybody touch on luggage suggestions?

Who does your company's travel desk use for travel?
Chills, the company is associated with Accenture so they use Accenture's travel desk, I don't know if that is contracted out or not.

If you plan on sleeping on long fights, get a comfortable pair of ear plugs.
For those that sleep on flights, do those round pillows really work? the ones that go around your neck? I was actually looking at a pair of Bose QC headphones as I have used them on a friend's private plane once (the version for small single engine aircraft) and was amazed at how well they quieted the noise.


Finally, do frequent flyer programs for airlines charge to become members? For UAL and AA do those executive clubs require you to have a certain number of miles before you qualify or can you pay to be a member. If you can pay is it worth it?

If at all possible, fly Southwest.

There is more. I'll have to get back to you.
Is this the consensus from everybody? Southwest when possible?
 

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Resident Slow Guy
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7,320 Posts
>> Do Not <<

Use a personal card for company expenses.... if you do, *you* are *personally*
responsible for the charges whether they are reimbured or not.


Tom
I use my personal credit card for company expenses so I get the points. Not sure why that is a problem. I put personal and company expenses on my AMEX Gold Card. You are personally responsible for the charges on your corporate card whether it is reimbursed or not.
 

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For those that sleep on flights, do those round pillows really work? the ones that go around your neck?
Depends on your posture.

For me, they are not that helpful.

On long flights, I prefer to carry two mini pillows. One for lower back and another for my head. I always go for window seat so I can lean my head against the wall on the pillow.
 

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Congrats on the new job. I've been traveling for work for most of the last 20 years. You are right that travel today is nothing like it was in the 1990's.

Expect all flights to be full. It's rare to have an unoccupied middle seat next to you anymore. Upgrades are more difficult to come by as First Class/Business Class seat counts have been lowered to make room for more coach seats. Services on board, even in First Class, are nothing like they used to be.

Security is more of a hassle. It's better if you are Priority level in any frequent flyer program, as you get access to shorter security lines and often the priority lines don't use the scanners, just the magnetometer.

Pack so you can pull your PCs and large electronics easily to have them scanned by the x-ray separately. Look to wear belts and other metal objects that have little or no ferrous content so you can leave them on when going through the magnetometer. Keep liquids and gels in a quart zip-loc bag and also pack that so it could be pulled quickly for the x-ray scans.

The rules for security are continually changing in subtle and not so subtle ways, so stay alert and keep up.

I hope you enjoy the job. The travel isn't much fun anymore.
 

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Frequent flyer programs do not charge to join. Airline clubs do charge, usually $400-500/yr, which can be discounted if you reach the top level of their frequent flyer program. Also, if you have an Amex Platinum Card, you have access to the Delta clubs when you fly Delta, even if you aren't a club member.
 

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pfft.
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Pick one airline, one hotel chain, one car rental company. Get your points. Watch for promos to earn air status faster.

If you have a layover, get a seat as far forward as possible (skip the exit row) so you can get off quicker and get to your next flight.

If you will be having frequent layovers, fork out the money for the airline club (check the list of cities and match against your typcal layover hub(s) before you shell out the dough).

Be very, very nice to the gate agents. They control everything.

Don't be drunk on the plane. Don't talk too much on the plane. Don't smell bad.

If at all possible, AVOID Southwest.

Keep your carry on bag packed at all times-- so have 2 of everything on hand. My laptop bag fits a change of clothes, and is always stocked with: toiletries (everything fits in the 1 qt clear bag), extra headphones, ear plugs (for hotels more than for the plane!), a small travel blanket (I use this as a pillow or lumbar, but also in case I'm chilly), spare chargers, work stuff (usb, pens, business cards, etc), and a few healthy snacks with a good shelf life (granola bars, usually), a small umbrella, tissues, and a dry washcloth (I find it helps to have on hand if I get caught in the rain walking into a meeting). It's sort of lame that all this is in my bag the days I'm in the office, but it helps a ton when I have to pack.

When you aren't traveling on a tight schedule, check your bag whenver possible. A lot of people disagree with this, but I find it's so much nicer to have freedom in the airport than be carting around your suitcase and laptop bag. I just have a wheeled laptop bag and that's it-- no purse; I check my small rollaboard.

Invest in a comfortable, versatile pair of shoes. Several years ago I plunked down the cash for a nice, comfortable pair of soft Cole Haan loafers. They look very polished with jeans and go with all my suits. People who wear uncomfortable shoes to walk through airports are batshit. You can't do that every week; your body will hate you.

Do a quick yelp (or other) search of the city before you go, and note a few places you can grab a healthy meal. DO NOT try to sample every city's speciality delicacy. If you do, you will look like shit in 6 months. I eat at Jason's Deli a lot when I'm on the road-- lots of options, and they post calories.

Find an exercise routine you can do with nothing but shorts, tshirt, and sneakers, and stick with it. Don't treat your business travel like vacation-- treat it like any M-F at home. Make sure you get your exercise in. Hotel gym is ok, or jog to see the city you're visiting. I paid for some exercise videos I could do in my hotel room in the winter months (or in the cities where running was not so safe).

Don't screw any of your colleagues or anyone else for that matter just because you're away from home. People figure that shit out even if you're traveling alone.
On a related note, don't talk to people sitting at the bar just because they are sitting at the bar. Most business travelers sitting alone are doing so because they enjoy that time alone.

Do NOT violate your company's travel policy or reimbursement policy in any way. It is just not worth it. If they say you can't use the money for alcohol, then don't use it for alcohol. You have a job, buy your own.

Enroll in the TSA pre-check.
 

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This is all good advice, and I only fly Southwest and have been on A-List for years, highly recommend it. We have more free flights then we typically need.

I have a question for the other frequent travelers, does your company pay to get you to the airport via cab? Or how does that work for you? I travel with a lot of equipment so my work pays for me to take a cab from Wrigley to Midway (about$45 each way).
 

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Chief Apex Inspector
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I use my personal credit card for company expenses so I get the points. Not sure why that is a problem. I put personal and company expenses on my AMEX Gold Card. You are personally responsible for the charges on your corporate card whether it is reimbursed or not.

Things you charge on your card, you are personally responsible for.


Things you charge on your corporate card as an agent of your business, your business is responsible for.

Credit card companies may try to blur the lines and get you personally to pay.... but push come to shove, you are NOT personally responsible.



Let's say ... just for a worst case example ..... you charge 25K of meeting supplies / room / food on your card for an event next Month.

Monday you get the call, the company went bankrupt and you are out of a job.


Your card you are fucked..... their card you are not.


Tom


BTW .... I am not talking about personal charges on your corporate card - that's another topic.
 

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yo quiero su taco
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Personal card is the way to go. Get an airline rewards card and sell your points for cash on craiglslist or to fam and friends.
 

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pfft.
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I have a question for the other frequent travelers, does your company pay to get you to the airport via cab? Or how does that work for you? I travel with a lot of equipment so my work pays for me to take a cab from Wrigley to Midway (about$45 each way).
We can choose to drive our own cars and park at the airport, for which we are reimbused. We can choose additional rewimbursement for mileage OR gas, but not both. There are no rules on airport parking; I typically park close in and charge the extra money, but I figure I'm a woman whose flights often land at midnight and that's safer for me.

Our other choice is to take a taxi, for which we are fully reimbursed and don't have to provide receipt unless it's over $75.

I have taken shuttles and public transport in some cities, and that's all fair game as well. On rare occasion I will take a sedan service, but the company discourages it. I only take it when (1) I think there's a legitimate safety issue with a cab or (2) the sedan service costs the same as a taxi.

I have tons of equipment for my training classes, but I FedEx overnight it to my hotel rather than lug it.
 

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yo quiero su taco
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Choose a hotel group and stick with it. The Hilton Honors program allows you to use your points at some very nice hotels in some very nice places.
 
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