by Gwen Stewart
Entrepreneurs sometimes need to travel in order to meet with clients and vendors or attend trade shows. Some jobs may require extensive travel on a regular basis. Regardless of whether you travel only occasionally or much more often, there are several things you can do that will help make the travel experience easier, less expensive, and more enjoyable. Read these travel tips for entrepreneurs and see how you can improve your own travel plans and travel more efficiently.
1. Cheaper Fares
If you travel by plane often, then are a few things you can do to get cheaper fares and make your traveling more cost effective. Many travelers like to stay away from the redeye flights because the idea of getting up so early isn’t especially appealing. But the first flight (and usually the last flight of the day), are often cheaper than the other flights scheduled throughout the day. Additionally, the sooner you can book a flight, the better, as fares will typically rise day by day within two weeks of the flight.
You can also try shopping for fares on Mondays and Tuesdays, if your traveling plans permit this, as fares for those days are often cheaper than fares during the remainder of the week.
Nonstops are also typically more expensive than flights with one and two stops in between. Although you might prefer a direct flight, purchasing a fare with one stop will save you money, and will also give you time to stretch your feet and get a good meal at one of the airport restaurants. If you travel light, then changing planes isn’t really that much of a hassle. Which brings us to our second tip…
2. Travel Light
Inexperienced travelers often load up their suitcases with everything but the kitchen sink. The trick to traveling light is learning what items are ultimately necessary, and what can be left behind. If you are only going on day trips or even trips lasting 2 or 3 days, a carry on bag might be all that is needed to sufficiently have you prepared. This will also save you time checking bags and waiting for bags after landing.
Invest in a roomy carryon that contains lots of pockets for storing additional items on the sides. With a few savvy packing tips, you can maximize your space and fit quite a lot into the carryon bag. You can find several sites offering tips on packing that will give you plenty of ideas on how to pack efficiently and make good use of your space.
Additionally, as you grow more experienced in travel, you’ll learn what you can leave home, such as too many pairs of shoes, the hair dryer, and many other items that you either won’t have a need for or can be found in hotels.
3. Make Good Use of Your Time
Unless you’re rushing to catch a plane (and you shouldn’t be), then you’ll have some time sitting in the airport while waiting for the call to board. This affords you ample opportunity to keep working on any tasks you might have, such as polishing your speech or completing a spreadsheet.
If you don’t already have a laptop, iPad, iPhone, or other item that affords you the productivity tools to work, you can find laptops pretty cheap these days, such as Netbooks. Additionally, most airports offer free WiFi, or have a small charge. However, when traveling on the plane, or on a train, you might not have access to free WiFi, and so might want to invest in your own WiFi plan so that you’ll always have Internet access.
4. Get Information Beforehand
Make arrangements for rental cars ahead of time, this often saves you a decent amount of money. Or get phone numbers for taxis, bus route maps, subway information, etc.; basically any information you might need for local travel at your destination. You can usually find all the information you need right on the Internet. Additionally, at the airport of your destination, browse the racks of brochures and flyers that can usually be found near the baggage claim and information areas. You find information on attractions, dining, hotels, and sometimes some great deals or discount offers as well.
5. Adjust Your Schedule
Jetlag can play havoc with your sleep and productivity schedule. You may find that you need more time than usual when you get up in the morning to feel fully awake. Plan for this by setting your alarm clock to wake you earlier than usual. If you are meeting with clients, colleagues or vendors, you don’t want to appear sluggish or off your game. A workout in the morning can help you get your energy going, and a good breakfast with protein and vitamins will also help to revitalize you and provide you with lasting energy throughout the day.
In the evening, go to bed earlier so that you get a good night’s rest, and try to avoid eating late night snacks or having too many cocktails; some foods that are high in protein, and drinks containing caffeine or alcohol will make it more difficult to get a restful slumber and leave you feeling as though you didn’t sleep well in the morning.
6. Other Ways to Save Money
When traveling, we often don’t consider many of the other expenses that come into play aside from the actual cost of your ticket and hotel. These expenses generally revolve around food; snacks and drinks at the airport, and your meals while you are traveling. Hotels often offer a free continental breakfast, but lunch and dinner are at your expense.
To avoid buying overpriced snacks at the airport, bring your own. You won’t be able to bring any bottled drinks past the security checkpoint, but you can pack your own sandwich, chips, nuts, energy bars, a banana, or anything to keep you satisfied and nourished while waiting to board your plane.
As far as finding places to eat while in your destination city, you can do some research beforehand and browse through Groupon.com deals for restaurants, or utilize sites like Restaurant.com to purchase discount vouchers for restaurants. Sometimes you’ll also find deals and coupons in the rack of flyers and brochures at the airport.
7. Credit Cards
You might already have a business account credit card, but if you find yourself traveling more often, you might want to consider a new one. Look for a card that gives you more benefits suited to travel, such as airline miles, or cash back for charges of travel expenses such as gas, or for eating out. There are a number of options for travelers – find one that suits your needs.
Gwen Stewart is a business development professional and writer for Outbounding.com. Her line of work requires she have a reliable way to file share as well as a solid strategy for meeting tight deadlines. Any spare time she can scrape together finds her hiking, reading and enjoying the company of great friends.