Business Travel Tips from Our Travel Agents

By Tiffany Mast

Whether you’re a road warrior or new to the business travel game, what better place to get some fresh advice than from a well-seasoned travel agent?

Our dedicated travel agents have an average of 20-30 years of professional travel agency experience and extensive experience in both domestic and international travel. Here’s what they have to say from the best travel advice they’ve ever received to surviving long haul flights and quirky packing habits.

What is your best tip for business travelers?

“Be prepared with all of your documentation, especially for international business travel, and a packing list so you have everything you need. You never know what you are going to face.” – Sherry

“Know your schedule so you can plan accordingly and be on time. Have thorough communication with your travel agent if anything changes so we can take care of it for you.” – Carrie

“Keep a sense of humor. Sometimes things go wrong but they’ll get worked out.” – Jenn

“Be well versed in airport procedures. TSA PreCheck can save you during busy times. Routine business travelers tend to rebook the same flight for recurring trips so they’re pros at their itinerary. Understand what level of service you are booking because airfare classes vary from one airline to the other.” – Doug

“Get to the airport early. And double check to make sure you are adhering to the TSA requirements. I keep a small utility knife in my laptop bag for cutting box ties, and forgot to take it out once.” – Mike

“Always ask for an upgrade, especially at hotels. Always ask for a better seat at the airport. Known traveler number and TSA PreCheck are great for frequent travelers.” – Jenny

What is the best travel advice you ever received?

“Experience everything that you can. When we used to do our travels with the agencies, we’d leave on a Thursday night and come back on Sunday and squeeze in as much as we could in 48 hours.” – Sherry

“Stay over a Saturday night, for lower airfares. Tacking on a weekend to your business trip could actually save you some money.” – Carrie

“Don’t rule out a three star hotel I used to stay at full service hotels and cram my whole family into a two-bedroom with me. Now, if I’m bringing them along, we stay at a Courtyard or a Residence Inn because of the full breakfast, bigger rooms, full suite.” – Jenn

“Don’t hold out. You might not come back. If you can be flexible, you can save so much money on your airfare that you could cover the extra days you stay in a destination. Also, the airline tricks (like book on a Tuesday) don’t work anymore, you have to look around.” – Doug

“Give yourself time. It makes the journey more comfortable for everyone. It’s much more enjoyable and relaxed.” – Mike

What do you save on when you travel? And what do you splurge on?

“I tend to save on the hotel room. As long as I have a comfortable bed, I’m spending so much time outside of the hotel room that I don’t need a 5 star hotel. Splurge on food. I’m a total foodie and love to try the local cuisine.” – Sherry

“I save by using public transportation or Uber instead of renting a car. Are you really going to use that car everyday? That will save you a few hundred dollars alone!” – Carrie

“I usually try to save on the airfare by traveling on an earlier or later flight, and then splurge on the hotel. I love to stay at an awesome hotel.” – Jenn

“I like to splurge on entertainment, activities, and restaurants. You invested in getting there so what’s the extra $60 or so to have a once in a lifetime experience.” – Doug

“I like to make sure I have enough legroom at my seat, or at the very least an aisle seat, so I’ll upgrade my ticket. I avoid getting rental cars. It saves money and the stress of having to worry about getting the car, returning it, making the deadline, etc.” – Mike

“If I’m already at a destination, I’ll splurge on golf or another outdoor experiences. I fit a round in during my trip to Mexico. Golfing on the water with mountains in the background, it was just beautiful.” – Jenny

How do you survive a long haul flight?

“Bring a book or some other reading material.” – Carrie

“I always pack melatonin to help me sleep.” – Jenn

“I need to bring my electronics for entertainment. Those neck pillows don’t really work, but I try to travel comfortably. Wear a comfortable outfit.” – Doug

“Put some good headphones on and people won’t bother you.” – Mike

“It’s actually a great time to relax. I never have time to sit back and read.” – Jenny

Do you have any packing habits?

“I am a secret overpacker. When we went to Vegas for the TravelBank flights bookings launch, we were there for two nights and I brought five pairs of shoes. I like to have options.” – Carrie

“I always pack a little handheld fan or even a box fan sometimes. I will pack three less pairs of shoes to bring a fan. I need it to go to sleep.” – Jenn

“I like to travel light so only the essentials. You can always buy more when you get there. I’d rather forget something then remember too much.” – Doug

“When my dad was a pilot, we had to wear suits every time we traveled. Picture a family of five standing in Tucson, Arizona on spring break watching flight after flight go by because we couldn’t get standby. We were all dressed to the nines in our suits. The flight attendants would come by and give us wings. Today, I don’t wear a suit, but I avoid checking bags. If you have to check a bag, bring just enough in your carry on to get you through one night just in case your bags don’t make it.” – Mike

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