Half the battle of a business trip is getting to the destination. But once you’re on the ground, there are still certain challenges, like dealing with jet lag and trying to feel at home in a strange hotel room. To help make your next business trip more comfortable, here is the second part of our series on travel survival tips. And if you didn’t get a chance to check out Part I, it’s worth a quick read.
Take it to the top
Had a not-so-wonderful experience at a hotel brand that is one of your company’s preferred vendors? Good. Now you’ve got leverage. The next time you’re heading to that same chain, email the general manager to notify them about the unfortunate experience, play up the fact that your company is a preferred client, make a special request, such as a room upgrade, and wait for your wish to be granted. It’s a simple yet effective strategy many guests have used in the past — and one that works especially well for business travelers.
Catch that ride
If you’re going old school and hailing a regular taxi instead of an Uber™, head to the departure area where there will be plenty of available cab drivers who just dropped off passengers. And during the ride to the hotel, ask your driver for some inside information about the city, including where to go for the best-tasting cheap eats available any time of the day — their specialty, of course.
Take advantage of the different time zone
There’s really no excuse for not hitting the hotel gym when traveling to a different time zone. First, exercise is a good cure for jet lag. Plus, if you’ve traveled east and are wide awake when everyone else is sound asleep, it’s a perfect opportunity to burn off some energy in a gym you’ll have all to yourself. Or, if you are waking up earlier than the locals because you’ve traveled west, get in an early morning workout. You’ll be all chipper and ready to go for your morning meetings — though, we can’t guarantee how you’ll feel by late afternoon.
Binge-watch on the bigger screen
If you see the weather is going to be dreary in your destination or you need a night to relax and unwind after a long day of meetings, take along Google Chromecast™. You can set it up with your laptop or mobile device using the HDMI connection on the hotel’s TV and, voila, you’ve got yourself a bigger screen to catch up on your favorite Netflix™ series.
Just the right sign
Especially when traveling on your own, keep that door sign turned to the “Do Not Disturb” side during the entire duration of your stay. When you want your room made up by housekeeping, don’t flip it around to the “Clean the Room” side, since you’ll be announcing to everybody, including anybody thinking to break in, that you’re not in the room. Instead, call the front desk to let them know you’re ready for maid service.
It’s getting steamy
If your clothes get rumpled from being inside the suitcase, there’s no need to drag the hotel ironing board out of the closet. Simply place your garments on a hanger to hang up in the bathroom while you’re taking a nice hot shower. If the steam doesn’t remove all the creases, then you also can use a hairdryer to blow them out — just be sure not to burn a hole in your blouse.
Use those toiletry freebies
Why spend money on 3.4-ounce bottles when the hotel’s complimentary shampoo and conditioner bottles definitely meet the TSA’s regulation size for liquid carry-ons? So after using up the contents, save the bottles for future trips. As for that shower cap? It can be used to wrap your shoes to protect your clothing from the dirty soles of your footwear. And what’s one of the most versatile hotel freebies? Conditioner. It can be used to shine up scuffed shoes, as a shaving cream in a pinch and as a makeup remover if that mascara is just not coming off.
A safe hiding place?
Some experts recommend always stashing your cash and other valuables in the safe in your hotel room. Others believe that’s the first place a thief will hit. If you subscribe to the latter, consider alternative hiding places for your money, such as an empty canister of ChapStick™, in the box of your feminine hygiene products or even inside the shower curtain rod.
As Allen Allison, chief information officer with American Express Global Business Travel, explained for a recent Atlas article on data security, you never should leave your laptop unattended in the room — it’s just too big of a cybersecurity risk.
Don’t leave with the local currency
When your trip is coming to an end in a city you likely won’t be heading back to anytime soon, try using up all of the local currency you have so it doesn’t land in some junk drawer back at home. You can leave your smaller bills on the table as a tip for housekeeping, use the bigger ones toward your hotel bill and give your spare change to a homeless person on the street. And don’t forget to reserve a portion of that money to pick up a nice souvenir at the airport for anyone special you’ll be returning home to.