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It’s the same routine for every business traveler: check in at the airport, pick up a rental car, and arrive at the same hotel you’ve walked into a thousand times before.

Over time, frequent travel becomes second nature and seasoned business travelers breeze through airports, land those elusive upgrades, and walk into their meetings completely energized despite having spent a tedious day in transit. Though infrequent business travelers  may not be aware of the different tips and tricks which make it easy to survive life on the road.

These are important, as training yourself to be a better business traveler will save both time and money, make you more productive, and lessen the stress on both your mind and body.

The following tips and tricks will help even the most seasoned business traveler survive life on the road.

1. Sign up for Global Entry

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that pre-qualifies certain travelers for expedited customs.

Intended for frequent international travelers, participants enter the US via automated kiosks located at selected airports and speed through what is otherwise a long and often tedious wait.

Skip the long queu with Global Entry.

Skip the long queue with Global Entry. Photo CC by David Morris

You proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present your machine-readable passport, place your fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration.

The kiosk then issues a transaction receipt and directs you to baggage claim and the exit. Eligibility is a little restrictive, open to only citizens of the US, Panama, the Netherlands, South Korea and Mexican nationals.

2. Record room numbers.

For incredibly frequent travelers who are on the road for extended periods of time, it can be difficult to remember if you’re staying on the second floor, or if that was last week’s hotel.

When you park in a numbered spot or check into a new room, create some kind of note to make it easy to quickly remember where you should be. Do not underestimate the value of this tip – it might just save you a lot of confusion and grief.

3. Ask for the Upgrade

Upgrades can make the life of a business traveler a lot more comfortable, and often it simply comes down to asking.

Cheap upgrades are often available at the last minute, and always worth the few extra dollars if it means more legroom, additional space and added comfort. And it never hurts to ask if there are first or business class upgrades available at a reasonable price.

Suite upgrades – often it just comes down to asking.

A lot of airlines have ‘at-the-gate’ upsell policies, so consider even trying this directly before boarding.

Different tips for landing an upgrade include dressing nicely, building status/loyalty rewards with a specific airline or hotel brand, and never forget you’ll always get further being nice to airline ground staff.

Often this can come down to simply acknowledging someone by name, and you’ll be surprised at how willing front desk clerks are to upgrade customers who use “please” and “thank you”, especially when it’s slow.

4. Charge Everything the Night Before You Travel

Make sure everything you are going to need for the day is charged the night before you travel.

There’s nothing worse than having to delay boarding the plane until the very last second because you’re charging your computer or cell at the departure gate. Boarding the plane with everything at maximum charge ensures a stress free flight.

 5. Open a Hotel Business Account

Managing a continual string of accommodation bookings can be a nightmare, though having one hotel business account makes the booking, payment and expenses process of accommodation much easier.

For instance, IHG Business Advantage is a free, easy to use and secure travel management system allowing you to manage, control and organise your company’s expenditure.

Available over 300 hotels in the UK, it can provide free credit on stays, corporate hotel discounts, traveller rewards and also manage the expenses.

Have a look at the top 9 benefits of IHG Business Advantage account:

Meg Jerrard is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure!  Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Follow their journey on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

Featured Photo CC by LASZLO ILYES


  1. A nice set of tips although I think number 2 and number 3 have been muddled up?

    I looked at the Global Entry when it was first released yet the documentation seemed to suggest it was available for US citizens only. Such a shame when I go through more US international arrivals than the majority of Americans. Having said that, the new immigration controls with the passport scanning machines and fingerprint checks have been made available to me because I have an ESTA. The thing is though you still have to go to an immigration officer who still asks you questions. As Americans might say “Go figure”.

    • Ah thankyou for that! I wrote the tips, and then decided the photo needed to be spaced out more so switched 2 with 3 to give some more text between the photos :D All fixed!

      Global entry is definitely a little restrictive in terms of who can apply – it’s open to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, Dutch citizens, South Korean citizens, Panamanian citizens and Mexican nationals.

      Though there are different partner programs as well like Canadian citizens and residents may enjoy Global Entry benefits through membership in the NEXUS program.

      Glad the new systems have made it easier for you with ESTA, and glad you enjoyed the tips :) Happy travels – don’t work too hard!

  2. Looks like 2 and 3 are backwards. :) As someone who spends over 100 nights on the road, I’ve learned a thing or two. Re: #2 asking for the upgrade. If you’re a business traveler (and a frequent business traveler) you should get the upgrade for free. As for #5 (business accounts), that’s a double-edged sword. You get a monthly bill, but you give up a HUGE amount of flexibility. Most business travelers can’t lock in like that (at least I can’t). I need flexibility in hotel choice, brand and location.

    • You mean you don’t count 1,3,2? :D Thanks Lance! Switched them before hitting publish to space out the photos a bit more – obviously overlooked changing the numbering! All fixed :)

      I agree that the upgrade should come through for free – though I wouldn’t expect that; as a hotel front desk we would often upgrade business travelers who were loyal to the hotel if it was a slow night, though it was a little different with those who would be staying with us for the first time.

      The business account definitely works wonders in the instance you’re commuting back and forth from the same set of locations, though if you’re not returning to the same locations or can’t commit to one hotel brand you may not be able to put it to good use.

      Thanks for your input!

  3. Use the ole SmartPhone to take pictures of current room and parking spaces.

    • Great idea – just remember to delete the old pictures so to not get confused :D

  4. I travel for work a bit, but my husband travels a ton and I tag along when I can. These tips are great (LOVE NEXUS!). I would add one more and that is using a trip organizing app, such as Tripit. When my spouse is travelling, it allows me to see when his flights are, contact info for his hotel accommodations etc. It also lets us know if flights are delayed, if connections were missed, alternative flights etc. This makes business travel so much easier.

    • Thanks Deb – glad you found the tips useful!

      Tripit is a great tip – I’ve used this once or twice before for our own travels and it’s a great tool for keeping organized – fantastic suggestion – thanks!

  5. Now I know why I never get upgrades no matter how much smiles I shower to the ground staff! When I go on long haul flights, I always dress as comfortably as possible, that means loose t-shirt, loose jeans and sandals. In other words, I dress like a douche :D

    • Real Gunners I wouldn’t take the “how you dress” story as a given. Last year I was checking in for a flight with a colleague.

      He was dressed down in a T-Shirt with jogging bottoms on.

      I had my work shirt and trousers on and looked the part for the Business Class cabin.

      I checked in first then my colleague went to the next available check in desk, right beside mine. My colleague received a complimentary upgrade and I didn’t. He gloated like crazy about this and the illogical nature of it.

      As his business senior I joked with him a bit that I was calling rank and he should swap seats with me.

      To be honest there is no clear logic to this upgrade. We were flying together and both on the same frequent flyer status and ticket classes.

      I was dressed smartly, he was dressed casual.

      He’s more than 10 years younger than me and to be honest he is a good looking lad. Having said that I was served by a lady at check in whilst he was served by a guy.

      Make of it what you will.

    • Interesting – thanks for sharing your story! Who knows, perhaps the upgrades something are completely random; I’m hoping that they decide to randomly choose me for an upgrade soon – I’ve been dressing nicely for the longest time after having read this tip across multiple different websites and talking to different friends who work as airline ground staff!

  6. Amen to charging Meg! Especially for those super long trips where you need everything good to go.

    We had an interesting situation recently. We flew Kuwait Air from Bangkok to NYC. When we got on the plane, we noted ash trays on the arm rests. I am not kidding lol! I was stunned. This plane must have been 10 years old. So, no plugs, no charging, and only limited laptop time – even with a fully charged laptop – on our 21 hour trip from BKK to NYC.

    Oh well…..thank goodness I charged up my laptop in the first place!

    Thanks for the smart tips Meg ;)


    • Ash trays on the arm rests??! How bizarre! Well, I’m glad you had all of your gear charged – I guess this is the perfect example of why it’s good to be prepared – who would have thought!!

      Glad your laptop held out for those 21 hours – I think it’s very easy for us to assume we’ll always have access to power, however that’s not always the case.

      Thanks Ryan!

  7. Very helpful tips. I’ve been traveling for business quite some time now and will do soon. I will surely keep these tips in mind.

    • Thanks Tyler – glad you enjoyed the post:) Here’s to successful business trips continuing in the future!

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