business travel http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11879/all en-US 6 Ways to Get More Done on Airplanes http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-get-more-done-on-airplanes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-get-more-done-on-airplanes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6299901001_f30acee6f4_z.jpg" alt="woman on airplane" title="woman on airplane" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My line of work has required me to travel more, specifically by taking multi-leg flights to various places in the United States. While I used to use my flight time as a way to catch up on reading, sample new music, or even catch a nap, I now see flights as a wonderful opportunity to get some much-needed work done. Being productive on an airplane isn&rsquo;t always easy, however; heightened security measures, electronic device limitations, and even the lack of personal space are all common obstacles to the motivated traveler. Here are the tips I swear by &mdash; all designed to pack more punch into your traveling workday. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>1. Pack Well</h2> <p>It is important to know just what tools you will really use on your flight. If you are like me and own a smartphone, tablet, netbook, and full-size laptop, it can be tempting to bring just one or go overboard by stuffing them all into an already stressed out carry-on. I like to take an assessment of what tasks I will realistically want to do during my flight. If I will be doing a large amount of word processing, for example, the netbook or laptop is a requirement; if the flight will be short, and I can use the time to catch up on industry articles and e-mail organization, my tablet will suffice. Don&rsquo;t bring any more than you need, and make sure you don&rsquo;t leave your best tools at home.</p> <h2>2. Research Your Flight (and Seat)</h2> <p>Not all flights have Wi-Fi, and most won&rsquo;t have access to a power outlet. Using a site like <a href="http://www.seatguru.com/">Seat Guru</a> can help you plan your travel time wisely by showing you all of the amenities your flight (and specific seat) will provide. Please note, however, that flights get changed at the last minute. I have pinned my hopes on a flight that said it offered Wi-Fi, only to find that that particular plane was grounded for the day; the alternate plane left me completely without the Internet service I was counting on.</p> <h2>3. Assign and Check In Early</h2> <p>Regardless of whether you book your flight personally or you rely on a company travel department, you still have the ability to view and change your specific seat assignment &mdash; provided there are alternate seats in your price class available. This is not only great for those who insist on an aisle seat (more elbow room for using the laptop); it can also help you secure one of the few spots on the plane in an empty row, giving you even more room to work. Some small carriers and fully booked flights won&rsquo;t allow you to see your seat assignment until you board the plane; for every other flight, however, checking in before arriving at the airport can help you secure the most productive seat in the cabin.</p> <h2>4. Prepay for Internet</h2> <p>For flights that offer wireless in-flight Internet, you can choose to pay for your service time while in the air, or pay for a code that can be used on any future flight. If I know that I am traveling soon, I buy wireless Internet time before I leave. Not only is it usually more affordable, it also guarantees that I can start surfing the web while everyone else is fiddling around for the credit card. When you only have 30 to 90 minutes of &ldquo;electronics are okay&rdquo; flight time, it is essential not to waste even 10. Wireless providers often offer free service time during holidays or special promotions; if you find that you don&rsquo;t need to use your prepaid code, you can still use it on a later flight.</p> <h2>5. Save Pages for Later</h2> <p>If your flight is not offering Internet, you can still view the web. Services like <a href="http://www.instapaper.com/">Instapaper</a> not only save your favorite web pages and articles for offline viewing, they simplify the page design for optimal text reading. (I also use <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/evernote/id281796108?mt=8">Evernote</a> for my iPad to do reading without internet.)</p> <h2>6. Have a Back-Up Plan</h2> <p>If it is absolutely imperative that you get a certain number of tasks done while flying, be prepared to have a plan B or plan C in place. Flights are unpredictable, and turbulence, technical issues, or even a chatty seatmate can make it impossible to do those things you needed to get done during flight. Have a supply of alternative activities to do that don&rsquo;t require electronics (brainstorming ideas in a notebook can be very productive), research airports ahead of time to see if you can cram some busy time in during a layover, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-to-keep-you-sane-on-a-plane">bring headphones to wear</a>, even if you aren&rsquo;t jamming to music &mdash; it politely lets other travelers know that you want to be left alone.</p> <p>Flights are an energy and time drain that many don&rsquo;t look forward to. If you view them as an opportunity to get to where you need to go while you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-accomplishing-more-in-a-day">get stuff done</a>, however, it creates a window of productivity that you may not get in your daily office life.</p> <p><em>What tips do you have for cranking out more work while flying?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-get-more-done-on-airplanes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-quick-workouts-you-can-do-during-commercial-breaks">9 Quick Workouts You Can Do During Commercial Breaks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-flight-search-site-savvy-travelers-use">The Secret Flight Search Site Savvy Travelers Use</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-your-decision-making-skills">10 Ways to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-airline-perks-from-yesteryear-that-seem-unbelievable-today">10 Airline Perks From Yesteryear That Seem Unbelievable Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity airports business travel flights Fri, 02 Mar 2012 11:24:21 +0000 Linsey Knerl 906599 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways To Reduce Business Travel Expenses http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/4-ways-to-reduce-business-travel-expenses <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/4-ways-to-reduce-business-travel-expenses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000013023442Small.jpg" alt="man on a plane" title="man on a plane" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After payroll, travel expenses are the second most controllable business expense. Learn to reduce business travel expenses, and you can save your company money and increase the bottom line.</p> <h3>Travel Selectively</h3> <p>One of the easiest ways to reduce business travel expenses is not to incur them. Thanks to videoconferencing or other Web-based technologies, you may find it possible to meet with prospects and business associates without having to travel.</p> <p>But still, travel is an inevitable need for most businesses at some time or another. When it is a necessity, explore your options. Look for travel discounts and skip the luxuries. Would you (or your employees) be willing to drive instead of fly? Can you schedule trips during the off-season for additional savings?</p> <p>And, see if you can strategize travel plans to hit several locations in the most cost-effective and time-saving way. It may make sense, for example, to combine what could have been two or three separate trips into one, hopping from location to location.</p> <h3>Make Your Own Travel Arrangements</h3> <p>There are many online options to help you make inexpensive travel arrangements, from reduced ticket prices to low-cost hotels and budget car rentals. Use discount sites, online travel agencies and meta-search engines to book your own travel. And take advantage of savings opportunities like frequent flyer miles, discount plans and other promotions from airlines, hotel chains and car rental companies.</p> <h3>Monitor Your Travel Expenses</h3> <p>The best way reduce business travel expenses is to know exactly what you&rsquo;re spending. Always check multiple places and consider alternatives before locking in your plans.</p> <ul> <li>Keep track of expenses and make sure employees are properly accounting for their costs. If your company does extensive travel, use business credit cards that give cash back or generous (and easily usable) frequent flyer miles to save money over time.</li> <li>Sometimes an extra night's stay may save money through cheaper airfare. If travel days are flexible, always look for prices within a day or two of your target travel days.</li> <li>Downgrade from business to coach, which can be a big cost saver. In cities with more than one airport, check which one offers the better fares.</li> <li>Re-check prices after you&rsquo;ve booked when using a retailer that guarantees you the &quot;best price.&quot;</li> </ul> <h3>Maximize Write-Offs</h3> <p>Tax deductions are another way to save money. For instance, every dollar you deduct can save you 25 cents if you&rsquo;re in the 25 percent tax bracket. But you must follow strict rules in the tax law if you want to deduct your travel expenses. Keep good records of each trip in accordance with tax rules (recordkeeping for business travel expenses is explained in <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p463.pdf" target="_blank">IRS Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses</a>.</p> <p>If your employees travel on company business, be sure to use an &ldquo;accountable plan&rdquo; to reimburse their costs. This can help to avoid treating reimbursements as compensation to employees and save the company payroll taxes that would otherwise be due on such compensation. Accountable plans are explained in the same IRS publication mentioned above.</p> <p>The bottom line is: A little effort can go a long way to reduce business travel expenses without harming your business activities.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blurb-amex"> <div class="field-label">AMEX Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This article originally appeared on the <a href="http://www.theopenappcenter.com/save-money/4-ways-reduce-business-travel-expenses/?intlink=us-btfuel-hpcontentarticle4waysreducebte">OPEN App Center</a>. Visit <a href="http://www.theopenappcenter.com">www.theopenappcenter.com</a> for more information and resources for streamlining and growing your business.</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/barbara-weltman">Barbara Weltman</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/4-ways-to-reduce-business-travel-expenses">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/business-advice-from-a-billionaire">Business Advice from a Billionaire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-mentors-you-can-access-for-nearly-free">6 Small Business Mentors You Can Access for Nearly Free!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ramp-up-your-business-by-specializing">Ramp Up Your Business by Specializing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-a-business-for-next-to-nothing">Start a Business for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center business advice business savings business travel cutting expenses Sun, 20 Nov 2011 22:32:47 +0000 Barbara Weltman 790887 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways for Business Travelers to get a Good Night’s Sleep http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-ways-for-business-travelers-to-get-a-good-night-s-sleep <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/6-ways-for-business-travelers-to-get-a-good-nights-sleep" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/6-ways-for-business-travelers-to-get-a-good-ni...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/6-ways-for-business-travelers-to-get-a-good-night-s-sleep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007915532Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Business travelers are true road warriors. They navigate a never-ending obstacle course of airport security, taxis, hotel check-ins, and eating on the run and still manage to put in a full day&rsquo;s work. But after <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/8-hotel-and-car-rental-tips-for-business-travelers-1" target="_blank">all the logistics</a>, what&rsquo;s the best way to relax and get a good&rsquo;s sleep? Here are a few rules of the road business travelers can follow when it&rsquo;s time to unplug.</p> <h3>1. Schedule for Sanity</h3> <p>We rigorously adhere to our schedules 99% of the time. Yet, when it&rsquo;s time to travel for business, we completely disregard our normal wake and sleep cycles in a rush save $50 on airfare.</p> <p>If your employer allows any wiggle room in your travel budget, choose a flight itinerary with reasonable departure and arrival times. Consider leaving a day early or staying a day late if it prevents a red-eye flight. Or, try to schedule your itinerary with arrivals no later than 6:00 p.m. This gives you enough time to retrieve your luggage, get to the hotel, unpack, have dinner and turn in at a (relatively) normal hour. Departures before 10:00 a.m. will only stress you out and leave you sleeping the night before with one eye on the clock.</p> <h3>2. Pack Proactively</h3> <p>Add a few sleep essentials to your travel kit:</p> <ul> <li>disposable foam earplugs;</li> <li>a sleep mask;</li> <li>a large binder clip.</li> </ul> <p>The earplugs block out most ambient noise, but still let you hear your alarm or wake-up call. They&rsquo;re perfect for dampening the sound of slamming doors and noisy late night hotel guests.</p> <p>The sleep mask helps tune out other distractions and of course, block light.</p> <p>Why the binder clip? Because hotel curtains never seem to close completely. Binder clips are perfect for securing curtains panels together to keep the light out.</p> <h3>3. Choose your Room</h3> <p>You take time to choose your hotel; it&rsquo;s time to get just as picky about your room. All hotel rooms are not created equal. Experienced travelers know which real estate to avoid:</p> <ul> <li>rooms near the elevator;</li> <li>rooms near the vending or ice machines;</li> <li>rooms close to the lobby or breakfast area.</li> </ul> <p>For obvious reasons, all of these locations tend to be noisier than average. Also steer clear of rooms close to delivery areas or dumpsters, or your wake-up call will sound a lot like a service truck.</p> <p>Depending on how full the hotel is, most clerks will happily work with guests and oblige special room requests. Don&rsquo;t hesitate to make your preferences known &mdash; it&rsquo;s a quick and inexpensive way to significantly increase your chances of getting a good night&rsquo;s sleep.</p> <h3>4. Get Defensive</h3> <p>Once you&rsquo;re settled in your room, there are a few simple things that can defend your peace and quiet.</p> <ul> <li><b>First, make use of the Do Not Disturb sign</b>. Housekeeping staff start their rounds early and you don&rsquo;t necessarily want to be first on their list.</li> <li><b>Second, check that bedside alarm clock</b>. You&rsquo;d be surprised how often alarms programmed by previous guests aren&rsquo;t turned off as part of the room cleaning routine.</li> <li><b>Finally, run just the fan from the AC or heater unit to create a little white noise in your room</b>. This can help block out any hallway and parking lot disturbances through the night.</li> </ul> <h3>5. Remember Your Routine</h3> <p>Business travel not only throws off our sleep and wake cycles, it disrupts nearly every routine we have. Sticking to a few constants like exercise, diet, and regular work hours can help with relaxation. Avoid the more common pitfalls that come with travel&mdash;overeating or over-caffeinating and pulling all-nighters to catch up on work.</p> <h3>6. Unplug</h3> <p>Our hyper-connected world often works against us when it&rsquo;s time to sleep. Digital devices can disrupt rest in a couple of ways.</p> <ul> <li><b>First, there&rsquo;s the temptation to answer email</b>, read texts, and check social networking sites 24/7 because these resources never shut off.</li> <li><b>Second, the light from our digital devices interferes with how our minds prepare for sleep</b>. Our cycles of sleep and wakefulness are called our circadian rhythms and they&rsquo;re regulated in part, by lightness and darkness. Plugging in right before bed tells our bodies that it&rsquo;s not time to rest. Try powering down a full hour before you turn in for the night&mdash;it&rsquo;ll help promote the proper rest that precedes quality sleep.</li> </ul> <p>Rest can be hard-won even when we&rsquo;re not on the road. Learning a few methods to unwind and making space for sleep is only becoming more important as our lives get more complex. Remember quality down-time and a deep, rejuvenating sleep is the basis of true productivity. Now, shut off your computer and get some shut-eye.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-ways-for-business-travelers-to-get-a-good-night-s-sleep">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-that-improve-your-health-in-your-home-office">10 Things That Improve Your Health in Your Home Office</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-frugal-ways-to-land-a-client">11 Frugal Ways to Land a Client</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Productivity Small Business Resource Center business hotel business travel business trips small business travel travel planning Fri, 09 Sep 2011 19:39:03 +0000 Kentin Waits 687074 at http://www.wisebread.com Save Time and Money with Business-Friendly Smartphone Apps http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/save-time-and-money-with-business-friendly-smartphone-apps <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/smartphone-apps-to-save-you-time-and-money-barbara-weltman" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/smartphone-apps-to-s...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/save-time-and-money-with-business-friendly-smartphone-apps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000013693748XSmall.jpg" alt="Man with smartphone" title="Man with smartphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You&rsquo;ve made your New Year&rsquo;s resolution to work smarter, and what better way to do this then to use a smartphone? The iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and other smartphones are changing the way we do business. While only 17% of Americans own smartphones, <a href="http://mashable.com/2010/10/21/small-business-smartphones">nearly half of all small-business owners</a> already have them. With the expected arrival of the Verizon iPhone in 2011, many more small-business owners will implement smartphone usage very soon.</p> <p>Smartphones are not only for communication, although they are still a valuable tool for this purpose; they are also extremely helpful in handling various business activities while on the road. There are numerous apps for these devices that enable you to perform activities mobilely, which can save you both time and money, and more apps are being developed everyday.</p> <p>Here are some ways in which smartphones can be used to simplify your company&rsquo;s taxes, accounting, and other financial activities when you and/or your staff members are out of the office.</p> <h2>Accounting</h2> <p>Keep records of income and expenses up-to-date while you&rsquo;re on the road using an app for your accounting system; your mobile entries sync with your desktop data. For example:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.accountedge.com/mobile">AccountingEdge</a> lets you create quotes, orders, and invoices.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://intuitlabs.com/experiments/quickbooks-online-iphone">QuickBooks Online</a> enables you to view your customer lists, look up accounts receivable, and check your credit card balances.</li> </ul> <h2>Taxes</h2> <p>Taxes require you to keep receipts and certain records to backup your claimed deductions. You can use smartphones to help with record-keeping such as:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Vehicle mileage:</strong> If you use a personal car or truck for business, keep a record of your business driving using Intuit&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.tap2track.com">Tap2Track</a>, <a href="http://milebug.com">MileBug</a>, Symply Soft&rsquo;s <a href="http://symplysoft.com/milog">Milog</a>, or <a href="http://www.appcubby.com/trip/index.html">Trip Cubby</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>T&amp;E reports: </strong>Track travel and entertainment expenses with apps such as <a href="http://www.concur.com/en-us/features/mobile">Concur</a>.</li> </ul> <h2>Other Matters</h2> <p>There are an unlimited number of ways in which a smartphone can be used for a business&rsquo;s financial activities:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Time tracking: </strong>Keep track of the time you spend on customer accounts using smartphone apps, such as <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hourstracker-time-sheet/id321923934?mt=8">HoursTracker</a> or <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/clockin-33-off/id300065032?mt=8">ClockIn</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Payment processing:&nbsp;</strong>Apps enable you to accept credit cards on the fly. Your smartphone uses an iTerminal/vTerminal to process payments using an app such as <a href="http://www.authorize.net/solutions/merchantsolutions/mobilemerchantaccount">Authorize.net</a>, <a href="http://www.prlog.org/10205264-paytech-launches-paypocket-for-blackberry.html">Paytech PayPocket</a>, and <a href="http://www.apptism.com/apps/iterminal-accept-credit-cards">uCharge</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Credit card balances:</strong>&nbsp;You can view and manage your <a href="https://www201.americanexpress.com/MobileWeb/index.jsp">American Express</a> credit card balance, for example, using an app. You can also receive text message alerts for payment reminders and irregular account activity.</li> </ul> <h2>Final Word</h2> <p>Be sure to check into cost (some apps are fee; others have a modest cost) and availability on your type of smartphone (some apps work only on iPhones, others on BlackBerrys, etc.). Also ask your CPA or other financial advisor which other types of apps can be used to help run your business more efficiently while you are away from your office.</p> <p>Remember to address privacy concerns with smartphone usage. Issues include virus protection, data backup, and blocks for tracking your location. The International Association for Privacy Professionals recently <a href="https://www.privacyassociation.org/publications/2010_12_21_mma_calls_for_smartphone_privacy_guidelines">called for privacy guidelines</a>. And yes, there&rsquo;s an app for privacy protection too (see <a href="https://www.mylookout.com">MyLookout</a>).</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/barbara-weltman">Barbara Weltman</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/save-time-and-money-with-business-friendly-smartphone-apps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself">This Is the One Skill You Need If You Want to Work for Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center Technology business travel small business small business taxes smartphone apps Fri, 14 Jan 2011 19:16:17 +0000 Barbara Weltman 441991 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Hotel and Car Rental Tips for Business Travelers http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/8-hotel-and-car-rental-tips-for-business-travelers <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/8-hotel-and-car-rental-tips-for-business-travelers-nora-dunn" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/8-hotel-and-car-renta...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/8-hotel-and-car-rental-tips-for-business-travelers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000002455997XSmall.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="164" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Traveling for business is often seen as a high-budget perk to the job&hellip;for everybody except the business owner, that is. Despite tax deductibility of most business travel expenses, it pays to be judicious about how you spend your money on business trips. Here are some hotel and car rental hacks that will keep your team traveling in the lap of luxury without the associated price tag.</p> <h3>1. Getting to the Hotel</h3> <p>Instead of hopping in a cab (or series of cabs, depending on the size of your entourage) at the airport, explore some of the other options to get to your hotel. First and foremost, ask your hotel if they have a courtesy shuttle service; some indeed provide this benefit but don't advertise it. If they don't have a shuttle service, they can usually recommend a good alternative, and sometimes will either make the arrangements for you, or give you a discount code for a preferred supplier.</p> <p>Failing that, there are a number of shuttle services that can get you to your destination economically and in comfort. A quick online search will usually provide a number of solutions.</p> <h3>2. Location, Location, Location</h3> <p>Where you stay is largely dependent on what you have to do (and where) on the trip. Staying in a central location in town (near a conference center, for example) comes with the highest price tag, but also saves the time and cost of transportation to and from the venue</p> <p>If you must drive to your venue, compare the cost of renting a car and parking it, to the cost of taking taxis. After all is said and done, there isn't always a clear answer as to which option is cheaper.</p> <p>If you can, try to book your accommodation close to public transportation (assuming it's plentiful in the city you are visiting). Getting a week-long pass for the buses and trains will be far cheaper than the alternative, and may also give you and your employees some additional leeway for personal travel as well.</p> <h3>3. Hotel Internet</h3> <p>Before you connect to the in-room internet service (which often comes with a fee), inquire about common-area WiFi and internet services. Some places will quietly offer free WiFi in the lobby or business center (and/or internet-enabled computers for guest use), but charge exorbitantly for in-room internet use.</p> <h3>4. Hotel Breakfast</h3> <p>Eating breakfast at the hotel is convenient, but can be costly. Obviously take advantage if it's free of charge, but think twice about lining up for the (often mediocre) buffet if it's not, since it's often overpriced. Becoming a &ldquo;temporary regular&rdquo; at the coffee shop down the street can sometimes be even more rewarding &mdash; financially and otherwise.</p> <h3>5. Consider Car Sharing</h3> <p>Instead of renting a car, look into <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/innovation/article/car-sharing-for-businesses-save-money-and-go-green-nora-dunn">car sharing</a> as a possibility. If you already belong to a corporate car sharing program in your home town, this option is even easier on the road.</p> <h3>6. Ask for Discounts</h3> <p>When reserving both your accommodation and possible car rental or car sharing program, ask if they have any corporate discount programs available. Even if your group is small, there could be a loyalty program just right for you.</p> <h3>7. Ask for Upgrades!</h3> <p>If you need to rent a car, reserve the lowest cost option. When picking the car up, ask if they have any complimentary upgrades or free corporate incentives available. You'd be surprised at what they'll offer!</p> <p>The same applies to your accommodation as well. You never know what you can get by simply asking for a free upgrade. This is true especially if you are a larger group, as they could be vying for your repeat business and eager to create a regular customer out of you.</p> <p>Don't be afraid to get creative with your requests if they're not immediately forthcoming with options; maybe the hotel can't upgrade your room, but will be happy to give you complimentary or discounted breakfasts.</p> <h3>8. Business Meetings and Meals</h3> <p>Try to take that business meeting or group outing over lunch instead of dinner. This way you'll save money on the price hike that restaurants enjoy levying at dinnertime. Employees might also appreciate some down-time in the evenings to explore on their own and eat where they like.</p> <p><em>For more information on ways to save money and travel for business more effectively, check out these articles on Open Forum:</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/14-travel-hacks-and-airfare-saving-tips-for-businesses-nora-dunn"><em>14 Travel Hacks and Airfare Saving Tips for Businesses</em></a><em><br /> </em><a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/18-must-haves-for-the-business-traveler-nora-dunn"><em>18 Must-Haves for the Business Traveler</em></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/8-hotel-and-car-rental-tips-for-business-travelers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself">This Is the One Skill You Need If You Want to Work for Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center Travel business travel small business Fri, 06 Aug 2010 22:42:08 +0000 Nora Dunn 168125 at http://www.wisebread.com Travel and Money: Using Your Credit Card on the Road http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-credit-card-on-the-road <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/travel-and-money-using-your-credit-card-on-the-road" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/607077826_70d09d914e_z.jpg" alt="travelers" title="travelers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your next vacation won&rsquo;t happen without money&hellip;both prior to and during your trip. But with currency conversion discrepancies, high surcharges, and the risk of theft or loss, managing your money on the road isn&rsquo;t as simple as you may think. This <em>Travel and Money </em>series discusses various ways to address your money issues while you are abroad.</p> <p>Today we will discuss <strong>using your credit card on the road</strong>. There is no denying that credit cards are very necessary for travel, as they&rsquo;re often required to book travel arrangements (like flights and accommodation) in advance. They&rsquo;re also incredibly convenient and useful &mdash; but must be used correctly, and with caution. I don&rsquo;t recommend charging any travel expenses to your credit card if you don&rsquo;t have the ability to pay it off (in full) immediately. The massive interest rates alone make no financial sense, and can put you in financial strife if you come up against an emergency and have no cash and a maxed out card.</p> <p>Having said that, my credit card is one of the most useful travel tools I have. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Credit Card Advantages</h2> <p>Despite some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-getting-your-credit-card-canceled">challenges I&rsquo;ve had</a>, credit cards are my preferred way to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">pay for everything while traveling</a> for a number of reasons:</p> <ul> <li>It provides a detailed record of my purchases<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The currency conversion surcharges are reasonable (although rates vary with different credit cards)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If my card or identity is stolen, I am usually not liable for the erroneous purchases<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>I get some automatic <a title="The Dirt on Travel Insurance" href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirt-on-travel-insurance">travel insurance</a> coverage by charging flights and car rentals<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The <a title="How to Earn a Free Flight Every Year" href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year">frequent flyer miles</a> help to fund further travels</li> </ul> <h2>Credit Card Precautions</h2> <p>But using a credit card on the road isn&rsquo;t all roses and cherries. Here are some things to be aware of:</p> <ul> <li>If you use your credit card for cash advances, interest is charged from the date of withdrawal (instead of after 30 days as with regular purchases).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Depending on the credit card,currency conversion surcharges can vary as much as 10% between the best and worst cards. Take care to read the fine print.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Some merchants charge extra for using credit cards &mdash; up to 10%. The last time I was in Mexico, for example, almost every merchant charged exorbitantly for me to use my card. (In this case I used my <a title="Using Your Debit Card on the Road" href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-debit-card-on-the-road">debit card</a> at the ATM to withdraw cash instead).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>In dodgy countries or areas, it&rsquo;s not unheard of for vendors to &ldquo;double-swipe&rdquo; your card or record your number for later use. Don&rsquo;t let your card out of your sight, and insist on a receipt.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Some merchants will give you the option of charging the purchase in your home currency. Usually it&rsquo;s best to decline the offer (and you can do so), because they tend to use less favorable conversion rates, and your credit card will sometimes still levy the foreign currency surcharge. This can cost you up to an additional 6% over simply charging the expense in the local currency.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Although it may seem convenient, resist the urge to use your credit card for long distance calls with a payphone! Twice I was in a jam at an airport and made extremely quick calls, and was charged up to $150 for less than five minutes of conversation. Consider yourself warned!</li> </ul> <h2>Using Your Credit Card Abroad</h2> <p>Here are a few things you should take care to do if you use your credit card abroad:</p> <ul> <li>Call your credit card company before you leave for your trip to advise them of your travel plans. Otherwise, if they see purchases coming from out-of-town, they may freeze your account in suspicion of the card having been stolen. Although sometimes they freeze the account despite your advisory, they&rsquo;ll almost certainly freeze it if you don&rsquo;t give them the head&rsquo;s up.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check your statements religiously. Go through every expense on your credit card statement each month, to ensure all the charges are legitimate and accurate. If you see any discrepancies, call the credit card company right away. Later in this series, we&rsquo;ll discuss the best way to view your statements online and pay your bills securely.</li> </ul> <h2>Rewards Cards</h2> <p>As I said earlier, one of the perks of using my credit card to charge my expenses is in the accumulation of <a title="How to Earn a Free Flight Every Year" href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year">frequent flyer miles</a>. But there are a number of different types of <a title="Credit Card Rewards Programs" href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs">credit cards rewards programs</a>. Here is a chart with some of the best credit cards for travelers along with the benefits they offer.</p> <p><a href="http://besttraveldeals.net/content/best-traveler-credit-cards-infographic"><img width="600" height="1856" alt="" src="http://besttraveldeals.net/sites/btd/files/CreditCards.jpg" /></a></p> <h3>Other articles in the Travel &amp; Money series:</h3> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-debit-card-on-the-road">Using Your Debit Card on the Road</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-prepaid-travel-cards">Using Prepaid Travel Cards</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-how-to-get-and-carry-cash-safely-and-securely">How to Get and Carry Cash Safely and Securely</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-carrying-decoy-wallets">Carrying Decoy Wallets</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-passport-carrying-tips">Passport Carrying Tips</a></li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-credit-card-on-the-road">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-lowest-price-on-airfare-even-after-you-buy">How to Get the Lowest Price on Airfare, Even After You Buy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-this-thing-in-your-wallet-is-almost-useless-today">Why This Thing in Your Wallet Is Almost Useless Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-14-best-ways-to-cut-food-costs-while-traveling">The 14 Best Ways to Cut Food Costs While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Credit Cards Travel accommodations booking airfare business travel vacation Thu, 24 Jun 2010 12:00:05 +0000 Nora Dunn 147806 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Must Haves for the Business Traveler http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/must-haves-for-the-business-traveler <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/18-must-haves-for-the-business-traveler-nora-dunn" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/18-must-haves-for-the...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/must-haves-for-the-business-traveler" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000001428391XSmall.jpg" alt="Business travel" title="Business travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Making a business trip a success involves a number of factors, including ensuring you are well-rested and on your game, protecting and transporting your belongings safely, keeping up with work and office events during your absence, and making every part of your business trip efficient and cost-effective.</p> <p>Following is a selection of items and services that are often considered must haves for the <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;218395891;41475468;y?http://www201.americanexpress.com/sbsapp/FMACServlet?request_type=alternateChannels&amp;lpid=300&amp;openeep=17460&amp;ccsgeep=17460">business traveler</a>, along with some guidelines as to what to look for. They'll help you save time, increase efficiency, and make that next business trip much more enjoyable.</p> <h2>Traveling Gear</h2> <p><strong>1. Medication / First Aid</strong></p> <p>Aside from prescription medication, it is a good idea to have a small supply of over-the-counter supplies available if you need them in a pinch. Anti-nausea, allergy, and pain/fever reducing tablets, along with an anti-itch cream (for bites) can go a long way, especially if you start to feel ill and no pharmacies are open or nearby.</p> <p><strong>2. Inflatable Travel Pillow</strong></p> <p>Lugging around a non-inflatable travel pillow can be bulky and inconvenient, while an inflatable one is both light and portable. And when you are on that plane, train, or bus, having somewhere to put your head (that isn't the shoulder of the person sitting next to you) can mean the difference between arriving at your destination refreshed, and arriving needing a nap.</p> <p><strong>3. Plug Adapter</strong></p> <p>If you're traveling overseas, you'll need an adapter to plug your electronics and appliances into local power points. You can either choose an adapter suited specifically to your destination (often best bought when you arrive), or you can go with a universal adapter that will accept any type of plug and fit any type of wall socket.</p> <p><strong>4. Voltage Converter</strong></p> <p>Power points around the world vary dramatically in voltage. For example, if you plug a hair dryer from North America into an outlet in Australia &mdash; even with a plug adapter &mdash; you will immediately burn out your hair dryer and could even cause a fire. Many electronics have built-in adapters that can handle voltages from 110-240 volts, meaning you won't need an expensive and bulky voltage converter. However other items like hair dryers or small appliances don't have this capability. If you must bring these items, you'll need a voltage converter.</p> <p><strong>5. Surge Protector</strong></p> <p>Many power bars that we use at home have built-in surge protectors to prevent our electronics and appliances from getting a destructive shock in the event of a power surge (which can be caused by storms or faulty power connections). But we don't tend to bring power bars along with us when we travel, and power surges can be especially prevalent in developing countries. Protect your precious electronics from power surges by investing in a surge protector. Some plug directly into the wall (and you plug your items into it), and other smaller versions plug directly into your electronics, into which you plug the power cord.</p> <p><strong>6. Water Bottle</strong></p> <p>Whether you are flying (and trying to beat jet lag by staying hydrated), or at your destination and constantly on the move, having a reusable water bottle will save you the expense and hassle (and waste) of buying water in disposable bottles along the way. You can even order water bottles with your logo for the office, and give them out to employees to use too; a little guerrilla marketing and <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/tax-free-employee-benefits-nora-dunn-1">employee perks</a> don't hurt.</p> <h2>Electronics</h2> <p><strong>7. Cell Phone / Smart Phone</strong></p> <p>With the advent of iPhones and other smart phone devices, your cell phone can also double as your PDA, MP3 player, e-book reader, camera, and even GPS device, among other handy tools. No matter what your device is, make sure you don't pay excessive roaming, long distance, and data fees by checking into the specifics of your plan. Some carriers offer international coverage for an extra fee that can make using your device abroad more cost-effective. If you are sending your employees off with a phone on the company plan, this is especially important; they don't often consider what your bill will be at the end of the month when they make or answer phone calls.</p> <p>Some people use their smart phone solely for internet connectivity abroad (since international data packages can be inexpensive and free wifi hotspots rampant), and carry an unlocked cell phone into which they can insert a local SIM card for calls. Other people like online services like Skype or Google Voice for phone calls, which can be tied into your cell phone (in a variety of ways) for ease of use.</p> <p><strong>8. GPS</strong></p> <p>GPS is especially handy if you are <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/innovation/article/car-sharing-for-businesses-save-money-and-go-green-nora-dunn">navigating a foreign city in a car</a>. If you don't have GPS capability with your smart phone, getting a small GPS device can save you time on the road, and is often equally handy at home too.</p> <h2>Computer Gear</h2> <p><strong>9. Laptop</strong></p> <p>Although this may seem like stating the obvious, the big question at this point is what kind of laptop you want to travel with. From Toughbooks for tough travelers, to UMPCs (Ultra Mobile PCs) and Netbooks for light work, there is a wide range of <a href="http://www.vagabondish.com/laptop-travel-guide/">laptops you can travel with</a>.</p> <p><strong>10. USB Drive / External Hard Drive</strong></p> <p>USB drives are a great way to have a back-up of those important documents handy, just in case something goes wrong with your laptop along the way. They are also great for storing presentations if you plan to use somebody else's machine at your destination.</p> <p>Selection ranges from mini USB sticks that fit on a necklace cord and store a few gigabytes of information, to external hard drives that are large enough to back up your laptop three times over. It is recommended that you keep your USB drive(s) separate from your laptop; if one is lost or damaged, you still have the other as a backup.</p> <p><strong>11. Wireless Mouse</strong></p> <p>Having a wireless mouse reduces the number of cords you need to carry, and (for most people) increases work efficiency over using your laptop's touch pad. You can even get mini versions of the wireless mouse to reduce space and weight. A close second to the wireless mouse is one with a retractable cord for ease of storage and use.</p> <p><strong>12. Extra / Extended Life Battery</strong></p> <p>You don't always have access to a decent power source while traveling. Increase work efficiency by investing in an extended life battery for your laptop, or by carrying an additional battery.</p> <p><strong>13. Internet</strong></p> <p>These days getting an Internet connection on the road isn't difficult. Many business travelers now insist on free wifi access at their hotels so they can stay on top of work. Some rooms also have high-speed cable internet connections, which tend to be more secure. Be sure to ask your hotel what they offer; for some business travelers, it is a deal-breaker.</p> <p><strongbaggage considerations=""></strongbaggage></p> <p><strong>14. Laptop Bag</strong></p> <p>The variety of laptop bags you can choose from make this seemingly basic item a little more complicated. Although the neoprene laptop sleeves are slim and compact, they don't do much for protecting your machine against bumps along the way, and there is little room for cords, adapters, and other plug-in devices. With increasingly stringent carry-on guidelines for flights, you will want your laptop bag to be practical enough to carry the majority of your electronics in one convenient place.</p> <p><strong>15. Luggage</strong></p> <p>If your business trip is short in duration, it is nice to fly with nothing but carry-on luggage. However beware of recent (and ongoing) changes to the airline security process, along with some changes to carry-on baggage allowances. Some airlines will only let you bring one bag on the plane with you (believe it or not some restrict even that), so don't get too attached to your carry-on entourage if you tend to err close to former carry-on limits. Instead, focus on clever organizers to keep the volume of your luggage low.</p> <h2><strong>Miscellaneous Items</strong></h2> <p><strong>16. Noise-canceling headphones</strong></p> <p>These are great for drowning out distractive noises on the road so you can concentrate on work or get some sleep, while listening to your favorite tunes or watching on-board movies. Using regular headphones doesn't achieve this as readily, unless you turn the volume up so loud that everybody else has to listen to your music as well. (Please don't!)</p> <p><strong>17. Screen Protectors</strong></p> <p>Another great item for home as well, screen protectors for your smart phone, camera, and other screen surfaces will ensure the long life of your electronics. Travel in particular can entail a more substantial beating on your belongings, as they tend to get crammed into bags where they may rub up against abrasive items.</p> <p><strong>18. Recovery ID Program Labels</strong></p> <p>Recovery ID program labels are attached to your items and registered with your information. If your item is lost, the finder can follow the instructions on the highly visible label and call the number or go online to report your item lost. The recovery program in turn contacts you and arranges for the return of your item.</p> <p>Not only do these labels help you recover lost items, but they're also usually tamper-proof, making it difficult for a thief to remove the label and resell stolen items. If you resell the item yourself, you can deregister it from your name and your buyer can enjoy the service by registering it with their own information.</p> <p>Here are a few Recovery ID programs to choose from:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.trackitback.com/portal/">Track it Back</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.gadgettrak.com/products/tags/">Gadget Trak</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.stuffbakau.com/sb/default.aspx">Stuff Bak</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.yellowtag.com/index.asp">Yellow Tag</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.boomerangit.com/">Boomerang It</a></li> </ul> <p>What are your own must haves for business travel?</p> <script type="text/javascript"> federated_media_section = "platinum"; </script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/must-haves-for-the-business-traveler">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself">This Is the One Skill You Need If You Want to Work for Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center Travel business travel small business Wed, 17 Mar 2010 13:00:02 +0000 Nora Dunn 5392 at http://www.wisebread.com