I love traveling for business. I am so much more productive while I'm in the air or at the airport - no distractions! I've traveled more frequently than ever this year between work, weddings and various projects that I've developed quite a wealth of knowledge about navigating airports, planning, packing and everything in between.
But, no amount of business travel will grant you the knowledge of a real travel professional. Enter, my friend Sophie Forbes-Johnson. She's a travel writer so quite literally, she is a professional traveler and made me realize my Priority Pass and TSA Pre-Check status was childsplay.
So, here's how to travel like it's your job from the people who travel because it's their job:
"Use RouteHappy to choose the best plane on a specific route. Not all planes from point A to point B are created equal, even on the same airline on the same day.
For instance, there are nine direct flights from LAX to MIA. If you leave at 8 am on American, you'll be flying on an old 767 with very little modern comfort (like shared overhead TV monitor). Leave an hour later on the 9 am, and you're aboard a 777-300, one of the newer planes with seatback entertainment, power outlets and WIFI. The easiest way to determine which flight has a better plane is by going to RouteHappy.com, which rates every route based on the best plane to the worst.
Those who don't mind paying the $40 Uber ride to Miami from Fort Lauderdale airport can fly Virgin America, which flies the A320 that has roomier seats, seat-back entertainment, power outlets, Wifi and that cheerful Virgin service."
Eric Rosen, Points and Miles Expert
"Concentrate your travel with specific airlines and hotels to earn elite status so that you can take advantage of perks like priority check-in, security and boarding, saving you time at the airport, and benefits like room upgrades, late check-out and free high-speed internet at certain hotels. Do a little homework about the airlines flying the routes you will be on and which hotels are in your destination to pick the ones that best fit your needs.
Though many airports now offer free WiFi, it might be worth getting a card like the Starwood Preferred Guest Business credit card from American Express, which offers cardholders free Boingo WiFi access on up to four devices at a time at more than a million hotspots worldwide."
"Delete your browser cookies before you buy hotel rooms and airline tickets. The prices go up when you visit multiple travel sites. Cheapest time to book airline tickets and hotel rooms is Tuesday at 3pm, 6 weeks out. If you wait until after midnight to book your flights or hotels, there will be more inventory and have better rates because many of the rooms and seats are put on a 24 hour hold. At midnight the hold is lifted.
If you've got hotel reservations and need to cancel, but you're already within however many days prior to arrival your cancelation policy stated, just reschedule for a future date (usually there's no penalty for that), then call the hotel back, get a different rep and cancel free of charge.
Don't pay for rental car insurance. Before you opt for the overpriced car insurance that rental companies offer, call your credit card company and see if car insurance is included. In my case, 3 of my credit card companies offer this little perk which saved me $200."
Sophie Forbes-Johnson, Travel and Lifestyle writer
"Registering for Global Entry means you can skip the painfully long lines at passport control when landing overseas, or re entering the US. It expedites the immigration process and will reduce the amount of time you spend standing in a line at the airport. The application process is relatively cheap ($100) and easy - but it can take several months to get an appointment for the mandatory interview. It's worth the wait.
Invest in decent luggage. Not only does it look more professional, but if you travel a lot, your bags will take a beating. And it is worth every dime to have a bag that will withstand all that mileage. Also, many higher end luggage companies offer lifetime guarantees, or really good extended warranties that mean you can get your bag fixed or replaced should anything happened to it."
And, for good measure, here's how to pack a suit that will fit into your carry on.