Category Archives: Travel Tips

Gift Ideas For Business Travelers

2017 gifts for business travelers

Frequent business travelers are an interesting breed—they have their own techniques and tricks for just about everything travel related. Whether it’s packing know-how or airport shortcuts; they usually have their own way of doing things. That’s one reason why finding gifts that will fit into their existing routines can be a struggle. This year, we’ve asked our internal team for their reliable travel favorites or items on their wish list. Come ready this year with these tried-and-true gift ideas for business travelers.

2017 top gift ideas for business travelers

  1. Ebags laptop briefcase – This professional piece of luggage can be used for a quick day trip or a longer stay. The briefcase has a handy compartment for your laptop, with additional storage. It can be used as a briefcase, with an over-the-shoulder strap. Or, convert into a modern backpack. The best part? It easily mounts on top of your rolling suitcase, zippering around the extending poles. Ease the awkwardness of traveling with multiple bags with this gift.
  2. RFID blocking wallet –  RFID, or radio frequency identification, is the latest technology used to easily and quickly identify and scan information. You can find it in credit cards, passports, toll lane passes and other devices. Unfortunately, hackers with RFID readers can easily access this information too. If you’re worried about a loved one running into this type of scam while on the road, an RFID blocking wallet or other item may be the perfect gift. You can also find RFID blocking fanny packs, luggage, and even skinny jeans! 
  3. BlenderBottle GoStak Storage jars – This is the perfect gift for any health-conscious person on your list, especially a frequent traveler. These stacking jars fits two servings of protein powder shake and supplements, plus an extra compartment for portioned snacks. Additionally, it easily stacks together, for a space-saving solution. 
  4. Coffee subscriptions – Those always on-the-go professionals are often always with coffee in hand too! Get them something you know they’ll use with a monthly subscription of coffee. Many different subscriptions exist, all delivered to their door.   
  5. Aukey car phone mount – You’ll be surprised by how simple, small, and cheap this product is! For anyone who frequently travels by car, this is an easy solution to keep smartphones easily accessible and in place. This car phone mount simply snaps into any car air vent. A strong magnet is placed on the back of their phone, giving the driver a hands-free view of their smartphone screen.  Other reviews indicate that it can be used with even the heaviest and largest smartphones. 
  6. Anker Multiport usb wall charger – With smartphones, tablets, Fitbits, Kindles, portable speakers, etc., the need to charge multiple devices at once is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, most devices charge via a usb port, and most hotel rooms don’t provide these stations. This 4-port wall charger allows the user to charge four devices at once. So they can efficiently charge everything they need at once and get back to what’s more important.
  7. Sentri home security – Not the most exciting gift on the list, but one that provides peace of mind. Let your frequent traveler virtually check-in on their home with this camera and interface. The touch screen device, which looks like a basic clock, is also a camera. When there is movement inside the house, the user will receive an update on their phone. From there, they can look at live feed of the house or past recordings. Depending on the situation, a siren can be instigated from the phone to the device, scaring whoever may be inside.  It also connects to other smart home devices, like Nest. There are different monthly payment options, including a free version.
  8. CLEAR – CLEAR is similar to TSA Pre-Check in that it allows its members to quickly speed through security lines at the airport. Using the traveler’s fingerprint or eye scan, it verifies that it’s really them and gets them on their way. Though a higher price tag than TSA Precheck ($15 a month, compared to $85 for 5 years), it is becoming known as the fastest option, (while TSA Pre-Check is under scrutiny for slow lines and delays). Currently in 30 cities, it is also being used at sports stadiums.  
  9. Priority Pass Lounge access – This is the ULTIMATE gift for frequent business travelers. With 1000+ lounges in over 500 countries, your traveler can access airline lounges between flights. Let them relax and decompress from traveling, grab a bite to eat or drink (including free alcohol at most lounges), along with free secure wifi. It comes with three different membership tiers. Though they are continually adding more lounges, double check that their frequently traveled locations are on the list first before purchasing.

 

7 Questions Every Business Should Ask Before Contracting With A TMC – Part 2

contracting with a tmc

Once your company decides to partner with a TMC, finding one that suits your company’s needs becomes the next challenge. If you missed it, see our part 1 of this blog series, addressing the initial questions to ask any travel management company during the vetting process. Now that you’ve asked the first round of questions from your perspective TMCs, it’s time to dive deeper. We’ve compiled additional questions to ask, regardless if this the first time you’re working with a TMC or just looking for a new fit.

Questions to ask before contracting with a TMC

  1. What are the typical savings for your clients? What’s the biggest bang for your buck? Unfortunately, when it comes to cost savings, travel management is not so black and white. Cost is often a major factor, but what are the other pain points affecting your company and its travelers? Having an understanding of what savings looks like to a TMC is an important perspective. 
  2. How much back and forth is needed to finalize travel plans? Depending on your set up and preferences, every company’s answer is going to look different. Seeing how each TMC handles this question can provide excellent insight into their customization options and overall customer service.
  3. Will I be working with a dedicated team? AKA – when the going gets tough, can I rely on people who know the ins-and-outs of my travel needs and preferences? Having reliable back up when you’re stranded alone in an airport at 2:30 am is what makes the difference between a good TMC and a great TMC. At Christopherson, you will have an account manager who always has your back, plus a collection of advisers.
  4. How do you handle travel mishaps? What happens if a traveler misses their flight? Or has a family emergency and needs to quickly change their itinerary? Asking how each company resolves unforeseen travel issues can save you time and energy in the future.
  5. Is there a general travel insurance provider? How well do they know business travel industries as a whole? Are they well-equipped to assist in other travel-related needs, like travel insurance or credit card pre-payment?
  6. Do you provide after hours support? When the unforeseen happens after 5pm, what it the procedure to assisting your travelers. Will they be waiting for a callback? Or will they receive immediate service and support?
  7. How are you different from other TMCs? Ask them for their elevator pitch. Make sure your concerns and their priorities are aligned before contracting with a TMC.

A reliable TMC who always has your back is an essential factor for any growing business. Make sure you choose the corporate travel partner that’s right for your company’s needs. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are looking for a TMC, or, just interested in more about TMCs in general. We’re always here to talk.

Tip: Pick A Reliable Aircraft For On-Time Flights

reliable-aircraft-on-time-flights

When people book flights, their decision is typically based on price and/or schedule. But a recent study found there may be another factor to consider if you want your travel day to run smoothly.  Turns out, paying attention to the type of aircraft you will be flying on may save you from delays or cancellations.  Some aircraft models are known to need repairs more often than others. Additionally, what may be a reliable aircraft for one airline, may be the worst option of another airline. This is due to different internal repair processes between different airlines. Of course, not all flight schedules include the type of aircraft. Some busier routes offer a variety of different flights and options. Travelers on these frequent routes can often see the type of aircraft when booking reservations. 

Tips to choosing a reliable aircraft

  • Boeing 737s are the top in reliability for most airlines. In this study, United 737s out performed United 757s in less delays or cancellations. United 737s arrived on time 82% compared to United 757s at only 70% on time.
  • Most airlines are phasing out Boeing 747s by the end of this year, in an effort to improve overall reliability.
  • Regional jets have a higher rate of delays and cancellations compared to larger jets. These smaller jets are often the first to be delayed or cancelled, allowing more customers to fly on the larger jets.
  • Discount airlines often have weaker reliability than larger carriers. Fewer planes and busy schedules often mean there are less spare airplanes to replace an airplane needing repair. This leads to cancellations or long delays.
  • Planes with fancy lie-down seats often have more frequent delays and cancellations. These seats come with complicated parts that take additional time to repair if they break. Luckily, these flights are typically just delayed, as the airlines cater to these top-dollar customers.
  • Delta’s best performing aircraft is their MD-88 jets, though they are on average 26 years old. They have a cancellation rate of only 0.6% and an on-time arrival rate of 82.8%. This is an example of differences between airlines. Though the MD-88s work best for Delta, they are one of the worst performers for American Airlines. It has a cancellation rate four times higher than Delta, and arrived on time to only 69.1% of their flights.
  • Use the chart in the image above the article to find the most reliable aircraft by airline, from best to worst.

If you are a frequent business traveler, delays or cancellations can really screw with your itinerary. Try choosing your next flight based on a reliable aircraft. Let us know if the tip helped your travels by commenting on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

5 Funny ‘Road-Trip’ Movies to Watch While Traveling

best-road-trip-movies

Nothing beats passing the time on a long flight than enjoying a good laugh from watching traveling humor! I recently spent 9 hours on a plane over 2 days, and it got me to thinking about some great comedic road trip movies that I have seen over the years. Below is a list of some of my favorites, with a summary and a favorite quote from each.

Top road trip movies to watch while traveling:

  1. National Lampoon’s Vacation:  On a road trip to Wally World theme park, this family continually finds strange predicaments and catastrophes instead of a relaxing vacation. This is the first movie of five is about the misadventures of the Griswald family.  “The dog wet on the picnic basket!” 
  2. Tommy Boy: Starring Chris Farley and David Spade, the duos only chance to save Tommy’s family business is selling on the road. Watch them blunder through sales presentations and encounter various surprises on the road. “Fat guy in a little coat!”
  3. Dumb & Dumber: In an attempt to return a lost briefcase two imbeciles played by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels find themselves road tripping across America.  “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”
  4. Planes, Trains & Automobiles: Following cancellations and delays, Neal Page, played by Steve Martin, attempts the near impossible to get home to his family by Thanksgiving. His biggest obstacle is being paired with the clumsy, over-talkative and accident prone Del Griffith, played by John Candy. “Those aren’t pillows!”
  5. Due Date: A 2010 remake of ‘Planes, Trains & Automobiles’, it holds its own as an original road trip movie. Played by Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galifianakis, they work together to get to LA before Robert Downey Jr’s wife goes into labor. “You better check yourself before you wreck yourself.”

There are certainly some great road-trip movies out there, and I know that I have left out a ton.  The next time that you find yourself on the verge of a long flight, download one!  Traveling humor; while one is traveling themselves, is a great way to pass the time until you reach your destination!

6 Tips to Relax While Traveling

Relax while traveling for business

Are you constantly stressed while traveling for work? Being away from your home and family can easily throw anyone off. Not to mention a completely different schedule than your daily routine. Whether you are new to business travel or an seasoned roadwarrior, many parts of the journey can leave you feeling anxious.  Knowing how to relax while traveling is an important but often overlooked variable of business trips.

Tricks to help you relax while traveling:

Plan ahead 

Visualizing where you’ll be, what you will be wearing and events you will be attending can establish a schedule and even control. Before you head out the door, spend a few minutes researching. Knowing the address of your hotel and where it’s located will eliminate a few harried minutes at the airport. Or if you are attending a conference, download the schedule beforehand and plan out which sessions you’d like to see. Going in with a game plan might just help keep you confident and ready for other experiences.

Don’t over-schedule yourself 

Speaking of scheduling your time, try not to overbook your day. Factor things like jet lag, amount of sleep, work deadlines, etc. before committing to additional plans.

Unplug

Though it can seem impossible, try to have a few intervals during the day to unplug from work. If you can’t do that, even 15 minutes before going to sleep can recharge you for the next day.

Wellness

Make sure to take care of your health while on the road to help melt away the stress. Take advantage of hotel wellness programs, hit the gym, or grab some healthy snacks to offset an unhealthy traveling diet.

Family Pictures 

If you are missing your loved ones at home, save pictures of them on the background of your phone or computer. Seeing your family members may bring a smile to your face as you go through long days of meetings.

Save time for a vacation 

Our last tip is to take a vacation when you are done with work travel. Whether a full vacation or just a weekend ‘bleisure’ trip can open your eyes to a new place. Connect with a travel advisor at Andavo Travel, Christopherson’s leisure travel division, to plan a trip for complete relaxation.

Surviving a One-Day Buisness Trip

Surviving a one day business trip

We are all so busy that, at times, a one-day business trip can have a lot of benefits. First, it saves your company money on an overnight in a hotel. Second, it takes less time away from any personal and professional duties and can make a person more productive. While the benefits are strong, the concept of doing such a trip can be daunting to some people.

Tips to surviving a one-day business trip:

1) Stay healthy. Catching an early flight, attending meetings, and then catching another flight at the end of the day is exhausting. Combat this by drinking plenty of water and eating healthy to ensure you have plenty of energy to get you through the day.
2) Dress comfortably. Without access to a hotel, you will need to wear business clothes for the entire day. Invest in some that are wrinkle free and wear comfortable shoes.
3) Pack a small “what if” bag. You’ll need to be prepared in the event that you need to stay over. Extra undergarments, travel sized toiletries and a toothbrush can put your mind at ease.
4) Take advantage of any travel perks. If you have access to an airport lounge or a business center, these can be a great place to catch up on work. If you don’t have such access, you may consider using your extra time to enjoy your destination for an hour or two.
5) Lastly, if your trip includes a red- eye flight, you might consider purchasing an upgrade to ensure you get enough sleep to continue to be productive once you land.

A one-day business trip is eventually inevitable for most professionals.  But if you tackle it strategically, you can walk away with a productive and energetic day under your belt.

The Power Of A Canadian Passport

Over the years, I’ve had more than a few run-ins at border crossings and airport security.  I get it — my “look” hasn’t always been the most clean-cut, especially when traveling.  But a surprising advantage I have, is being a Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport. The best example that I can share is when I was in Tunisia in Northern Africa, boarding my plane back to Malta in Southern Europe.

Traveling with a Canadian passport

On this particular trip, I was very bearded  – two weeks growth for a guy that can grow a beard in two days.  And my only luggage was a raggedy-old backpack.  Within just a couple of minutes of lining up at security, I saw soldiers starting to position themselves around the line-up.  Oddly enough, they seemed to be staring at me.

After getting into position, the soldiers closed in around me and told me to step away from the line-up.  While surrounding me with their military fatigues and machine guns, they didn’t look particularly happy and began asking questions.  Feeling a tad uncomfortable amidst the aggression and language barrier, I pulled out my Canadian passport, and the mood changed.  Angry faces immediately turned to smiles and laughter, and apologies followed.  The soldiers dispersed, and I was even placed at the front of the line for boarding! It’s certainly something that I have always remembered.

Even though I’ve experienced hiccups similar to this a few other times, I still always come to airport security lines prepared (though not always presentable). Below are a few essential pointers to smoothly get through international security lines, even with an unkempt beard.

Tips to breeze through international security lines:

  1. Have your ID and travel documents easily accessible.
  2. Ensure that you’re not carrying any items that can be deemed unacceptable in either your country of origin, or the countries that you are traveling through.
  3. Be conscious of the culture of the country that you are in and those around you, and be respectful.
  4. Be positive and responsive if questioned, as negativity and defensiveness can work against you.
  5. Dress is a presentable and non-threatening fashion, so that you don’t become a visual target for inspection.

Airplane Etiquette – A True Gamble

Everyone loves sitting beside strangers on a plane, right?!  It’s like buying a lottery ticket, and you never know whether you have won or lost until you arrive at your seat! As frequent business travelers, we all have stories of interesting people we have met or conversations we have overheard while traveling.

10 things that NO ONE wants to hear from the person sitting next to them:

  1. “Whoa, that airport burrito isn’t sitting well.”
  2. “I’m so happy to get these sweaty shoes off!”
  3. “Does this look infected?”
  4. “Billy, stop touching that – you have pink-eye!”
  5. “I don’t know why I’m so itchy.”
  6. “Mmmm, this tuna salad sandwich tastes great!”
  7. “I am so angry right now…I just want to hit something!”
  8. “Can you help me pry off this ankle monitor?”
  9. “Can I borrow your barf bag?”
  10. “People keep telling me that I have Halitosis – what do you think?”

Hopefully, you have never heard any of these yourself!  Feel free to reply with your own examples, and let’s all enjoy a laugh together!

On the other hand, here are a few pointers on how to have the best airplane etiquette:

  1. Recline courteously. As personal space is shrinking on airplanes, so has leg room. Reclining seats have become an issue of heated debate. If you must recline, at least be aware of when you do and who may be behind you. Is it a 5-year-old child or someone over six feet? Are they currently eating or using their tray table?
  2. Be nice to the flight attendants. They are just doing their job. Just put away your laptop already, it’s only for a few minutes.
  3. Be prepared to get through security quickly. Make sure there’s nothing in your pockets before you get to the line. Unlace and loosen your shoes before you need to take them off. And gather your items on the other side quickly. You can put on your shoes and belt after.
  4. The middle seat gets the armrest. Another area for debate, but consensus says the person is the middle seat gets to use the armrests. Both the window seats and aisle seat can lean onto other areas. Let them have this one.

Have any thoughts to add about airplane etiquette? We’d love to hear in the comments section below.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company. We’ve been providing travel management solutions to busy companies for more than 60 years. Contact us to learn how we can save you 15% on travel costs.

 

 

CV Travel Is A Humanitarian Travel Lifesaver

humanitarian travelRose Pylidis, a Christopherson Business Travel Executive, volunteers her time with a humanitarian organization in South Africa every year. Their goal is to create awareness and funding for food, clothing, shelter and education for women and children affected by poverty, abandonment and HIV/Aids. She flies out every year, bags in tow, to visit places such as Mabopane and Makanyane to volunteer her time and energy.

Rose has been volunteering with this non-profit for 16 years, but this is her first time traveling with the help of CV Travel, a recently acquired Christopherson Andavo company. Specializing in humanitarian travel and faith-based travel, they organize travel and provide travel support. This is Rose’s recent experience traveling with their help.

Humanitarian travel with CV Travel

How did you book travel before using CV Travel? 

Normally I would just book my trips via the Delta website.  This time, I used CV Travel to book my trip. They took care of everything!  In addition to the discount pricing, the thing I most appreciated was the ability to take 3 pieces of luggage per person.  With six of us in the group, that enabled us to bring much-needed clothing for women, children, and babies, as well as additional school supplies.
What info did you need to provide CV Travel? 

What I so appreciated was their ability to offer us different flight options/pricing within 2-3 day arrival/departure variable.  All she needed was our names as they appeared on our passports to hold the space and then we had several weeks before we had to make the final payment.

How was it different than how you previously booked humanitarian travel? I had such

I had such peace of mind knowing that I could contact CV Travel with any questions or possible changes.  Also, the fact that everyone in our party was able to take 3 suitcases at no additional charge.

Do you have any humanitarian travel tips for others?

On a personal note, I do keep a checklist for my international trips and always make sure to include an adaptor for charging phones, computers, etc.   Also, I spray colloidal silver on any surface that will be used to put my food on, especially the tray on the airlines, as well as spray some in my mouth.   Regardless of the area, I always make sure to pack sunscreen and bug spray.   Another important thing to consider is to take clothes that can be layered.  Also, closed-toes shoes are important.   Even though bottled water is normally available, it wouldn’t hurt to take some type of water purification device, even iodine tablets.    For humanitarian purposes, packing items that don’t require a lot of space or don’t weigh much including – stickers, socks, toothbrushes, washcloths, hair ribbons and postcards from your local area. They love seeing where you come from and understanding how other people live.

Christopherson Andavo Travel is a full-service travel company, providing assistance with corporate, leisure, and humanitarian travel management. Contact us to arrange your next excursion.

5 Favorite Travel-Friendly Athletic Shoes

travel friendly athletic shoeI know many business travelers that enjoy working out after they’ve finished a day at the office.  Some enjoy running the streets as a way to explore a new city, while others prefer the convenience of the hotel gym.  Either way, this Virtuoso blog article piqued my interest, because it reviews travel-friendly athletic shoes that pair “packability” with performance.  Here’s what they recommend.

Top athletic shoes for business travelers

Hoka uses midsoles that are thicker than most other brands. Though the Hoka One One Hupana appears bulky, it’s one of the lightest shoes on this page, and its mesh upper folds to pack flat. It is Virtuoso’s pick for wider feet. $115.

With its flat, stable outsole and firm heel, the Nike’s Metcon 3 DSX is tailored for multisport gym workouts. The knit upper collapses, saving room in travel bags. It also eliminates pressure points by fitting against the top of your feet. $160.

The ultralight New Balance 1500 v3 provides maximum compressibility, but with a more responsive cushion. It’s perfect for the outdoor runner, gripping well on gravel and wet surfaces. The wide heel and roomier forefoot offer excellent stability. $110.

Though considered a trail runner, the Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed it works well compacts well and provides superb traction and support. Its entire upper is constructed of a sock-like mesh for lightweight, easy traveling. $120.

Salomon’s S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra is known for being lightweight. Packing down to basically nothing, it is ideal for treadmills and activities that don’t require a lot of stability correction. It also has adjustable elastic cords instead of laces, always giving you the perfect fit. $180.

What kind of work out do you look for while traveling? Let us know in the comments below.

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Christopherson Business Travel manages travel for other companies. Our advanced technology, consultative account management, and around the clock service, provides time for our clients to focus on their passions. Learn more about our approach.