Guide to Business Travel – Small business information, insight and resources | Thu, 14 Feb 2019 18:32:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 157446745 How to Charge Your Smart Phone When Your Hotel Room ‘Seems’ to Have no USB Jacks Thu, 12 Jul 2018 17:49:30 +0000

I’ve been traveling a lot recently and have grown frustrated with the lack of hotel room USB jacks necessary to recharge my iPhone and other devices. J.D. Biersdorfer of the shares some tips for emergency charging when it seems like there is no place to plug.

TV Input-Output Jacks

First | Look for USB jacks on your TV

No, these jacks aren’t on your TV to serve as a re-charger, but for reasons like displaying photos on your TV. However, on many TVs, those USB plugs can supply a small amount of power to gadgets connected with a USB cable. According to Biersdorfer, “Phone manufacturers recommend that you charge your phone’s battery with the cable and electrical adapter that came with the device, and you use other options at your own risk. However, travelers who remembered their phone’s USB cables but forgot their wall charger cubes have been tapping power from functioning television USB ports for years.”

If the television has a functioning USB port on the back,
you can probably get enough power from it to juice your phone in a pinch.

However… | The phone’s battery won’t charge as quickly as it does with your standard power adapter and the television may have to be on. But the TV’s USB port can do in a pinch if you have no other options and the hotel’s front desk does not have a charger to lend you.

A warning about those built-in hotel room USB ports | Some hotels include USB ports in the rooms. However,  some security experts have advised against “juice jacking” — not plugging a USB cable directly into a public USB jack because of the slim chance of data theft or malware.

Best advice | Always keep a spare travel charger tucked in your suitcase.

Also on

13 Ways to Keep Your Laptop’s Battery Going and Going


Photos | GettyImages

On Your Next Business Flight, How to Create a Hands-Free Way to Watch Movies Thu, 26 Oct 2017 18:52:17 +0000

We know that several users of travel for business a lot, so we’re always glad to pass along ideas to make flights a bit more bearable. That’s why we couldn’t resist posting this clever idea posted by Reddit user @randomusefulbits.

As shown, it uses a tray lock as a clip to secure your phone. Just put your phone in the bag and clip it to your tray table. The trick works best with wireless headphones, but your wired earphone works if you punch a hole into the Ziplock.

Best part | If the passenger in front of you reclines their seat, the bag will quickly rock back into easy viewing position.

Yet to try | We have some flights next week during which we’re going to test the approach with an iPad Mini and a gallon-sized Ziplock bag.

VIA | Reddit: Convenient way to watch a movie on your phone when flying

How to Avoid Jet Lag: Sync Pre-Travel Meals With Destination Time Zone Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:00:57 +0000

Here’s some great advice for avoiding jet lag via Travel + Leisure: Schedule your meals around your destination time zone before you actually arrive. This helps you adjust to a new time zone before you arrive.

  • Meals help to regulate a person’s underlying rhythms
  • Eating meals in sync with your destination time zone helps to adjust such rhythms before arriving

However, it may be a challenge to rearrange your eating times. For example, when traveling on an overnight flight, it could mean that you’d need to be sleeping when the meal is served. You can ask the flight attendant to save your meal for later or just bring your own snacks in order to start the day with a breakfast.

Help your body make more sense of a time difference by using meals as a guideline. 

Bonus tip for avoiding jet lag | Don’t drink alcohol on a long-distance flight as it can act as a stimulant, making jet lag worse.

Travel + Leisure | How to Eat Your Way Out of Jet Lag

Also on

If Your Business Travel Plans Change, Here Are Your Options For Changing Airline Tickets


Travel App Hopper Adds ‘Flight Filters’ to Its Price Prediction Search Mon, 03 Oct 2016 11:00:05 +0000 If air travel is a part of running your business, you’re probably always on the lookout for two things:

1. Cheaper flights
2. More convenient or efficient flights

Hopper, an airfare “predictive” app that has focused on finding travelers cheaper flights since launching last year, is adding “flight filters” to its flight search service to help passengers discover more convenient and efficient flights.

Users now can filter the Hopper database to screen for convenience or comfort, as well as cost. For instance, the user can filter searches to discover the least number of stops, long layovers and basic fares (cheaper fares, but with more restrictions and fees for things like seat selection and bags).

(Note: Hopper does not have access to data from Delta, Easyjet, Ryanair, and Southwest Airlines.)

Hopper’s Approach & Why it is Popular

Hopper has received several accolades since launching in 2015, including an Apple’s App Store Best of 2015, a Google Play Award for Standout Startup of 2016 and the Webby Award for Best Travel App.

Here’s why: When you search for a flight, Hopper predicts when you will find the cheapest fare with the considerations you have set with the flight filters. It also recommend whether you should wait or book. If Hopper says WAIT, the user can tap an icon in the shape of binoculars to monitor the flight’s ticket price. The app will send you notifications whenever the price drops. If Hopper says BUY, you can choose your flights and book in just a few taps and a swipe. You can store passenger and payment information for future flight booking.

Flight Filters

While passengers often focus on the cheapest fares, business travelers may put more emphasis on fewer stops or quicker layovers. Flight filters let the user place priority on such factors.

  • Nonstop flights are available for about two-thirds of domestic trips.
  • Typically, nonstops flights are 21% more expensive than flights with stops.

According to Hopper, the app’s predictions and notifications can off-set the 21%.

TIP: If you do opt to fly stops (or there’s no nonstop option), consider filtering out long layovers because it rarely adds a significant amount to the ticket price.

Promotional video via Hopper

The Hopper App is available for iOS and Android
| iOS
| Android


Why Being Late for Meetings Due to Unexpected Event Traffic May Become More Avoidable Thu, 18 Aug 2016 12:14:48 +0000

Have you ever headed out for a business meeting late in the day only to discover yourself in the middle of a traffic jam caused by 15,000 people driving into downtown to attend a concert by a rock group you’ve never heard of? If not, congratulations. Having an office within a few blocks of several major performance and sports venues, this happens to me several times a year. “What’s going on?” I wonder as I u-turn and seek escape. “Oh, no. This is the day of that big concert by a rock group I’ve never heard of before.”

Here’s some good news for those whose business requires them to be in a car for a portion of each day. Waze, a favorite travel app of users, is adding a program for the planners of major events to alert users of upcoming events and to communicate with attendees in real-time about road closures or alternative route suggestions on the day of the game, concert, festival, etc.

The feature will allow events coordinators to enter in their event, pick a date and time, then select the road closures and other things that might be impacted.

Right now, the launch partners are limited primarily to sports teams, including NFL and college football games. Soon they will include concerts by rock groups I’ve never heard of.

Also on User Favorites: Business Travel Apps

VIA | Waze
HT | Lifehacker


If Your Business Travel Plans Change, Here Are Your Options For Changing Airline Tickets Mon, 25 Apr 2016 22:45:10 +0000

The Department of Transportation’s website,, provides a resource it calls, Fly Rights, that includes a wide array of information about air travel in the U.S. 

If a business traveler’s plans change, what are the rules about changing airline tickets?

Federal rules require U.S. and international airlines with flights in the U.S. to do one of the following:

1 | Give travelers 24 hours to cancel a ticket purchased at least seven days before departure

 2 | Hold a reservation at the quoted fare for 24 hours, after which it disappears unless you confirm and pay.

Most major U.S. and international airlines go with the first option: They allow travelers to cancel a ticket booked directly through the airline, without penalty, within 24 hours of purchase.

Beyond that, there are no rules that require an airline to change your flight. However, all airlines want your business and will work with you in several ways. If you are a participant in a frequent flier program, the airline will be especially accommodating.

Note | Booking sites like Expedia and Priceline, do not have to comply with the federal rule, but most offer a similar window for canceling some kinds of tickets.


Discount fares typically are non-refundable

While many national and international airlines will refund your ticket up to seven days before your scheduled flight, most discount fares are non-refundable. They typically opt for option #2 above and will hold a reservation, without pay, for the first 24 hours. After you purchase your ticket, they may not refund your payment, but will allow you to apply your ticket’s value to another trip in the future — but there may be a steep fee.  Many fares also have a penalty for changing flights or dates even if you don’t want a refund. You may also have to pay any difference in air fares if your fare type is not available on the new flight.


Check Out This Amazing Free App for the Window Seat Business Traveler Tue, 12 Apr 2016 12:29:41 +0000 If you often travel by plane, you’ve probably looked out the window and wondered about what you were seeing. For example, before I had a GPS-enabled camera, I took this photo of mountains from an airplane window seat. All I know is that these mountains are somewhere between Portland and Denver.



With Flyover Country, a free app from the National Science Foundation, not only can you learn your geographic location, you can learn about geologic formations, fossil localities and an array of other data.

For example, the Flyover Country app accesses interactive geologic maps from, fossil localities from and, core sample localities from, Wikipedia articles, offline base maps, and the user’s current GPS determined location, altitude, speed, and heading.

Magic feature alert

It works even if you don’t have access to Wi-Fi. The app analyzes a given flight path and caches relevant map data and points of interest, and displays the data during the flight, with or without in-flight Wi-Fi. By downloading only the data relevant to a particular flightpath, cache sizes remain reasonable, allowing for a robust experience without an internet connection.

Flyover Country not just for flying

While its creators named it “Flyover Country,” the app’s usefulness is not limited to window seats on airplane. It works well for the terrestrial traveler, as well.

Available free for Android or iOS:

Android (Google Store)
iOS (iTunes Store)

A Sunday, 57 Days Before Your Trip, is the Best Time to Purchase Airline Tickets Fri, 24 Oct 2014 02:30:47 +0000 Like most business travellers, we are always looking for the best time to purchase airline tickets in order to get the lowest price possible. According to an analysis of 19 months of ticket purchases through July of this year, Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC), which processes tickets for travel agencies and handles about half of all tickets sold, says the best three days of the week to purchase round-trip tickets based on the day’s average cost of all roundtrip tickets purchased on each day are:

  1. Sunday (average cost of a roundtrip ticket $432)
  2. Saturday ($439)
  3. Tuesday ($497)

In a roundup of new data related to airline ticket fares, the Wall Street Journal, says the Sunday savings findings “is a departure from the conventional wisdom of recent years, when Tuesday was considered the best bet.”

Two reasons ticket prices are now lower on the weekend

  • Email and social media has given airlines the ability to get discounts in front of consumers at any time. Knowing that online weekend shoppers are less likely to be business travelers who typically fly on more expensive tickets, the airlines can use Saturday and Sunday to offer vacation travelers discounts and then raise prices during the week when business travel plans (translation: more expensive tickets) are made.
  • Airline executives come into work Monday looking to raise fares, not discount them with sales to fill seats, suggests the Journal.

Tuesday is still the best day of the workweek for lowest airfares

Yapta Inc., a firm that alerts travelers and travel managers to declines in ticket prices says 21% of the price drops it has recorded happened on Tuesday and 19% on Wednesday. According to airline pricing executives, the historic pattern has been for airlines to add up sales over the weekend and decide on Monday whether to stimulate purchases with discounts they promote on Tuesday.

Buy your tickets two months in advance of your departure

According to the ARC research, the cheapest time to buy domestic trips was 57 days—about two months—before departure. Most people don’t buy that early: The average purchase date was just over one month before departure. By then prices have started their climb.

However, international ticket prices didn’t fluctuate much between 10 months and three months before departure. But don’t kick yourself if you wait until that three-month window closes: Most people book too late to get the lowest price. International tickets get sold, on average, two months before departure.

Advice: Don’t spend as much time shopping for the best deal

According to Hopper, a Cambridge, Mass., firm that analyzes prices and reservation flight searches, the average consumer spends 12 days shopping for airline tickets. During that period, they watch prices bounce up and down, or at least hope they’ll drop, even though increases are more common. On average, prices rise 5% in that 12-day shopping window, Hopper said.

Tip: One way to get over your procrastination due to a fear that the ticket you buy will suddenly fall in price after you purchase it: The Department of Transportation requires that airlines provide passengers one of the two options below (but don’t look for the airlines or booking sites to mention either prominently). Either option provides as penalty-free way to cancel and rebook a flight if there’s a sudden fall in price right after you book your trip.:

  • A refund for tickets canceled within 24 hours of a purchase (Delta, United, US Airways and JetBlue provide this option.)
  • A 24-hour hold, for tickets bought more than a week before departure (American Airlines provides this option.)


(Illustration: from photo by Andrew Magill via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

12163 User Favorites: Business Travel Apps | 2014 Thu, 26 Jun 2014 21:55:25 +0000 Business travel can be a stress-ridden experience. In the air, on the road, or even in a hotel or restaurant, there’s an endless number of hassles out there. For those regularly trekking cross-country, here are some of the favorite Smartphone travel apps users have said they use to help cope with road woes.


TripIt keeps your entire trip organized from your smartphone—it stores and converts email confirmations (for flights, hotels, car rentals, appointments) into an itinerary that can be viewed in the app or on your Outlook and Google calendars. You can also share your travel plans on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, so it’s perfect for coordinating group trips. (iPhone | Android)

SeatAlert by ExpertFlyer

To avoid the elbowroom deficit that comes along with the middle seat, check SeatAlert for notifications when better seats are released by airlines. In the premium version, information is available on best fares and seats for booking and gate changes and wait times once you’re through security. (iPhone | Android)


Keeping up with costs for reimbursement is always a burden. Expensify allows you to save receipts using a SmartScan feature, in addition to tracking your time, mileage, and other travel expenses. Expense reports can be emailed or exported as PDFs at the end of your trip. (iPhone | Android)


Our top pick for cloud-based file sharing, Dropbox allows you to easily access, store, transfer, and share files. Perfect for on the go, when an external hard drive would bog you down. (iPhone | Android)

WiFi Finder

This app scans for Wi-Fi hotspots around you and lets you search for free public Wi-Fi, something that’s essential when you’re on the road and need Wi-Fi fast. (iPhone | Android)


Instead of relying on taxis when traveling, download Uber before taking off on your next business trip. The service is available in over 100 cities and over 30 countries, so your chances of finding a ride once you touch down are good. Here’s how it works: request a ride using the app, use the app to watch as your driver arrives, get in, then pay through your smartphone (no need for cash!) once you arrive at your destination.  (iPhone | Android)


Kayak advertises itself as “a travel search engine,” so downloading the app will give you access to the lowest prices on car rentals, hotel rooms, and airfares. The app also features a flight tracker and itinerary management, making it easy to keep the details of your trip all in one place. (iPhone | Android)


TripAdvisor is unique in that it compiles over 150 million user reviews for hotels, restaurants, and activities in cities around the world. Also included are booking options for hotels, flights and restaurants, so once you find the perfect destination, making a reservation is easy. Use the “Near Me Now” feature to find local attractions by using your current location on your smartphone–it’s a great way to find a quick bite or a way to spend a free hour in a new city. (iPhone | Android)


Whether you’re renting a car or just leaving your car at the airport, this app will help you keep track of where you left your car. For an airport garage, the app offers features like storing the garage level and spot number, and for city parking, the app tracks the time left before your meter expires. Just click the app when you’re leaving your car and your car’s location will be stored. The free version of the app, TakeMeToMyCar, is also useful, though it only saves your car’s location. For the deluxe version, you’ll have to shell out $.99. (iPhone | Android)


If you’re planning on traveling to an area where cell phone service is questionable, PocketEarth serves as an apt replacement to the more commonplace Maps. With worldwide maps and guides, PocketEarth provides GPS services for whatever area or region you download, all with no data charges. The app also offers links to entertainment near your current location, like restaurants, shopping, transportation and sightseeing. (iPhone only)


mPassport allows you to find top-notch medical care wherever your business takes you–even overseas. The app locates doctors, dentists, mental health providers, and clinics, then helps you request an appointment. The app also has translating services: it takes medical terms and translates them into your chosen language, and it will even pronounce them so that you’re sure to communicate clearly with your healthcare provider. Even if you’re just looking to refill a prescription, mPassport will match your medications to current brand names and will tell you where you can find the medicine you need. (iPhone | Android)


A community driven GPS service, Waze offers a plethora of services to its users. In addition to providing directions, Waze boasts real time traffic information, where to find cheapest gas prices, the ability to synch with friends driving to the same location, and automatic rerouting as road conditions change during your trip. It’s perfect for a trip, where you may not be familiar with the local traffic patterns. (Note: Waze won’t allow you to share information if the car is moving, unless you indicate a passenger is using it. We like you alive, so we encourage you to follow those guidelines, also.)  (iPhone | Android)

Google Translate

Google Translate is necessary for any overseas travel you have in store–with the ability to translate into over 80 languages, communication will be easy regardless of your language skills. It translates speech and handwriting directly, and you can also star your favorite and most used phrases so that you’ll have access to them even when offline. (iPhone | Android)

(Featured Images: App Store)

FAA Makes Small Business Travelers (And Alec Baldwin) Happy Thu, 31 Oct 2013 16:32:07 +0000 The Federal Aviation Administration, after years of study and debate, has decided to allow airlines to let their passengers use electronic devices (things with an on/off switch) during the entire flight (including take-off and landing), except for talking on mobile phones. However, there’s one little hurdle before you can keep the power on: The airlines have to prove their aircraft can tolerate the interference.

Quote via CNN:

Airplane travelers will soon be able to watch videos and play games with their electronic devices throughout their entire flight — and not just above a certain altitude. Passengers can use portable electronic devices such as tablets, laptop computers, e-readers and cell phones in airplane mode throughout the flight — with some circumstantial restrictions.  A ban on using cell phones for voice communication remains in effect. The FAA had long claimed that using electronic devices during takeoff posed a safety issues because radio signals emitted from the devices could interfere with an aircraft’s communications, navigation and other systems. Before an airline switches to the relaxed rules, airlines will have to prove to the FAA that their aircraft can tolerate the interference.

See Full Story: “FAA Allowing Most Electronic Device Use Throughout Flights.”(

(Photo illustration: @smallbusiness)