Monday, 30 November 2015

Tips for Frustration-Free Work Travel

Over the course of the last year I have been traveling more regularly for jobs all over the country. This has been an awesome experience and I’ve discovered a love for traveling I’d only dreamed about, but there was a bit of a learning curve in the beginning. I’m writing this to help you avoid a few of the mistakes I made when I started traveling professionally.

Don’t assume you can get a rental car. 

There may be hundreds of rental cars at most airports but that doesn’t always mean you can get one without a reservation. If, however, you forgot to make a reservation or decide you need a car after all, there’s still hope. You can log on to expedia.com or another travel booking site and reuqest a reservation through that site. Even if an agency does not have cars available for walk ups chances are they may have a few reserved for online booking. This tip has saved me on a few occasions when I unexpectedly needed a car for a few days.

Book your flight strategically. 

It’s usually cheaper to fly in the middle of the week and during off times, like early in the morning or late in the evening. Sometimes you can’t make this happen but when possible it may save you a few hundred dollars. In some instances, it may even be much cheaper to fly in several hours before and work from the hotel or a coffee shop. This can also give you valuable time to scout or prepare for a shoot.

Forget something at home? 

You’re probably aware that most hotels provide complimentary toiletries since they advertise this in the rooms. You’d be amazed though at the amount of things people leave behind in hotel rooms, particularly chargers. If you left your charger, an ethernet or usb cord, or anything else mission critical, be sure to check with the front desk. Most hotels want to do everything in their power to help you since you’re more likely to be a returning customer with good service. Of course you can’t find everything this way, but it never hurts to ask.

Earn some points. 

Almost every company associated with travel has some sort of reward program. While these won’t necessarily pay for your yearly holiday trip, you may be able to acquire quite a few points if you’re traveling at least once a month. The points can be used to get everything from flights to hotels, for free. Almost all of these programs are free and only stand to benefit you if you’re traveling enough.

Airports are very, very boring. 

I’d say a solid 90% of the time between home and your destination is spent waiting. You wait in the security line, at the gate, on the plane, and sometimes at baggage. Let me tell you, the shine and wonder of travel wears off real quick when you realize you’ve got five hours of nothingness ahead of you. I try to always make sure I’ve got a new album to listen to, several podcasts or audio books downloaded to my phone (remember there’s no data once you’re in the air), and a hard copy of something to read in case I need to preserve phone battery. There are also tons of fun game apps that will keep you entertained for hours, though they’re usually pretty tough on your battery life.

Prepare for hot and cold weather. 

I had an interesting and unexpected experience a few weeks ago when I flew into El Paso on a beautiful, 80 degree day with sunshine and no clouds. The next morning however the temperatures were sub 40 degrees. With only a light jacket on hand, I found myself pretty cold that day, so in the future I’m always going to have a jacket and a long sleeve shirt, just in case.

Ask for a wakeup call. 

This may seem like a sort of antiquated method to wake up when all of our phones have alarm clocks built in, but this is a completely free and awesome service most hotels offer that can save your skin. I once plugged my phone in before bed after a long day and didn’t notice that the outlet I’d selected wasn’t working. Luckily I had requested a wake up call because my phone had died sometime in the night. Even if it feels silly you never know, it could keep you from having to explain to a client why you’re late.

Skip the fast food and try local favorites. 

This is one of the biggest ones for me and has provided with me with some of the most enjoyable meals I’ve ever had. It’s easy to hit something familiar like fast food or chain restaurants when traveling, but the rewards of trying a local place can be massive. I personally like to use Yelp but if that’s not your flavor there are tons of other great review sites out there like Urbanspoon or Zomato, to name a few. Google usually has reviews as well that can give you a good idea of what people like.

I know for some of you seasoned pros this may seem like basic knowledge, but it’s all stuff that I wish had been passed on to me earlier on. Traveling can be such an amazing experience when it goes smoothly, but when things start to go wrong it can be a frustrating nightmare. It’s impossible to avoid every potential problem but with some solid planning you can make your travel effortless and worry free.

So tell us, what are some of your travel tips? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below or tweet @Swagger_Media! And if you’re interested in making a video and need some help, our team is here to assist you. Give us a call at 832-831-7592!


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