Kathleen Ameche: Hi! I am Kathy Ameche. I am the Author of 'The Woman Road Warrior'; a woman's guide to business travel. I am discussing how you can get the most of your business travel with the least stress.
Now, I am going to talk about the importance of having a plan A, and a plan B. One of my favorite quotes when thinking about travel is from John Steinbeck, "A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.
" And since you don't control it, you need a basic plan, plan A and some alternatives, or ways to find alternatives when things don't work, plan B.
The first thing to think about when developing a plan is knowing what you want, what you can get and who can get it for you. For example, are you bound to use your companies travel agent or are you more comfortable with your own? Maybe you are someone who likes to use the major travel websites or are loyal to a particular airline. Then decide what kind of traveller you are and what your comfort zone is? Will you use travel agents, corporate travel departments, clubs and benefits or online resources? Do you have family at home and will avoid staying out over night at all costs. Or maybe you are other type of traveller who likes to arrive at your destination at night before your meetings, so you can get a good night sleep and be completely refreshed before your day begins. To do this, you need to adapt a travelers mindset. Life used to be, I am going from Detroit to New York, go online, talk to your travel agent or the airline, figure out a hotel and car and that was it. There was more stress in figuring out how to limit the amount of shoes one packed. Now the rules have changed and since we don't have unlimited funds and the money may now be coming out of your pocket, travel planning is fraught with issues. So, here are the key questions to ask you before you start. The obvious one is how long you'll be gone? Now break it down further, what is important to you, convenience, money, flexibility or creature comforts. From that, you build your initial plan, plan A. Things inevitably go wrong and you need to be prepared with a plan B. The key is not to focus on the road blocks but rather in finding the path through them and it's all in the execution. For example, many travellers I know when travelling within the US, try and take the first flight out of the day. Why? Because nine times out of ten the plane will start it's day from your home airport, if there is bad weather, it gets worse throughout the day and delays start to add up. You have a lot more flexibility and options the earlier you start.
We are going to mention a few times that it's important to start looking for alternatives at the first sign of trouble. Make sure you have got all the relevant numbers on your speed dial, the airlines, travel agent, hotels, and car rentals. A safety tip, I can't tell you how many times I have seen a traveller forgot to make a reservation and is trying to take care of business and gives their credit card number out over a cell phone. This is a huge security risk and you are compromising your identity and safety. You never know who is listening and recording your information. No matter how desperate you are, don't give your credit card number out over a cell phone. Call someone that has the information for you and ask them to make the phone call. So, that is why it is always important to have a plan ready. Up next, I am going to talk about how to survive the airport when travelling on business.