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Mastering the Art of Business Travel
-May, 2011

 

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With new Department of Transportation regulations released recently, travelers may find some relief for countless hours (or days) stranded in airports. New Department of Transportation rules provide some much-needed compensation for travelers stranded or delayed in American airports. In the hopes of reducing high profile incidents, the fines will also be extended to those flying on international flights, too. Beyond compensation, business travelers share a few tricks of their own when it comes to traveling in comfort and style.

A side note on the DOT regulations:

The rules require increased compensation paid to passengers who have been forced to give up a seat on overbooked flights. Passengers able to be rebooked to their destination within two hours of their originally scheduled flight time, or four hours for an international flight, will receive two times the price of their travel ticket up to $650. For delays exceeding two hours for domestic and four hours for international flights, passengers could receive four times the value of their tickets, up to $1,300 (previously twice the rate up to $800).
Airlines will also be required to prominently post additional fees as well as reimbursing passengers for any baggage fees in the event their luggage is lost.

Finally, the rules also expand the ban on the length of time an airline can force passengers to sit on the tarmac without taking-off. Now there is a four-hour limit on tarmac delays for domestic and international flights unless there are safety, security or air traffic issues beyond the control of the airline.

Now that you’re able to recover some of your business losses (at least a little) if your flight is delayed or overbooked, what about other ways small businesses can save when travel is part of growing the company?

Travel insurance, don’t leave home without it.

This may seem like a frivolous expense, but for those entrepreneurs who travel extensively either domestically or overseas, travel insurance can be a life saver, literally. Take the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan where thousands of American travelers struggled to find safety and a quick way out of the danger zones. If you were one of those unfortunate travelers, who would you call to arrange travel, accommodations and even medical care if necessary?

Travel Guard is one of many travel insurance companies available to assist with not only travel crises, but also the smaller mishaps and events that can happen when traveling. When sudden illness strikes while traveling in Costa Rica, Travel Guard can quickly arrange for an English-speaking physician. Lose your luggage between LAX and Heathrow? Travel Guard will assist in finding your luggage and even arranging for emergency cash and a replacement passport if necessary. If you book your travel through American Express, travel insurance is included. American Express Concierge also offers assistance with everything from restaurant suggestions to flight changes.

Instant Itinerary

Centralize your travel with one convenient application. Simply forward all travel confirmations to Tripit.com and the entire itinerary will be uploaded to your smartphone. By forwarding confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com, the free service automatically builds your travel itinerary on your laptop or mobile device. Upgrade to TripIt Pro for $49 per year and you’ll be notified of any travel changes, delays, or cancellations as soon as they happen. Need a new hotel or a different flight? TripIt Pro acts as a personal travel planner and shows you the best options for your destination.

Discount Travel

Are you leary about booking travel through online travel discounters? Use PriceLine or HotWire’s online services and you’ll not only save a bundle but you may find higher-level accommodations for a fraction of the cost. Benjamin Christie, founder and managing director of Gourmet Ads travels extensively from Sydney Australia to San Francisco and says sites like Priceline and Hotwire have not only saved his travel budget, but found him some great travel surprises. “I stayed in the W Hotel in Manhattan and only paid $130 for the room. The rack rate was $499!” says Christie.

Travel lounges and Clubs – Not just for the travel elite.

For long overseas flights, more important than snoring your way across the Pacific, is a hot shower in between flights. Taking advantage of your airline’s travel lounge is a must. If you’re new to distance traveling and don’t have club membership, many airlines offer one-day admission club passes that will cover all legs of your travel. Now, you can travel in style and with concierge service and a hot shower, you’ll arrive at your destination well rested, relaxed and ready to tackle your greatest business opportunities.

Scan those receipts and organize on the fly.

Author Kelly Merritt has traveled the world gathering materials for her travel books and often returns home with several hundred receipts. Aside from her laptop, Merritt never leaves home without her NeatReceipts scanner, which at one-pound is stored in her computer bag.

“One of the issues I have with culinary travel writing is the mountain of receipts I have to maintain for each trip, because on some trips I might visit four or five restaurants a day,” said Merritt.

Any accountant will tell you that receipts are the key to taking all of those business travel deductions. You can make year-end accounting a breeze by tracking all of your data in one easy-to-locate file.
Clear security – quickly – in limited airports.

Saved from bankruptcy court, Registered Traveler Service was purchased and renamed CLEAR in 2010. Now travelers can sign-up for a Clear Security Pass for an initial enrollment rate of $128 for one year and sail through airport security faster and without standing in long lines. The card is effective in only two test airports at Orlando (MCO) and Denver (DEN) but has plans to expand into additional facilities. How does it work? Cardholders enter a special bypass security lane, hand the CLEARcard and the matching boarding pass to the TSA agent, and provide biometrics via an iris or fingerprint scan. The ideology behind CLEARcard is that the lines will be considerably shorter (at least until the company’s membership increases) thereby reducing wait times. For busy terminals, a CLEARcard can make all the difference between catching a flight and having to rebook and risk missing a critical meeting.

Every business owner knows that administrative time and lost time traveling can add up quickly to lost revenue.

For these and more travel tips that can save your business money and time, talk with a Fiducial Advisor by calling 866-FIDUCIAL or visit the web site at www.Fiducial.com.