I travel a lot for business and it ain’t pretty. In an attempt to soften the financial burden and hassle factor of business travel, I look for ways to cut costs and make it less stressful—vacation-like, almost.
Whenever the road comes calling, I work over these five tools and services pretty thoroughly. Do yourself a favor the next time you have to travel.
Kayak is where I start when I need to book a flight. I simply put my dates and times into the search and the site returns options based on variables like the number of stops and the price. (I’m a bit of a Southwest Airlines fan, but it doesn’t do New York or Toronto very well.)
Kayak also lets me see where I might get the best price. It shows what the airlines are offering, as well as other discount travel sites like Travelocity and Expedia. (I rarely opt to save $10 with one of those sites because the hassle factor is too high if something goes awry.)
Because of AirBnB, I may never stay in a hotel again. This service makes it possible for people to list their spare room, empty apartment or entire house for rent. I’ve had nothing but good experiences renting one-room studios in downtown Austin and fully appointed one-bedroom apartments in Times Square.
The savings have been significant: I’ve rented gorgeous, three-bedroom lakeside homes for $200/night. I also just love having a kitchen and feeling like a resident rather than tourist. I’ve met some very cool locals this way.
Vacation Rental by Owner is another way to find homes and apartments for rent. It leans toward the vacation condo and lodge, but if your business travel takes you to a city like San Diego, San Francisco, Miami or Seattle, why not stay in a beach cottage?
This app is such a lifesaver when I travel. It allows me to forward all of my air, car, hotel and meeting confirmations by e-mail. TripIt assembles the entire mess into a tidy itinerary, complete with confirmation numbers, maps, directions, contact details and flight-status notifications.
I like to find the best local food when I’m on the go, but Foodspotting is a little different than Local Eats or VegOut apps. People submit and review individual dishes on Foodspotting, rather than entire restaurants. So, if you’re on the hunt for the best ribs in town you can find them much faster.
I happen to be a vegetarian and this app helps me find veg meals in towns like Dallas, where a salad is something to feed a cow.
What tools have you found to make business travel more affordable and enjoyable?
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine. He founded the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
Photo credit: flickr/oddharmonic