Travel Required: Over 50%

I’m back on the road again, but this time it’s for work. The Marriott has become my second home and I laugh as I type that because I am staying in one right now. I shamelessly hit the top tier of Marriot Rewards and the top tier of IHG Rewards Club…in the same year. In 2016, I spent almost six months living in hotels in three different states.

Before I accepted my job I read the fine print that said “Travel Required: Over 50%” Hmm…what in the world does that mean? That statement was true considering the fact I spent most of my time assigned to Fort Lee travelling.

Looking back at where I was almost a year ago with my first work trip, I realized I’ve learned a lot about constantly being on the go.

Here are some tips I picked up:

-REWARDS: Sign up for the hotel, car rental, and airliner rewards. I try to use the same hotel brand every time I travel so I can rack up points for future vacations. My personal favorites are Marriott Rewards for hotels, Hertz Gold for car rentals, and United for airliners. These are my top choices from personal experience. Don’t be afraid to spend more for quality! When a friend and I stayed in a hotel in Manhattan, we were thoroughly impressed by how they treated us since I was the highest level in Marriott Rewards.

-RECON: When you find out what city you will be travelling to, find accommodations close to your workplace and find out where the safe areas are. Not every work trip is ideal and I’ve heard horror stories from friends. Check hotel ratings and research the crime in the area so you know what places to avoid. Trip Adviser has great hotel reviews.

-REST: If you are driving, plan all your gas/food/rest area stops ahead of time. When you get there make sure they are in well-lit places. This is crucial when you are travelling and it starts to get dark out. In the event you don’t feel safe, don’t stop and keep driving until you find a better location.

-PACKING: One of my favorite apps is called PackPoint. I am the type of person who needs lists for everything. In PackPoint, you set your location and it will make you a list according to the weather and what activities you chose. It will show you quantities and you can click on them as you pack them. I have not gone on a trip without using this app. I am also a fan of @AskTSA on Twitter. They will answer your questions about what you can and cannot carry on an airplane.

-FINANCE: Call your bank and let them know you will be out of town for a certain period of time. My bank has a very effective anti-theft system…that actually worked against me when I was out of town. They called me to verify that I spent “x” amount of dollars at “x.” If you travel out of the country, try to get a debit card that does not charge you any international fees or one that reimburses you after a certain period of time

-INSURANCE: This is a debated topic. Buy the travel insurance or not? I was stranded in Toronto one summer and the airliner did not refund my ticket even though it was weather related. Read up on your travel agreement, most airliners will not provide a hotel or pay you back if it is not mechanical failure. From that point on, I always bought the travel insurance. It will also insure your baggage if it is lost (another thing that happened to me recently too!)

-ARRIVAL: Drive to your workplace the day before you get there so you won’t be stressed about directions and how to get there the day of. If there is no exact address (especially if you work in my field of work), drop a pin in your location and your phone will give you directions. Another one of my favorite apps is ArriveNow. You set the address and it will give you a countdown to show you how much time you have to get ready to get to your destination on time. This is so helpful when you’re not sure about the directions. It also adjusts to weather and road conditions.

-LOCALS: You can go on Yelp all you want, but your best resources are the locals. Ask your co-workers or friends who have travelled or lived in the place you at about where to go. The locals always know where the best “mom and pop” shops are and all the hidden gems. This was one of my favorite things to do while travelling.

Last but not least, LOAD THAT EZ PASS! If you frequently travel in the Northeast…don’t forget to auto reload your EZ pass. Don’t be like me and pay an $11 ticket for a $1 toll I drove through because I thought my pass had money on it.

What are your travel tips? Let me know!

-KC

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