Tools and Tips to make Traveling Easier

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I’m typing this from LAX and I began to ponder just how easy this morning has been. That is saying a lot since I’ve become a weary traveler these past few years and just get so frustrated with the overall experience.

But, I’ve found a few simple ways to alleviate all the stress and hassle of travel — at least the part that we can control.

Here’s how I have done it.

Hired a Virtual Executive Assistant

She books all of my travel, hotels, car rentals and manages my receipts from the trips — all of the small, mind-bending, emotional draining details. It takes awhile to get the systems and process in place, but it’s worth it.

Signed up for TSAPregood-job-check-mark

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I walked into LAX this morning and it was a MAD HOUSE — lines out the door, pure chaos. What did I do? I turned left, went up the stairs, and walked through security in under five minutes. TSAPre makes life so much easier. You can also avoid big custom/immigration lines when you travel internationally.

Fly One Airline and Achieve Status

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I fly American Airlines. I have a love/hate relationship with them. But, I will be Platinum soon (currently I’m Gold)  and travel is a lot easier when you have status. Some key benefits:

  • I never worry about seats, as I choose my own online. I get access to preferred seats.
  • I use their mobile app for boarding passes, therefore I never have to print my tickets.
  • I get two free checked bags – no more bag fees.
  • I have priority access, so I get to board first. I never have to worry about overhead luggage space.

I fly American Airlines 98% of the time. If you fly often, I would encourage you to pick an airline and try to achieve status.

Joined the American Airlines Admirals Club

Admiral Club

One of my friends and a Help One Now advisor kept encouraging me to join the Admirals Club. I balked due to its expense. So when they offered me a nice discount, I said yes! IT IS AMAZING. Again, LAX was a madhouse today, but what did I do? I went inside the Admirals Club, got some coffee, relaxed, connected with my staff online and got a lot of work done.

Book One Rental Car Agency

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I use National and I love it. Because I’m an Emerald Club member (its free),  when I arrive to pick up my car, I don’t go through any lines. I just go directly to a car that I choose (no extra costs) and I drive away. It takes me 5 minutes – that’s it.

Apps I Use

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Tripit keeps me organized; my entire travel is all in one place. Flights, hotels, rental cars, directions, etc. I love being “paperless” and tripit is how I do that.

 

logo-Expensify

So, I’m a disaster when it comes to receipts. When I travel I’m on the go, usually from 5AM to 10-11PM and I’m rushing to make appointments. So, I started using Expensify to keep up with my travel.

Every time I purchase something, I take a picture. Then, when I have time, I enter in the key data. I had an LA report for all expenses so I can keep track. My assistant can then take that info and make sure our bookkeeper has all the important information.

And I can also process how much the trip cost, which is important as we try to control costs as an organization and understand how effective each trip was.

 

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When I’m in the airport, if I need to find a coffee shop, or a good place to get a bite to eat, I usually look at Gate Guru (or Foursquare) and locate my best options. It’s quick and seamless.

 

Seat Guru

When I do international travel, I check out Seat Guru to ensure I’m choosing the best possible seats. I want to be as close to the front as possible, away from any bathrooms as I don’t want my seat to be crowded with folks waiting in line and I don’t want to deal with any obstacles under my seat, which creates less foot room. I always choose aisle. I I can stretch my legs and have quick access to the bathrooms and I don’t feel as trapped. Some folks love the window, especially if you like to sleep.

Hopefully these tips and tools will be helpful and make traveling a little easier for you.  And feel free to share some tips and tools that you’ve learned as a road warrior.

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About The Author

I’m the Founder/CEO of Help One Now. I live in downtown Raleigh with my family. I’m a justice advocate, who loves empowering leaders (and tribes) to launch movements for doing good.

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