Travel Tips for Sales People who Travel

I left Ottawa this morning for a 4 day trip to Banff. Flights were on time, security was speedy, service was excellent, and roads were empty for the drive. Except for one exit missed on the highway you could say the travel gods were smiling on me today.

But I know ALL TOO WELL that this is not always the case. Missed flights, others being checked in as me, secondary screening at customs, car searches, delayed flights, lost passports, shuttle buses not running, hotel rooms overbooked, (or double booked – nothing like walking into a hotel room and noticing an airline pilot asleep in the bed!) food poisoning, fire alarms, taxis on strike. I’ve seen close to every travel disaster imaginable. And, to be fair some travel nightmares are unavoidable, some are not, and some quite frankly are our own darn fault.

Many professional sales people are also professional travellers. In an effort to make your  travel more pleasurable I thought we could share best practices. I don’t pretend to be the expert in everything travel but I do have enough miles under my belt to have some good tips. And I would love it if you could share your tips for our sales community as well.  

The team at Engage will be voting for the best tips and the top 2 will receive an autographed copy of Honesty Sells – so contribute  early and contribute often!

1. For Canadians and American crossing the boarder. Get a NEXUS pass. This will dramatically speed up your boarder crossings and at many airports you get in the VIP (IE Fast track) security screening line even on domestic flights

2. Check in online.

3. Air Canada flights on Embraer planes have power outlets in economy and business class. In fact many of their new planes have power. So pack your power cord to get the most work done!

4. Keep all the electronics you need to pack in a clear zip lock bag. This way it makes it easy to see if you have everything you need every time you pack

5. Travel with an extra cell battery.

6. Know what’s in your car before you drive across the boarder!

7. Sit in row 13. Many people don’t like that row and you are more likely to have an empty seat next to you than any other row on the plane

8. Many airlines offer a cheap upgrade to business class when you check-in on line or at a kiosk. Take advantage of it on flights over 3 hours to make sure you can get work done, sleep, and arrive well rested.

9. Have all your major airline’s aps downloaded to your smart phone….just in case.

10. Always have the phone number of the hotel handy…..just in case.

11. Travel with food! I take some combination of protein powder, meal replacement bars, nuts, dried fruit, or fresh fruit depending on the locations and the length of the trip.

12. In cities you don’t know, take a limo from the airport rather than a cab. Smoother ride, friendlier helpful drivers and you can usually arrange for them to take you back to the airport risk free (IE they will show up!) when you need to go home.

13. If you are counting on a good night sleep and are a light sleeper – take ear plugs!

14. If you travel by car, load up on audio books or educational CD’s

15. If you don’t have one – get a passport! I am amazed at how many domestic travellers don’t have proper ID when they fly. And of course if there is one problem flier in line you will be likely the one stuck behind them!

16. Wear travel friendly clothes to speed through security- no belts, flat shoes, little jewelry

17. Use Tripit Pro to manage your full itinerary and maps

18. Frequent as few airlines and hotels as possible to ensure you can earn the highest status with one company. This will dramatically increase your chances of getting the seats / rooms you need when all hell brakes loose on a bad travel day (IE weather in Chicago ACK!!)

19.  Always travel with hard copy and electronic copies of your itinerary. If data can get lost, it will get lost

20. Use a travel portfolio that ZIPS UP

21. Paying extra for baggage can often be cheaper than shipping your materials in advance. Make sure you know your baggage allowances

22. Never fly to your meeting on the last flight before you need to be at the meeting. I always travel the night before. If the client won’t pay the extra night in a hotel, I will. The $200 is worth it for the peace -of- mind that I am on site and rested for the next day.

23. Even if the direct flight is more expensive….it’s worth it! – Especially if you need to check luggage

24. As the day goes on, flight delays are bound to happen. If you want an on time flight,  best to fly direct and early in the morning. Never fly in the afternoon out of any of the NYC airports. They are delayed 90% of the time

25. If available in your area, take the train during the bad weather season (Snow and Thunder). Upgrade to first class and relax while you can work, sleep and get to your destination on time. Trains run (and almost always on time) regardless of the weather

Can’t wait to hear your ideas!



18 responses to “Travel Tips for Sales People who Travel

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  5. Awesome list Colleen! I never thought about #7.

    Here are a few more ideas and suggestions:

    1. Invest in noise-cancelling headphones. They make flying soooo much more tolerable.
    2. Invest in your regular airlines lounge; it’s a great place to relax before, or in-between flights.
    3. If possible use only carry-on luggage to reduce waiting time at the destination airport.
    4. When travelling to a city you have never been to, invest in a GPS for your car rental. They’re more accurate and easier to use than Google maps.
    5. Try to book enough time from your last meeting to your return flight so you don’t have to RUSH to the airport. Reduce your stress!
    6. If you’re flying from or through Atlanta, be prepared for delays. Flights are ALWAYS delayed there!


  6. Great list Kelley – I always leave 3 hours (unless Flying Porter from Downtown Toronto) between the end of my meeting and my flight. 2 hours to get to the airport and 1 hour at the airport!

    Thanks for sharing!


  7. If you fly often then invest in duplicates like toothbrush, makeup, and anything you normally have to pack besides clothing. This saves a ton of time packing for each trip

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