It's never to late to pick up some new tricks to streamline your business travel. Here are five of our favourites.
Ditch hotel Internet for 3G mobile broadband
Most Australian hotels charge upwards of $20 per day for in-room Internet access. Stay for just three nights per month and you may as well sign up to a 3G or 4G wireless broadband, using either a pre-paid or monthly account.
The costs work out about the same as a few nights of in-room Internet.
For example, less than $60 gets you a prepaid ‘Starter Kit’ containing a USB modem and upwards of 3GB of data for the first month.
More flexible WiFi modems, which turn the 3G or 4G signal into a personal hotspot which several devices can access, may set you back only $20 more.
The biggest advantage of choosing mobile broadband against hotel Internet, of course, is that you can use the mobile broadband service anywhere and anytime you want, instead of just a few hours a night in the hotel.
Don’t pack it, send it!
Many years ago I was working on a publicity campaign which involved presentations and briefing kits for clients in a dozen large cities around Australia.
I quickly learned that packing the kits for each presentation and carting them along on my flight was madness (and this was in the days before airlines started to clamp down on baggage weight).
The smartest way to handle ‘leave behind’ materials which will be staying with your clients is to have them sent directly to to your hotel via a parcel post or courier service instead of lugging them through the airport and onto your flight.
The same can apply to product samples and pretty much anything else which is bulky and simply doesn’t need to travel with you. Send it from your office (or the supplier’s warehouse) straight to your hotel and you’ll travel lighter and faster.
Save time and shoe leather
If you've got to visit a lot of clients and prospective customers on your next trip, but don’t have to meet them on site, choose a hotel in the middle of the CBD and inviting them to come to you instead.
Yes, that hotel will probably cost more than one nestled on the edge of town – but you'll more than make up the difference by squeezing several extra meetings into time you save running around town.
Staying on an executive or club floor will also provide access to a lounge, where you can meet in a good and relatively private business environment, with meeting rooms available if you need to run a presentation or do a show-and-tell on your products.
The lounge also gives you a welcome alternative to sitting in your room during the evening email session.
You don’t need to bring along a handful of overseas AC adaptor plugs for your laptop, tablet, smartphone and so on.
Just get the one convertor for the country you’ll be visiting, and partner this with an Aussie double adaptor – or, if you've got a lot of gear to charge up, a simply four-way powerboard.
Order your foreign currency online
Forget about banks, money exchange offices and even credit unions. Pretty much the best rates you can get for any overseas currency is through Travelex.com.au, which lets you order online and collect the money at any Travelex agent.
But that’s not the only reason to add them to your pre-flight checklist.
There are no fees or commission if you pay for your currency order using Bpay instead of a credit card – just remember to place your order a week in advance, as Bpay processing takes an extra two days over credit card.
Our top tip? Collect your currency order from the Travelex desk at the international airport on your day of departure. That’s one less bit of running around you need to do before you fly.
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