5 personal travel cheats I learned from years of business travel

I’ve been increasing my travel lately with my current job, and I’ve also gone on plenty of business trips in my career. So I figured now is a good time to share some tips. Unfortunately, I don’t go often enough to be Platinum, Gold Star, Elite, Executive, Preferred status on either an airline, hotel, or rental car company. I’m stuck in purgatory, like most of us, where I go enough to warrant a frequent flier card but not enough to benefit from all the amazing perks. Despite the company paying for all the expenses, I still try to pick up on any opportunities to save some dough for when we travel personally.

5 Personal Travel Cheats

  1. Call the airline for quicker reservations – As soon as you hear that your flight is cancelled and you need to book a new flight, don’t panic and fight people to get to the nearest Customer Service counter in the terminal. You’ll end up being number 120 in a long line of travelers doing the same thing. Call your airline’s toll free number and speak with the reservation specialist immediately (while you wait in line, just in case) and explain your dilemma, and they will hook you up faster than the rude counter agents and you’ll have a better chance of getting on the next best flight out. People will have a befuddled look when they see you as you walk away from the line with a smile on your face.
  2. Check your bag from Zone 5 – This tip is for longer haul flights where you’ve most likely already checked in a bag or don’t want to manage a huge carry-on during a 1 or 2 leg trip. But nowadays, most airlines are charging for even the 1st checked bag! As a result, more people are bringing carry-ons and filling up the overhead compartments faster. When everyone is boarding, there’s usually an announcement asking for volunteers to check in their baggage because they know the last Zone will have to anyways. If you’re not in Zone 5, feel free to volunteer and get rid of your huge carry-on filled with stuff that you don’t need during the flight(s). To some it might be a hassle if that’s the only luggage they’re carrying but save your $25 fee for wine and margaritas at the airport.
  3. Water from the gym – Many times we come back to the hotel after a long day of fun and don’t want to find the nearest grocery store. Don’t buy that $5 bottle of water in the lobby! If you have a container, go to the hotel fitness room and fill ‘er up from the bottled water dispenser that the workout junkies use. All it takes is your room key and no extra dime.
  4. Hotel toiletries – If you ask the front desk at most hotels, they can give you all kinds of cool stuff. I’ve gotten things (which I’ve previously forgot to bring) such as razors, shaving cream, cell phone charger, board games, combs, etc. Nowadays, I don’t waste my time checking in my bag just so I can pack shaving cream since I know I can get some temporary ones for free at the hotel.
  5. Rental car rates – Big companies get big discounts for rental cars. If your company has a preferred rental car company they use, there’s going to be a corporate discount code. All I can say, is try to utilize the corporate discount but make sure you pay with your personal credit card. You are able to reserve with one card, but make sure you go to the counter and say you’re paying with your personal one. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Reducing our expenses, even on vacation, will help us save and not spend more. I know I’m missing a number of great cheats, so what else can we do to save money on travel aside from traditional fare searches on tickets and hotels?

Is this freaking real life?! Thousand foot view of #Capetown. #MBAimmersion

A post shared by Bernadette Joy Cruz Maulion (@bernadettejoycm) on


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