At Prophet, we pride ourselves on being multi-disciplinary experts who not only help our clients achieve uncommon growth through transformation but also excel at making each other laugh, captivating lunch conversations, thoughtful blogging and punny “reply all” emails, among other things. And as a bi-product of our work and the clients we serve, another category of “expertise” emerges: business travel. In 2019 alone, Propheteers traveled a collective 8,374,471 miles by air, with 336 trips around the world across 45 different countries. And if our 398 red-eye flights have taught us one thing, it’s that travel is hard. But with a little advice and tricks we’ve picked up along the way, your next journey might get a little bit easier.
Here’s our road warriors’ best advice entering the holiday travel season:
1. Sign up for the travel programs and credit cards to expedite and enhance your airport experience.
“Sign up for Clear (or Global Entry or PSA Pre-Check) It saves so much time and you can get set up in 5 minutes in the Delta Sky Club.” -Dhruva Ganesan, Associate Partner in New York
“Having the right credit cards can make travel so much easier, and in a lot of cases, can get you the same benefits as low level elite status (like Delta Silver Medallion, United Premier Silver, or American Airlines AAdvantage Gold). Priority boarding and waved fees for checked bags come with the Gold and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Amex credit cards, for example, and the United Mileage Plus Club Card offers access to United Clubs across the country. Beyond co-branded credit cards, cards like the The Platinum Card from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and the Citi Prestige Card offer access to Priority Pass lounges for you and a guest. That means free food and drinks at airports worldwide!” -Avi Colonomos, Associate, New York
“Consolidate as much of your travel on one airline and with one hotel company as you can. If you must travel for work, the benefits of elite status will pay off later for your personal travel!” -Julie Purser, Partner, Hong Kong
2. Prepare for the worst….so it isn’t the worst.
“Carry a flashlight, matches and snacks in case of emergencies/power outages, etc. You don’t want to use your phone battery on the flashlight, matches can help defrost a car key lock if it has frozen over, and snacks, well, everyone needs fuel!” -Kristen Leydig, Resourcing Senior Associate, New York
“I keep a separate credit card and ID in a secondary location other than my primary stuff in my wallet,” Paul Schrimpf, Partner, Chicago
“In case you lose service, save the destinations you want to go to on Google maps and download an offline version of the map so you can still navigate.” -Victoria Li, Verbal Branding Associate, New York
3. Set yourself up to escape to a “happy” place.
“Queuing up media, like movies, podcasts and music, before the flight helps. I listen to Headspace’s Business Travel episodes.” -Abigail Murray, Marketing Designer, New York
“If you’re every lucky enough to stay in Stockholm at midsummer when the sun literally never sets, or want to nap during the day, use a pants hanger to clip curtains together and block sunlight from coming through.” -Alex Whittaker, Digital Associate Partner, London
4. Take advantage of freebies… but not all the time.
“Your hotel front desk probably has most toiletries you might have forgotten (toothpaste, contact solution, feminine products, etc.) I also just learned a tip that hotel gyms legally must have water available, so fill up water bottles or grab a new water bottle there for free.” -Nicolle D’Onofrio, Senior Engagement Manager, New York
“Never drink tea or coffee on an airline – the water is ‘recycled’.” -Julie Purser, Partner, Hong Kong
5. Roll with the punches.
“If you are traveling domestically in the US and have *no* form of ID or identifying documents (e.g. you lost your wallet on the way to the airport), you can still board the flight by undergoing an on-the-spot background check at the security gate. The TSA agent will dial into a call center and ask you a series of questions to prove your identity (e.g. former addresses, names of relatives).” -Aubrey Littleton, Altimeter Researcher, San Francisco
“In case you lose your ID, bring at least two other forms of ID with your name on it (e.g., credit cards, bank statements, Costco cards), so you can get through with an extra security screening. Just make sure they’re hard copy, not a picture or scan.” -Tanvi Kulkarni, Associate, Chicago
6. Travel with a smile.
“Don’t get stressed and don’t yell. Gate agents can’t fix weather delays and freaking out won’t make it easier.” -St.John Dunne, Digital Associate Partner, New York
“Kindness goes a long way. So many people call or email airlines to complain when things go wrong, but how often do they acknowledge when a gate agent or flight attendant is a real rockstar? I always make a point to say thank you, show empathy when it’s particularly hectic at the airport, or write a nice comment in the survey when someone has helped provide me with a seamless travel experience.” -Dara Kotek, Associate, Atlanta
Whether you’re a frequent flyer or travel rookie, hopefully our guide will help improve your next jaunt across the globe. Travel safe and happy holidays from all of us at Prophet!