Pack Light For Business Travel |

If there’s one thing that I have learned through the last few years as I traveled for business, it’s to pack light!

Do you wear a suit? Some people may feel more comfortable in casual attire. I love a suit. A good black suit can be worn day after day with different shirts, accessories, or ties and look fresh and new each day.

Pack several ties that are completely different from each other. Ladies, bring a few bold necklaces. A black suit with a white top looks great with chunky red or silver jewelry.

When I travel for a week of work, I wear my suit to the airport. When I get to my hotel, I take it off and hang it up. I carry a small spray bottle of fabric refresher and spray the suit as needed.

There are also disposable pads that you can purchase. They stick inside the arms or your suit to keep sweat from getting on it. These work quite well and are easier to pack than another suit! Of course, you can also purchase them when you arrive at your destination or a few days into your week.

You also might want to try a suit that has a little stretch to it. That way, it will not ever wrinkle. I have a nice expensive suit jacket but I pair it with a cheaper, machine washable pair of pants from Target with a little bit of stretch to them. It’s hard to tell that they didn’t come together, but the pants never wrinkle.

I love the way a nice, cotton button-down shirt looks with a suit, but these shirts don’t pack well and have to be ironed usually. I don’t have time for that. Instead, I choose stretchy, sleeveless tops that travel well.

Ladies, you may have noticed that when you put on a suit, you are all but almost covered. I love a suit that you barely have to wear a top with at all. If you have a suit like this, perfect! You can wear a small tube top. After all, you only have a small triangle on your chest that you need to cover.

I pack several different colored tubes. They keep me from getting too hot. I also have a few neutral colored, longer tube tops that can double as pencil skirts – just in case I spill something on my pants!

And as far as dress shoes, simply pick one pair that you can stand and walk in for extended periods of time. Pack or purchase some in-soles for when they start to become uncomfortable. You don’t have room for more than one pair, but you do want to have a pair of flat sandals or flip-flops for lounging.

Experiment. Anything you don’t wear must be forbidden to go out with you again. And remember, if you really need something that you didn’t bring, you can probably purchase it when you get there!

How to Get the Lowest Hotel Rates for Business Travel |

If this is the year that your business is taking a fresh look at reducing lodging costs, join the crowd.

A new survey of travel managers, conducted by Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s Travel Management Institute, puts optimizing hotel spend among the top priorities this year for the travel managers surveyed.

With industry experts forecasting hotel rate hikes this year, many companies are looking for better workforce travel savings and solutions. For many, the solution is putting a lodging savings card in the hands of their employees who travel.

It gives small business travelers access to the low hotel rates that are negotiated privately by lodging management providers for larger corporate clients.

The savings card is particularly aimed at businesses with workforce travelers, those employees who hit the road in boots – not suits – to get the job done. Typically, these travelers stay in economy and midscale hotels like Best Western, Hampton Inn, Ramada, Holiday Inn, Super 8 and Comfort Inn.

No More Bargain Rates
Having an advantage like a lodging savings card is more important than ever this year since hotel deals and bargains are going to be tougher to find.

The January 2011 forecast from PricewaterhouseCoopers said hotel prices will be 5.1 percent higher than last year, citing Smith Travel Research data. Colliers PKF Hospitality Research estimates a 4.6 percent rise.

These rising prices likely will make it tougher difficult for businesses – particularly small businesses –
to negotiate their own low rates.

Finding Privately Negotiated Rates
The key to getting the lowest hotel rates is having enough volume to negotiate a private rate. Small businesses usually are hampered by low volume, which drives the lower rate negotiations that larger companies and lodging management providers can achieve.

Unless a small business is targeting a location where it has 25 room nights or more a month, it can be difficult to get a private rate that is lower than other publicly available prices.

A lodging savings card provides access to those low negotiated rates at thousands of hotels. Many companies find their hotel savings are dramatic, including companies that save thousands of dollars a year.

Savings Card Advantages
The card works particularly well for per diem and seasonal travelers since there is no annual fee or minimal usage requirements.
A company signs up for the card and registers a credit card for billing. Company travelers present the card at check-in to the front desk at any of thousands of participating hotel locations.

The hotel sends the stay details to the lodging management provider that provides the savings card, who then bills the registered credit card.

An invoice statement is posted to the savings card online account, where the company can review it for easy credit card reconciliation. That means no more tracking down hotel receipts or playing detective work with purchase orders.

More than 10,000 smaller companies from the trucking, retail, staffing, energy, food service and other industries already are saving every day.