Just as not all travel is for pleasure, not all travel is always pleasurable. Business travelers, more often than not, find themselves at the crossroads of these two vectors: stressed out, navigating foreign airports and cities, praying to the greater powers that be that there won’t be an unforeseen hiccup in their best-laid plans and tight itineraries. The stress of long lines and delayed flights is a little more poignant when your job is on the line.
But, there are answers for these woes. Some of them—like packing light, not checking luggage and arriving early—ultimately depend on your personal discretion and situation. Others, like the formal options listed below, are in the business of making your travel speed-bump-free.
The first business travel tip pays off the second you arrive at the airport: CLEAR. Used to bypass security lines when flying out of an airport, CLEAR utilizes biometrics such as your eyes and fingerprints to verify you’re you instead of traditional documents. Sign-up can be done within the airport (allowing for the stressed business traveler staring down a two-hour security line to make a good judgement call).
Not only that, but CLEAR exponentially helps you along your way upon landing: thanks to their recent partnership with Hertz, Gold Plus Reward members can breeze through the car rental process. All it takes are your at-hand biometrics and you can pick up your car—and be on your way—in under 30 seconds. However, CLEAR is currently available in approximately 29 airports at this point in time—so fully utilizing this service may require some planning ahead.
Global Entry is possibly the most name-brand, well-known of the list. Created for the international traveler, the service allows those arriving at an American airport from overseas to breeze through the traditionally arduous U.S. Customs. Utilizing Global Entry is simple: you simply head to the appropriate kiosk at arrival—be sure to savor the lack of a long line—and use your fingerprints to identify yourself. From there, you’ll answer some questions on the screen and take your photo. Finally, you’ll receive a printout and be on your to baggage claim.
The process is equally simple: first, you pay a one-time fee (at current time this fee is $100). Then, you undertake a scheduled interview with a Customs and Border Protection officer. After this, you’ll supply your fingerprints and get your photo taken—and from there, you’re officially enrolled!
Ultimately, nothing is as helpful to the stressed-out traveler as a dedicated travel professional on their side. Need to guarantee your flights flow through airports with CLEAR? A travel agent can take that off your hands. Just realized you’ll need a rental car to get to the convention? Your travel agent can have that lined up before your plane lands. Found yourself in a crowded airport with your connecting flight delayed? Your travel agent is working away to get you a seat on a new flight.
Not only are travel agents essentially guardian angels for your trip, but also they’re central to some serious synergy to the above business travel tips. Thinking back to CLEAR’s partnership with Hertz, and it’s easy enough to understand how you benefit—Hertz also offers exclusive perks and amenities to the travel agents, for the sake of drawing more business. The travel agent provides these perks and amenities to you in addition to game-changing insights—so that your business travel is utterly smooth sailing, through and through. Packaged together, it’s an entirely new echelon of travel experience.