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Introduction

Back in the days when people would venture overseas via luxury liner or traverse cross-country in a sumptuous railway car, travel was actually a glamorous proposition. Today … well, not so much.

Instead of sleeper cars, we’re wedged into tiny seats with a perfectly acceptable amount of legroom if you happen to be under three-feet tall.

The rest of us contort ourselves into pretzels and pray the guy in front of us doesn’t feel like reclining.

Though flying can be an excruciating process, the discomforts of flight can be the least of the traveler’s problems. There’s packing, parking, and the much-dreaded security line. Which is why we came up with AirportTips.com and The Travel Checklist.

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By combining our research with user reviews and advice, AirportTips.com will answer all these questions (and more!) with our fun, user-friendly platform. We can help you solve dilemmas like –

I’m at Terminal 5 at JFK and I’m supposed to be at Terminal 9 –

what’s the quickest way to get there?

I’m planning a trip to Chicago – what are the public transportation options out of the airport?

Where can I find a gluten-free, vegan meal in LaGuardia airport?

While The Travel Checklist will help turn your next business trip into a pleasure by breaking down the process and making it easy and efficient.

For example …

Is the pin in my femur going to set off the metal detector?

How can I cram a Paul Smith suit into a carry-on?

They want me to go through one of those scanners – are there going to be even more naked photos of me on the internet now?

Before you roll your eyes and decide that someone as organized as you doesn’t need to bother with a checklist, know that extensive research has proven that having a set checklist of procedures to follow makes any process approximately a thousand times easier and more efficient.

When Dr. Atul Gawande – author of The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, instituted a simple checklist program into eight hospitals in 2008, “major surgery complications dropped 36% and deaths plunged 47%.”*

Hear that? Deaths were cut nearly in half.

Now obviously, we’re not talking about life or death situations here, but if you’ve ever missed a flight or arrived at your hotel only to realize you’d stumbled into a swinger’s convention (or worse, prom!), this book is for you.

In fact, if you’ve ever made a travel mistake EVER, this book will help you. We can’t guarantee that your flight will be on time, but we can help you pack efficiently, pass through security unscathed, and who knows

– possibly even land at your destination wearing a smile.

* Time Magazine, “Atul Gawande: How to Make Doctors Better,” 1/4/2010.

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How to Book a Trip Without

Losing Your Mind or Emptying

Your Bank Account

It used to be that even mid-sized companies had a department – or at least an employee – who would make all the business travel arrangements.

These days, though, along with cutting back on expense accounts across the board, most us wind up booking our own tickets and figuring out where we’re going to stay on our own.

But how? With the bottom-line on everyone’s mind, finding the least expensive option is usually a priority. Luckily, that doesn’t mean business travel has to be unpleasant. By following the checklists and guides we’ve included, travel might actually become something you look forward to doing.

Q Should I book my flight and hotel together?

A It depends. You can save some money purchasing a package deal, but the only way to know for sure is to do a lot of comparison shopping, and be very flexible about flight times and hotel locations.

Since most business travelers don’t have this luxury, we’re going to concentrate on booking them both separately.

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Checklist for Cheap Flights

To get the cheapest possible flights you should ask yourself the following questions. Have I …

given up caring about which carrier I fly? My frequent flyer miles will not grow mold.

started this process no more than a month before my travel dates, but no less than two weeks?

compared multiple websites? (A consolidator site like Kayak can do this for you)

checked individual airlines’ websites, because sometimes there are unadvertised specials?

tried to get the lowest advertised price through the airline’s website in order to maintain frequent flier points?

purchased my ticket on a Tuesday around noon, as that’s the cheapest time to buy?

arranged it so (if possible), I’ll be flying on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday – ideally Wednesday?

avoided traveling around the holidays? If I must, I’ll fly on the actual holiday itself.

chosen flights that are early in the morning or in the evening?

I’ve avoided mid-day – that’s for the lazies (and the folks with money to burn).

accepted that I might have to deal with a layover? The difference can sometimes be hundreds of dollars. (See page TK for how to make the most of your layover.)

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Checklist for Getting

a Great Seat

Have you ever found yourself wedged in the middle seat of the last row in front of the bathroom? That seat doesn’t recline – but the ones in front of it certainly do. Meanwhile, you’re bolt upright, squished between a five-year-old traveling alone for the first time and a chatty obese cat lady who smells of cheese.

In order to get the best seat possible, make certain you’ve …

joined that airline’s frequent flier program as soon as I decided which tickets I was going to buy.

arranged to purchase my ticket one month in advance – more notice means more seating choices.

gone onto seatguru.com to figure out the best seats on the particular type of plane I’ll be flying.

kept the seatguru.com window open as I purchased my ticket, and completed the checklist below!

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Checklist for Picking Your Seat

Before I’ve picked my seat(s), I’ve made sure to avoid

Front-row seats facing a wall. I need leg room and who wants to stare at a wall for hours!

Last-row seats, even along an exit row, because they don’t recline.

“Between” window seats. While not as unbearable as a middle seat, a window seat with no window is not fun for anyone.

Any seat too close to the bathrooms. Even setting aside the smell factor – which can be epic, especially on a long haul – people will constantly be hovering over you and bumping your book or laptop.

Then there’s the smell.

Sitting too far from the wings if you get freaked out by turbulence.

The closer you are to the wings, the less you will feel it.

Pretty much any seat that’s not an aisle seat. Aisle seats mean extra legroom, which counts for a lot in coach!

If, after following all these steps, you still end up with a horrible seat, try to get to the airport early enough to ask the person manning the check-in counter to swap you.

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Travel Tip: 5 Best Travel Apps

Your smartphone is only as clever as what you’ve put into it, so make sure to download these apps before you leave home.

1 Wi-Fi Finder – this bad boy will direct you to the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot, so you never have to worry about roaming.

2 Google Maps – this is a no-brainer.

3 Flight Board or TripIt – either of these will give you up-to-the-minute details of your flight status. Also good if you’re picking up someone from the airport – no need to sit around in the parking lot for an hour.

4 Sit or Squat – when you gotta go, you gotta go. And this app will tell you where the nearest place to do so is located.

5 Using Miles – coordinates all your frequent flier miles and hotel-reward points, so you’ll know instantly when you’ve accumulated enough work miles to take a vacation.

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5 Tips That May Help

You Get an Upgrade

Even as Americans got fatter, economy-class seats are tinier than they’ve ever been. There’s no leg room and heaven help you if the guy in front decides to fully recline. But business and first class can be prohibitively expensive. However, sometimes the fates (and a sympathetic airline employee) will smile down and upgrade you for seemingly no reason at all. Here are some ways you can make that more likely to happen: 1 Belong to that airline’s frequent flyer program. The more points you have, the more likely this holy grail is to happen.

2 Dress neatly and nicely. The experienced travelers at Frommer’s say a well-dressed traveler is more likely to get upgraded than a slob.

A friend of one of the writers was handed a first-class boarding pass out of the blue and when he asked the flight attendant why he’d been chosen, she answered, “our station manager noticed how well-dressed you were and told me to upgrade you.”

3 Even if you checked in online, use the check-in kiosk and ask.

Note that it will help your cause if you’re also extremely polite and friendly. It may also help if you’re preternaturally good looking.

4 Leave the kids at home. Nobody wants a howling brat in the seat next to them, least of all people who paid four times what you did for their ticket.

5 Be open to moving your seat once you’re on the plane – if the honeymooning couple wants to sit together, be a sport. You may be rewarded with a cushy seat in business.

6 Okay, I said only five tips, but this last one will guarantee you an upgrade: pay for it. Lots of airlines offer day-of discount upgrades to frequent fliers. It may not be worth it for short-haul flights, but for cross-country flights you may make up the price difference in free cocktails and salty snacks.

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Where Should I Stay?

If you’re traveling to a convention in the middle of the sticks, you might not have many options, but if you’re going to be in a large, or even medium-sized city, your choices open up. You can narrow these choices down by asking yourself the following questions: Have I read the reviews? Before choosing a place to lay your head, check out consumer reviews on a site like Hotels.com, Tripadvisor.

com, and yes, unfortunately, Bedbugregistry.com.

How far is it from the airport and is it within walking or public transportation distance of where I need to be? A slightly higher room rate might be worth the savings in cabs and/or rental cars.

Do I really need a pool, a gym, and a free continental breakfast?

More amenities mean higher prices.

Which hotels will give me miles? Many of the big chains will.

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How Can I Get a Nice Room

at a Reasonable Rate?

Depending on what city you’re staying in and what time of year it is, hotel rates can vary dramatically. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you book your hotel.

Have I compared prices? You can easily do so by comparing Travelocity, Kayak and Quikbook.

Have I considered “opaque” sites such as Priceline or Hotwire?

If you’re not overly choosy about where you’re staying they offer the lowest prices – just make sure to check out http://biddingfortravel.

yuku.com before you bid.

Have I shopped the “private sales” sites? Just as you can buy deeply discounted Louboutins through these membership sites, so can you purchase luxury hotel stays at a fraction of their normal cost.

Have I searched for discount codes online?

After I’ve found the cheapest rate online, I’ve called the hotel I’m most interested in and see if they can do better. Often they can and will.

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How Can I Make Sure

I Get the Best Room Possible?

Okay, you’ve chosen and booked your hotel – how you just need to get in your room. Will it be within earshot of the raucous bar? Stuck next to the elevator bank? Will your view consist of a brick wall and/or a naked neighbor? To ensure a bad room doesn’t happen to a good person (you) make sure you’ve done the following upon booking your room.

Joined that hotel’s loyalty program prior to checking in (or even leaving home).

Checked out the hotel’s website to get a lay of the land. While you’re there, you look for discount/upgrade offers.

Politely emailed or called the manager in advance with whatever your request might be (high/low floor, far from elevator, etc.).

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The A-B-C’s of P-A-C-K-I-N-G

(or How to Leave Home

without Losing Your Mind

(or Forgetting Your Socks)

We got it. You spent a month backpacking through Europe with only a change of underwear, an extra pair of Levis and a dog-eared copy of On the Road. Surely someone as worldly, accomplished, and good-looking as you are doesn’t need a checklist with step-by-step instructions on anything as mundane as packing, but humor us. You’re not on your parents’

dime anymore; you’re on your boss’s. And if you show up for that important meeting in a wrinkled shirt with a big mustard blob smeared across it, you’re not only going to look like a slob, you could be jeopardizing your job. So listen-up!

A week before my trip I’ve …

made a list of everything I’ll be packing. Like Santa, I will check it twice.

figured out exactly which business attire I’m going to need.

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brought the dirty and/or rumpled pieces to the dry cleaner.

made sure I have enough of any prescription drugs I will need.

purchased travel-sized versions of my toiletries or decanted them into three-ounce containers.

determined whether or not these drugs can be used for fun and if so, I’ve obtained a doctor’s note saying I actually need them to stay sane.

whipped out my trusty tape measure and figured out if my bag meets TSA and airline size requirements:

Checked bags can’t weigh more than 50 pounds and can’t exceed a 62 linear inches (l + w + h = total linear inches).

Carry-on bags can weigh no more than 40 pounds (so forget about bringing my hand weights along) and measure no more than 22’’x14”x9”.

Two days before my trip I’ve …

picked up my dry cleaning.

ascertained that I’ll have enough socks and underwear to last the trip – if not, I have a load of laundry in the machine or the FedEx man is bringing me some replacements in the morning.

purchased a real luggage tag, because I know the ones they hand out at the check-in counter are cheaply made and have a tendency to fall off.

polished, or at least cleaned, the shoes I plan on bringing.

emailed one copy of my itinerary to a loved one and another to my assistant.

become a better groomed version of myself: a haircut if necessary, and a mani/pedi if I’m of the female persuasion. Random hairs have been shaved, plucked, waxed, or lasered off.

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What should I bring?

What to wear is such an important question that entire reality TV empires have been built on the premise. It’s also one of the most important travel decisions you’ll be making. Too much is almost as bad too little. To avoid over- or under-packing, you should carefully look at your calendar and see exactly what’s scheduled for each day. Hint: No need for those sky-high heels and an evening gown if they’re only going to take up valuable real estate in your bag.

As you assemble what you’re bringing … I’ve …

made certain that most clothing is from the same color family, so I can mix, match, and re-wear.

ascertained that I’ll have one business outfit for every day I’ll need one, as well as a few casual items of clothing.

assembled a small travel pack of coordinating jewelry, tie clips or cufflinks if I wear them.

if I’m a fan of the fitness, I have a couple workout outfits.

added at least one extra dress shirt/blouse in case of a tragic toothpaste spill or exploding-pen disaster.

ditto an extra pair or two of socks, hosiery, and underwear.

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10-Step Method of

Folding a Suit without

Using a Garment Bag

1 Find a smooth, flat, CLEAN, surface on which to perform this delicate operation.

2 Set aside a gallon-sized Zip-loc bag.

3 Turn the jacket inside out – leaving the sleeves inside, but shoulders protruding.

4 Fold the jacket in half, lengthwise, tucking one shoulder into the other.

5 Lay it flat on a smooth, clean surface (i.e., table or bed).

6 Put the pant legs together, minding the crease, and laid them perpendicular, across the bottom of the folded jacket.

7 Fold the top of the jacket over the pants, which will help cushion the jacket to prevent wrinkling.

8 Fold the lower third of the pants over the jacket – if there’s extra fabric, tuck under the jacket.

9 Fold the upper third of the pants over the jacket and bottom third of the pants, forming a nice, neat square.

10 Tucked the neatly folded square into the Zip-Loc bag, making sure to leave air inside for cushioning.

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The day before my trip – packing!