Business Travel Tips from the Experts


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Bill Walshe
Chief executive officer, Viceroy Hotel Group
“I leave a suitcase containing a toiletries bag, a change of business clothes, and a set of workout gear at a hotel in each destination I travel to frequently. I arrange it with the concierge, who knows me. Keeping what I need at my destination saves me hours of standing around luggage carousels, as well as trying to cram everything into a carry-on.”

Elizabeth Pizzinato
Senior vice president, marketing and communications, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts
“Evernote. I’m in a 24/7 business, so having one system that sorts, stores, and records all aspects of my life is a must. I take notes, use the Web Clipper, create digital files from paper memos, and GPS my photos. I can access it electronically from wherever I am in the world. Best of all, Evernote Food keeps track of the restaurants I discover on my travels, which beats having a pile of restaurant business cards in the wrong country!”

Stephen Stagner
President and CEO, Mattress Firm
“A night of tossing and turning can ruin a trip, which is why I bring clothespins or clips so I can secure the hotel curtains and keep unwanted light out. And of course, I research hotels in advance to ensure they have good reviews on beds.”

David Allen
Author of Getting Things Done and Making It All Work

“I set aside a nice big drawer exclusively for travel gear: toiletries, travel alarm, plug-ins, connectors, travel steamer, airplane niceties, and an updated travel checklist. I decide exactly how long to give myself before walking out the door and then pack everything in one continuous event. If you partially pack ahead of time, you forget what you packed and what you didn’t.”

Scott Wiseman
President, Cox & Kings, the Americas
“It pays to sign up for frequent-flyer programs on international airlines that you may fly only once, as they often automatically increase your weight allowance. I also pack a portable luggage scale, as flights in other countries have different luggage requirements. On my recent trip to India, with little notice, Air India lowered the checked baggage weight by 5 kilograms at a significant charge. Having a portable scale proved a lifesaver—I organized my carry-on with heavier items and got my checked bag under the limit.”

Anton Sanko
Composer, Big Love and the Amazon Studios (AMZN) series Alpha House
“I always bring a set of Etymotic hf3 earphones with me. They have extremely high sound-isolating properties but are tiny earbuds that require no batteries. They provide me with the quiet I need to concentrate and be productive on planes. I can also review recordings of my own, do music research for upcoming projects, or watch films by directors I may be working with.”

Bill Whitmore
Chairman, president, and CEO, AlliedBarton Security Services
“To shave 15 to 30 minutes off every flight, I do TSA PreCheck, a voluntary program of the Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration. I no longer have to remove my shoes, jacket, laptop, or belt—I just show the TSA PreCheck certification on the bar code of my boarding pass. Members of Global Entry, which offers accelerated service when reentering the country, are automatically enrolled in TSA PreCheck.”

Elizabeth Gilbert
Author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things
“I use an iPhone app called CheckList. It’s exactly what it implies: a simple checklist of everything I need to do, pack, or arrange before I go off traveling. The checklist now has 98 items on it, ranging from “mascara” to “speech notes” to “change outgoing voice mail,” and I’m not allowed to leave the house till every single item is checked off. I honestly don’t know how I used to prepare without it. Oh, wait, I do know: I just used to forget stuff and then panic at the airport.”

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Cohen is the author of The Sex Diaries Project: What We’re Saying About What We’re Doing (John Wiley & Sons).
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