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Five Time Saving Tips for the Business Traveler

May 28, 2014 | Jennifer Goodwyn

For many companies, business travel is necessary for growth. Unfortunately, it can cause productivity to take a massive hit. Between increased security and reduced airline services, travel is an easy way to waste time. In many cases, it can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes to retrieve luggage at airport baggage claim. Factor in time spent packing, booking rental cars and hotel rooms, and filling out expense reports, and there's little time left for conducting actual business on a business trip. By taking the below tips into consideration, you can save time and focus on what really matters – your business.

Keep a Packed Bag Handy

If you find yourself frequently travelling for business, maintain a packed bag at all times. By constantly having a packed bag on hand, you can save yourself several hours of last minute packing. This may seem like an annoyance at first, but this proactive approach will save you valuable minutes the next time your alarm goes off at 5 A.M. When you return home from a business trip, re-pack your carry-on with the essentials you'll need for your next business trip: don't forget to replenish your supply of business cards!

Fly Regional Airports & Book Direct Flights

While flying regional and booking direct may cost you a little extra, you'll save yourself some valuable time by doing so. Security lines, traffic, parking and check-in processes are often easier and quicker at smaller airports. Additionally, taking direct flights to and from your final destination can save more than just time: you'll have a better chance of avoiding flight cancellations or delays, which can help your business save money on unexpected overnight stays, and additional meal expenses.

Take Advantage of Airport & Airline Programs

By signing up for a Clear Security Pass, you'll be able to skip long airport security lines. Ideal for the frequent traveler, initial enrollment is $128 for one year and requires an online application and in-person appointment for card activation. The hours you'll save over a lifetime of travel will make the initial time and effort invested worth it. Additionally, members of frequent flier programs will gain access to designated security and check-in lines, which are almost always shorter than the alternative areas designated for travelers not enrolled in frequent flier programs.

Pre-Program Your GPS Unit

If you tend to rely on your GPS during business travel, consider programming your unit ahead of time. By programming the addresses for all the stops you'll be making on your trip (including airports, hotels, restaurants, and meeting rooms), you can avoid the hassle of programming them the day-of. Additionally, becoming familiar with the parks, shops, restaurants, ATM machines and gas stations surrounding your hotel and business commitments before the onset of travel may also prove to be helpful in certain situations.

Pay Attention to Parking Perks

One of the biggest time-wasters for travelers of any type is dealing with the hassle of parking. To avoid waiting in long pay lines, consider signing up for monthly parking passes when available. Many airports offer parking plans and valet services, both of which can expedite vehicle retrieval. If you'd like to avoid the expenses of monthly passes and valet services, be sure to consistently park in the same lot, make a note of your vehicle's exact location, or snap a photo of the lot on your phone for reference.