In theory, traveling for an event or conference seems glamorous. Your company is paying for you to go someplace new and exciting where you’ll stay in swanky hotels, meet lots of fabulous people, and learn tons of new things. But sometimes, reality isn’t so sweet. Maybe your flight gets delayed, your luggage gets lost, the hotel room has a barely functional A/C unit, or your favorite suit somehow ends up with coffee all over it. Not so glamorous after all.

Even the most seasoned jetsetters cannot avoid the inevitable hassles of frequent travel. If you’re not a “million miler” there are still tricks that enable you to get the most out of those hours you log for business travel and maximize every dollar spent. There are a few things you can do to stack the deck in your favor.

It goes without saying, be nice. Become friends with the company employee or department that oversees the travel booking. Want to fly a particular airline? Stay in a certain hotel chain? Get chummy with the team doing the bookings, and oftentimes, you’ll be able to do just that. Get on their bad side? You’ll wind up wherever they feel like sending you.

Besides the old “packing light” and “bring an empty water bottle”, find out real hacks and tricks for making business and conference travel more enjoyable. Pulled from Entrepreneur, INC, and Travel + Leisure, the following pieces of advice will save you time, stress and money.


Sign-up for TSA PreCheck and/or Global Entry – Essentially an express lane for the proactive, these programs are pre-approvals from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection that designate you a low-risk traveler. As long as you’re not a convicted criminal, you’re good to go after some light paperwork and a brief in-person interview. TSA PreCheck ($85) makes domestic travel simpler, allowing you to keep your shoes, belts, etc. on and cut security lines, while Global Entry ($100) makes returning from an international trip easier, eradicating paperwork and lengthy processing lines.

Check-in late for a better chance at a hotel upgrade. No elite status with the hotel chain in which you’re staying? Not a problem. Early upgrades go to elite members, but by mid to late afternoon most elites have already checked-in and inventory is more flexible. Be nice to the check-in agent, ask what is available and give a little story if you have one to sweeten the deal.

Score a corporate credit card with great benefits. Many companies will allow you to accrue points on your own corporate card while not spending a penny of your own money. And if you’re paying your way and recovering costs from your company afterwards, consider getting a separate personal business credit card on which to put your work expenses. All miles and points earned through corporate travel will then be owned (and enjoyed!) by you.

BYOB – While airports restrict the size of what liquids you can carry on, what’s in the container doesn’t matter. You can carry-on any kind of liquid as long as it’s under 3.4 oz. That means liquor mini-bottles, too. Why pay $9 for a drink in-flight when you can make your own for free? Cheers. Speaking of liquids, if indulging, choose beer or hard liquor, but not wine which can lead to ear trouble in the air (it contains histamines, the opposite of antihistamines.)

Download car service apps – UberLyft, or alternative transportation apps available at the destination before arriving so you can easily get to your hotel or other locations once you’re on the ground. And if you notice the people you meet want to use them too, you can usually share a referral code to get free credits on the platform.

Going to a conference in another countryPrint out a hard copy of your event or hotel information. It’ll make it much easier for you to fill out travel documents and chat with officials at the border. In addition, email yourself scans/pics all of your important documents (flights, conference, and identification) before you leave. That way, if your luggage, passport etc. gets lost or stolen, you’ll still have all the information you need.

Write out all the physical addresses for the places you need to be and the times you need to be there. That way, if WiFi isn’t available (definitely spotty in parts of the country!) and your phone’s data is iffy, you can still figure out your schedule and where to go.

If you want to stream movies and content without paying a huge fee to your hotel, bring your Chromecast or Roku from home. All you need to do is connect to the hotel’s WiFi and plug your streaming device into the back of the TV. Voila: All “The Game of Thrones” you could ever want to watch.

Before you get to the conference, take a photo of the venue map and then set it as your cell or laptop background. It’s an easy way to keep track of where you need to be without flipping through booklets or using your cell phone’s data.

Download your airline’s app – Most airlines have invested some significant time into developing apps that provide you with real-time updates on gate changes or delays, where your bags are, etc. so you can sit playing Candy Crush and not worry about missing vital information. Even better, the app also allows for paperless boarding at most airports.

Get food faster by ordering a special meal – This involves some advanced planning, but by requesting a special meal (for ex: kosher or vegetarian) you will usually get served before everyone else, and can go to sleep sooner, without waiting for the full dinner service. Plus, rumor has it that those special meals are better anyway.