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Travel News

Staying Powered While Traveling

We all know the importance of staying connected to the office and home while we’re on the road.  Emails, phone calls and texts don’t stop just because we’re on a business trip.  I had the good fortune to be traveling a couple of weeks ago when Delta experienced their power outage.  Surrounded by chaos, it was almost funny seeing clusters of people tethered to the power stations at the airport.  Eventually though, I became one of the people with a low battery. With cord was plugged into each and every power receptacle, I couldn’t find one open plug.  I traveled down the terminal in hopes of finding a vacant plug, but to no avail.

Finally boarded my Delta flight and there, eight inches from my armrest, was my very own power outlet!  This small feature offered by airlines can make a complete difference in a business travelers’ productivity.  I personally resolved that I had no excuse for lack of productivity while flying ever again.

Charging devices on Delta flights

As Delta planes are being developed or remodeled, electrical charging stations are being added.

  • Standard power outlets are available in all rows of Economy, which includes Economy Comfort, on all Boeing 717 and 737-900ER aircraft.
  • Standard power outlets are also available at rows 10-12 on most 737-700 and MD90 aircrafts.
  • USB power is also available at all seats on 737-700, 737-800, 737-900ER, 757-200 (with personal entertainment) 767-300 aircraft and at all First Class seats on most MD90 aircraft.

I learned that the power strength from these power units isn’t as strong as a traditional power outlet – usually only around 75 watts.  In some cases, the high speed processors in new super-fast laptops cannot operate with the lower level of power.  And there may not be enough strength to operate and charge the battery at the same time.  In fact, some airlines specifically state that battery charging is not allowed and ask you to remove your rechargeable battery from your device.

Flying with Delta during their power outage, surprising made me appreciate the continual upgrades they provide on their flights. From now on, I will never take my personal power outlet for granted. And maybe add a portable battery charger to my packing list too.

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Business Travel Travel Technology Travel Tips

Tips for Cellular Service When Traveling Internationally

Smartphone usage continues to transform our lives and is becoming the norm for most business travelers. Their usage has transformed from a simple mobile calling device to text messaging capabilities, information retrieval, sending pictures or videos, entertainment and staying connected with family, friends and business associates. However, as with any technological improvements, mobile devices do come with associated costs, especially when traveling abroad.
Recently, Wall Street Journal writer Scott McCarthy’s shared a few ways to save money on voice and data charges when traveling internationally:

  1. Rent a local-country phone. If you’ll be in one country for an extended period, you may want to get a local phone, either before you go or after you arrive. TravelCell Inc., for example, will rent a phone for Israel for $19.99 a week with free incoming calls and text messages and 100 free minutes of outgoing calls to the U.S. After that, it’s 34.9 cents per minute for calls and 19.9 cents per text message.
  2. Skype. This service offers free video calls over the Internet and cheap voice calls to phones. But be careful: If you use your phone or tablet computer, make sure you’re not running up cellular data charges. If you have access to free or cheap Wi-Fi, though, you’re all set.
  3. Turn off apps, data roaming, fetch data and automatic synching functions on your phone’s settings. Look for anything on your phone that looks like it’s automatically updating and turn it off. Make sure Facebook isn’t automatically updating or that you don’t have apps checking stock quotes or sports scores constantly.
  4. Get a local Wi-Fi adapter. Renting your own hot spot can be a lot cheaper than hotel Wi-Fi rates, or worse, data charges from your cellular carrier.
  5. See if your cellular carrier has an acceptable plan. AT&T, Verizon and others offer global roaming plans that require a monthly fee but give you reduced rates. Those rates, however, can still be expensive. Instead of $1.39 in France, for example, you might pay 99 cents a minute for voice calls.
  6. Work incoming calls to your advantage. Cellular plans often have discounted rates for incoming calls and hotels often don’t charge for incoming calls made to rooms. So arrange to have people call you from home rather than calling them.
  7. Purchase a removable SIM card that works in an unlocked phone. You can sometimes get the code to unlock your phone from your cellular carrier, or buy, or rent an unlocked phone. For example: Telestial Inc.’s Passport SIM card comes with a U.S. and U.K. phone number, with roaming in 180 countries at 49 cents a minute for outgoing calls. Data cost 49 cents per megabyte in 135 countries and incoming calls are free in 75 countries. The card costs $19 but includes $10 of airtime.
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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology Travel Tips

Top 8 Business Travel Apps for Smartphones

At Christopherson Business Travel, we get it. We, too, are business travelers and we understand the importance of staying connected, regardless of the time zone you’re in.
Perhaps our CEO, Mike Cameron, said it best: “Traveling is more convenient when you don’t have to deal with delays, getting lost in a big city, or not knowing the native language.” With that in mind, here are eight apps for business travelers to help increase productivity and alleviate stress when traveling.

  1. TripIt: TripIt allows you to access your travel itineraries right on your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry. While most TripIt users need to forward their itineraries to TripIt for loading to their account, Christopherson clients enjoy automatic transferring of all their AirPortal itineraries directly to the TripIt app. If you upgrade to TripIt Pro, you can get notifications on flight delays, cancellations or gate changes and can track your frequent flyer miles and reward points all in one place. Additionally, Christopherson Travel provides clients who use TripIt Pro with a $10 discount per year for the app.
  2. Wall Street Journal: If you download the latest version of the Wall Street Journal to your iPad right before you board your flight, you’ll have a simple, yet comprehensive tool to catch up on all the latest news. This is particularly useful when there is no WiFi on the plane.
  3. Penultimate: We all know business traveling can often include full days in conference rooms. Whether you need to jot down a quick memo or take notes for hours on end, Penultimate eliminates the need for papers, notepads and pens. The power of this app lies in a user’s ability to create as many digital notebooks as they desire. You can choose to write on a graph-, lined- or blank-paper layout with a stylus pen or just your finger. When you’re done, you can email your notes to colleagues or assistants back at the office.
  4. AllSubwayHD: Have you ever been in a big city and tried to figure out the subway system? AllSubwayHD is a time-saver app, providing answers, directions and timelines you’ll need to keep you running on-schedule. This app offers subway maps for over 125 cities worldwide, all of which are available offline.
  5. Google Translate: With this app, you can translate essential words and phrases into 57 different languages. Speak or type in the phrase and the translation will appear on your screen. Audio playback is even available for certain languages. Click Here for iPhone. Click Here for Android.
  6. Urbanspoon: This is a perfect app for those who know what they want to eat, but don’t know where to go. You only need to tell your phone where you are, what type of food you want and how much money you’re willing to spend. Urbanspoon recommends restaurants, lists reviews and lets you browse restaurants by maps or neighborhoods. It also shows the top restaurants in your vicinity and lists restaurants recently reviewed by critics and bloggers.
  7. Yelp: Making a name for itself as an app offering reviews on most everything around you, Yelp lists range from restaurants, hotels and businesses to museums, spas, bars and gas stations. You can access the wisdom and approval of the locals for just about any place you plan to visit. Yelp also allows you to bookmark sites, “check in” and share via Facebook and Twitter, make reservations, add tips and find contact information anywhere you go.
  8. Seat Guru: There’s been a lot of buzz lately about SeatGuru by tripadvisor, the “ultimate source for airplane seating, in-flight amenities, and airline information.” With their detailed, color-coded seat map key,  you’ll have access to in-depth information about seats with limited recline, reduced legroom, and misaligned windows, to help you identify both superior and substandard seats. Plus, once you select your airline, you can navigate through their information pages for tips on Check-in, Baggage, Unaccompanied Minors and Traveling with Infants and Pets.

“From navigation support to eliminating paperwork, each of these apps provides the everyday business traveler with user-friendly tools to manage the many details associated with executing a successful business trip,” said Cameron. “You may even impress a current or prospective client with your modern resourcefulness in the process.”
About Christopherson Business Travel
Christopherson Business Travel, headquartered in Salt Lake City, is the independently owned leader in business travel management in the western U.S. With over 250 team members and 35 offices, the company supports more than $287 million in annual travel bookings. Christopherson provides intelligent travel management to more than 900 successful companies, and is an affiliate of BCD Travel, the leading provider of global travel logistics. BCD operates in 90 countries with $14 billion in annual travel management bookings and a combined worldwide workforce in excess of 13,000.