If you fly, undoubtedly there have been times you have tried to fall asleep on the plane, and just couldn’t. That’s happened to most of us, and we’d like to give you some advice on how finding sleep on a plane isn’t as hard as you might think – IF you follow some of these helpful hints.

YOUR TIMING IS OFF – Try and avoid scheduling flights for the time of day that you tend to be most awake. Early-morning flights are great for this reason. Or, book a ticket that departs after dinner-time. The key here is to board the plane tired. That may mean you need to wake up extra-early that morning, or if you can get in a hardcore workout during the day, do it.

This month’s Memorable City takes us to the great northwest and the city of Seattle, Washington. Seattle, more commonly known to the locals as The Emerald City, is a city woven together by many neighborhoods. Most visitors view Seattle as an urban, outdoorsy, artsy city, where rain is a usual nuisance to be dealt with. It rains between 150 and 200 days a year, but because of this, the city offers plenty of things to do inside.

As a public service, TravelPlex would like to provide you with some truly useful travel tips. 

  1. Forgot Shaving Cream? Use the little bottle of conditioner that is in each hotel room. The conditioner will soften the skin and provide a good alternative to shaving cream.
  2. Dull Shoes? Again using a hotel supplied item, wipe some body lotion on the shoes and wipe the lotion with a wash cloth or dry cloth. Shoes will shine like they’re new. 

Every six months or so, we here at TravelPlex like to toss out a few ideas to help manage, and limit, your company’s travel expenditures. In the recent edition of Business Travel News, Julie Sickel provides six travel tips for small (under $250k in air spend) and midsize (under $1m in air spend) companies and six tips for working with suppliers.   

A few of her travel tips include:

Focus on your travel policy – this is the single most important element to a managed travel program. If your policy has not been revised in the last few years, it’s time. TravelPlex can assist you in this venture and offer suggestions to maximize the effectiveness of your policy.

Effective this October, United Airlines is moving all its transcontinental flights from New York JFK to its Newark hub. The move was made possible by a gate swap with Delta Air Lines.

United will trade its JFK landing slots with Delta in exchange for more slots at Newark. This is, of course, subject to regulatory approvals.

As a (business) traveler, one of the few perks for enduring long check-in lanes, pat downs by TSA personnel and sharing an armrest with a complete stranger are the “points” airlines award you. You have visions of taking your significant other on a trip to Europe, or, maybe the family to Orlando. You plan trips in order to fly a specific carrier, and even take that 6:00am flight in order to receive an extra 1,000 frequent flier points.

We at TravelPlex are often asked which airline has the “best” frequent flier program. While one airline shines above all others, this airline might not be a right fit if your end objective is to take a trip to Rome, or Hong Kong.

TravelPlex’s Destination of the Month takes us north to the second beer capital of the U.S. – Milwaukee. With the warmer summer weather upon us, Milwaukee is a nice reprise from the mid-west heat and offers a number of things to see and do. People visit the city for all kinds of reasons: visiting friends and family; attending a business conference; or simply enjoying the area’s beauty and great mid-west location.

In the past few weeks we’ve received a number of complaints from clients about their negotiated hotel rates not being available. Whether they tried to make a reservation on Concur, or through their TravelPlex counselor, their negotiated hotel rates are nowhere to be found. From a Tennessee hotel jumping $75 a night, to a California property asking for an additional $59 over a negotiated rate, hotels all over the country are bumping prices. The reason is simple – it‘s because they can. Occupancy rates are in the mid-90’s for many main brand properties, and a decrease in demand is not on the horizon anytime soon.

As you know by now, TravelPlex counselors are asked a number of different travel related questions. Usually we have an answer for them. However, a recent question required a little more investigation in order to unearth an answer. The question posed was, “Is there a secret to getting a checked bag any faster at the end of my flight? Would checking in early mean a bag would be the last off the plane? Or, would waiting until the last second to check my bag guarantee it would be one of the first off the carousel?"

The short answer, unfortunately, is neither of those assumptions is correct. Or wrong. However, the long answer is much more interesting.

If you have flown in the past, say, few years, you’ve noticed a common occurrence. Airplanes are full. I don’t mean full with a few seats open – I mean FULL! No matter the airline and regardless of the time of your flight. I recently flew a red-eye from Los Angeles and there was not one empty seat on the plane. I specifically chose that flight because I flew the same one a few years ago and there were maybe 75 people on the entire plane. Thoughts of stretching out in a few open seats and catching some sleep were quickly shattered when they started asking for volunteers to give up their seats due to an overbooked situation. On a RED-EYE!

Airline analyst Michael Baker of Business Travel News recently wrote that the airlines’ capping capacity is actually a strategy employed to help maintain the financial fortunes the airlines currently enjoy.

TravelPlex’s Destination of the Month for May takes you south to the city overlooking the bluffs, sometimes called the “River City”. We’re talking about Memphis.

Rising from the bluffs along the Mississippi River (thus its nickname), Memphis is Tennessee's largest city and the commercial and cultural center of the western part of the Volunteer state. The city is a combination of Southern tradition and modern efficiency, where old-fashioned paddle wheelers steam upriver past the city's most striking landmark, the gleaming, stainless-steel Pyramid Arena.

In our previous blog, we wrote about things you need to do to secure your home before you travel. Such elementary things as stopping the mail, making sure all your electronic items are fully charged, and checking the weather and traffic before you depart for the airport. 

Today, we are again addressing some things to do while ON the road to protect yourself. Megan Snedden of the USA Today staff offers a number of suggestions in order to protect your security while traveling. Identity thieves, and those just wishing to pilfer our homes while we are away, have found their jobs much easier with the explosion of social media. It seems some people have an unusual desire to tell anyone interested in listening the fact that they are away in some tropical paradise, or an international destination, complete with pictures of their exploits. The main problem with this is the fact that everyone now knows you are not home, ushering an invitation to any would be thief.   

To view some tips on how to make sure your trip is as secure as possible, please access Ms. Snedden’s article ....

It recently came to my attention that TravelPlex counselors are always asked for tips by clients before they go overseas, or on a family vacation, or even a three day business trip to Baltimore. So, in order to help all those out there that might have a question as to what you might need to do BEFORE you leave for a trip, we’ve compiled a list of helpful hints. Many of these you probably know, but if there is just one item that we bring to your attention that you do not already know, then the blog has done its job. Happy travels from all of us at TravelPlex...

For those of us old enough to remember late night talk show host Arsenio Hall, you may recall a segment he did every night in the beginning of his show. It was the “Things that Make You Go Hmmmmmm”. In the travel industry, we have the opportunity to say that a lot.

One of the travel related things that we at TravelPlex get asked, and something that makes a person go “hmmmmm”, is how do/did the airlines actually come up with their boarding process? Southwest aside, most airlines all have the same procedures, save a few variations. 

Nowadays, news of security and data breaches causes little surprise. It’s almost as if we have become immune to such announcements. Most of us, if we shop or travel, have come to expect that sometime, somewhere, somehow, we will all fall victim to data hackers. News of thousands – even millions - of credit card numbers and data being stolen barely pulls a yawn.  

Independent hotel management company White Lodging recently announced that their clients are the latest to have their credit card data hacked. The effected hotels include:

We at TravelPlex wanted to provide you with the latest news from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Changes are coming this month to the TSA Pre✔ Trusted Traveler Program that will impact which travelers receive expedited screening. If you are not already a member of one of the Trusted Traveler programs like Global Entry or the TSA Pre✔ Application Program, you will probably see a decline in how often you receive expedited screening, even if you have previously "opted-in" through a frequent flyer program.