As a college professor, I am fortunate to have met and even participated in the education of some really talented and bright students. In addition to teaching a New Media Technologies class that includes social media marketing, I also teach a semester-long course on personal branding. Basically, it’s a 4-month class where you create and cultivate (and leverage) your passions to build a personal brand before you graduate – making picking the perfect career easier.
But, as bright as these college (mostly) seniors are, they are naive to some of the most basic things we seasoned (or, overly traveled) business travelers take for granted. In fact, one of my recent posts “5 Things Every Business Traveler Wants, Actually — NEEDS” had may thank-yous from recent college graduates.
With that in mind, I have decided to write a post just for them — the recent college graduate. So, here are five things every college graduate needs for business travel:
UBER: This is the greatest thing to happen to business travel since Southwest Airlines debuted nationally. If you don’t use UBER now, you eventually will. Why? Taxis suck. Not all of them – just most of them. The drivers are questionable (sometimes even scary), the cars are (mostly) gross, the fares are sometimes random and outrageous and they all universally hate taking anything other than cash. In fact, even taxis with a credit card meter integrated into the back seat act as though you’re ripping them off each time you pull out your AMEX card.
UBER is the solution to this. It’s sort of like a taxi service – only with nice cars (never a car older than seven years), with nice drivers (they have been vetted including a background check), and you don’t even have to pay them (or worry about being ripped off on your fare) as the entire thing is charged via the App, automatically, and the fare is always fair! Not every city has UBER, yet, but you’ll wish they all did. Just download the App and put in your information and launch it and it will tell you how close the UBER driver is to you, what kind of car they drive, the name of the driver and how long until they arrive to pick you up. And, it works flawlessly.
Trip Advisor or Yelp: The best a hotel is EVER going to look is how well it looks in the photos of its own website. Trust me, if it looks questionable in the professional pics taken and posted on-line, it will be terrible in person. Trip Advisor and Yelp is chock-full of peer reviews and photos taken by people who’ve just stayed there – and their opinions. Real people – not the hotel’s photographer. So, this is how it will really look when you get there and the reviews people tend to write are accurate. if the last few people didn’t like it, you won’t. Oh, restaurants too!
Read a local newspaper: When you travel, you will feel as if there’s a different local-language spoken in each and every city you visit. And, there is. The local happenings in any hometown are important to most people living there. And, to help “break the ice” for a newbie in town or so that you will know what’s going on locally, consider reading the local paper each morning as you eat breakfast. It matters!
Use Good Luggage: If a suitcase seems expensive, it’s likely deserving of the price. I have found that good luggage is worth it. TUMI is my favorite but there are a lot of good quality brands out there. Just don’t buy a carry-on for $100 and expect it to hold up for more than 60 days — or, for that matter, a piece you’re going to check under an airplane better have carried a $400 price tag or more or best of luck getting it to hold up more than a few months. Seriously, for graduation from college, ask for good luggage – you need one carry-on sized piece and something that can hold 4-5 days worth of clothing. That’s it. No hang-up bag. Oh, and get a bag with four wheels — not two! Trust me — you’ll be glad you did!
Hotel Tonight: Get this App! Hotels give this company their unsold rooms and they show you the day’s best values. You book them easily and securely on your smartphone. And, they’re always cheaper than calling the hotel directly or on their website. Even if you aren’t paying for your own room, you will look better to your boss if you are always paying less than your peers for travel.
I am sure there are many, many other tips my regular readers can recommend for my college students. Come on seasoned-travelers, what else do you think they need to have? Comment and tell me (and them)!