If you're like most business travelers these days-acting as your own travel agent but confused by all the options-check out the Business Travel Almanac by Donna Williams. The "former corporate traveler turned author and consultant" offers this advice:
What is one of the least known tips for saving money on business trips?
Donna Williams: Book hotels on the hotel's Web site, not at one of the discount sites. Many hotel chains now guarantee you'll get the lowest rates available on their Web sites. Also, most hotel-owned sites will offer frequent-stay points, last-minute specials, weekend rates, or deals that include amenities you won't find on so-called discount sites.
Any advice on getting upgrades?
Williams: I always book the cheapest rate and negotiate for an upgrade at the check-in counter. That way, you'll be assured of not spending too much. But if there's a better seat, a nicer room or a convertible that's available, you can make a deal on the spot using your powers of persuasion.
Are there any "secrets" in your book that the average traveler may not know?
Williams: If you've got time to kill at an airport, you may not know that there are health-club facilities at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and Miami International Airport.
At smaller companies, travelers typically do more driving than flying [so they may want to know some] quirky driving laws-in New York State, for example, you can get a ticket if you don't use a hands-free device on your mobile phone when driving. In Texas, speed limits on highways decrease by 5 mph after sunset.
For more information on Williams' book, see www.businesstravelalmanac.com.
Chris McGinnis, travel correspondent for CNN Headline News, is author ofThe Unofficial Business Travelers' Pocket Guide.