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Travel Expert Chris Elliott This savvy traveling man shows you how to be a real pro on the go.

By April Y. Pennington

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Traveling can make you feel like royalty-or it can be a royalpain. It's exhilarating because you get to call the shots, butit's also time-consuming to get yourself prepared for a trip.Oh, and don't forget the bill you'll ultimately have tofoot, because now you're the boss. Travel writer ChristopherElliott can sympathize with your plight. Elliott, who has beencovering travel topics for more than a decade and has trekked theworld over for many more, is the founding editor of business travele-zine Biztravel.com.He's also a columnist for numerous online and printpublications, including Entrepreneur, for which he writesthe monthly "Travel" column. You can find many of hiscolumns as well as other travel information on his site, elliott.org, billed as "The LastHonest Travel Site."

As Francis Bacon once said, 'Travel, in the younger sort, isa part of education; in the elder, a part of experience."Here, Elliott offers some tips that'll help you become theconsummate traveler, enabling you to experience it all with peaceof mind and, in the end, a thicker wallet.

Entrepreneur.com: With theadvent of the Internet, people are using it to buy just abouteverything. Do you think it's better for entrepreneurs to booktravel online or go through an agent?

Christopher Elliott:There's no easy way to answer that question. It really dependson what your line of business is, how many employees you have andwhere you're traveling. You should consider [using] a travelagent, but you should never book your travel without first checkingonline; there are advantages to both. You might find that if yourbusiness is small enough, booking everything online is really theeasiest way, but I wouldn't rely on just one [method]. Youmight be able to save money by doing the research yourself, butthat takes time, and trite as it may sound, in business, time ismoney. You don't have time to become your own corporate travelmanager/travel agent/traveler. It's better to outsource thosethings.

"Youmight be able to save money by doing the research yourself, butthat takes time, and trite as it may sound, in business, time ismoney."

Entrepreneur.com: How canentrepreneurs stay productive and connected while on the road?

Elliott: Take a laptop withyou, two backup batteries, a backup laptop if you have to. If youhave mission-critical issues that you have to deal with while onthe road, such as checking e-mail, getting into your corporateintranet or putting together a presentation, you absolutelycan't be down. [Unfortunately,] the cell phones, the convergentdevices-such as Handspring Visors, combination Palm Pilot/cellphones (I'm testing one right now)-just aren't where theyneed to be yet. You can't really put together a presentationlike you would be able to with a PC. And if you go to a businesscenter, they're going to charge you up the wazoo for using oneof their PCs-anywhere from 60 cents to $2 a minute. Plus, they maynot even have the software you want.

You have to have the right kind of connectivity. I just had ahorrible experience where I plugged my laptop into a digital phoneline and it fried my modem. I lost a week's worth of workbecause I couldn't take the laptop with me on anassignment.

Entrepreneur.com: What tipsdo you have for staying healthy on the road?

Elliott: When you're onthe road, [it's so easy] to gain 10 extra pounds. Whenyou're out entertaining clients for dinner, you can easily havea meal that you shouldn't have. There are better ways ofhandling those situations. You can certainly try to entertain yourclients at a different time, a less traditional time. Invite themfor tea-particularly in Europe, you can do that and get by a lotcheaper. If it's just you eating alone, don't be tempted byfast food; go to the grocery store. It's healthy, it's awhole lot cheaper, and your body will thank you for it. If you eatout, make lunch your main meal; dinner is typically 20 to 30percent more expensive.

Entrepreneur.com: Do youhave any tips for saving money?

Elliott: With hotels, youcan always ask when you make the reservation, when you'reonline or even when you show up, "Do you have anydiscounts?" No price is ever final. Empty your wallet or yourpocketbook, and look through all your club memberships and cards.I've talked to travelers who've gotten their bill choppedin half because they were persistent. Not annoying, justpersistent.

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