Category Archives: Tools of the Trade

Tools every salesperson should have. Here you will find tips on which memberships, credit cards and organizations any salesman should belong to in order to get you from point A to point B most efficiently and will offer you perks for your personal use!

7 Things You Need to Know Before You Rent a Car

lady picking up rental car
Planning to rent a car on a trip this upcoming Holiday Season?

Believe it or not, there are a lot of things you need to know before you book your rental car that could save you hundreds of dollars.

What do You Need to Know?

1. Search Expedia for Company with Best Rates and then Book Direct

keyboard typingGoing onto a site like Expedia will give you a quick overview of all the rental car agencies offering vehicles for your itinerary and indicate cost, mileage allowance and whether or not the rental kiosk is located in the airport terminal or if you will require a shuttle.  Select the vehicle that best suits your budget and itinerary and then go to the rental car agency’s website directly.  The reason you should do this is not only will you save a few bucks (Expedia does have a mark-up) but you can also earn travel rewards with that specific rental agency or gain frequent flyer points (not an option at Expedia).

2. Rental Cars Do NOT Have Snow Tires

baldtireIf you will be driving anywhere where there is a chance of snow, regardless of the vehicle you chose, it will not have snow tires.  I have yet to find a single rental car agency that equips their vehicles with snow tires and the reason being is added expense.  It is cheaper for them to write off the odd vehicle that is in a collision due to inclement weather than it is to invest in snow tires for each vehicle in their fleet.  The best option is to rent an AWD or 4×4 vehicle BUT not if it is old and has bald tires.  When you arrive at the rental car kiosk, request a new vehicle and be sure to inspect the condition of the tires before you accept the vehicle.  If the tires are bald, you are better off driving a newer FWD that has tires that are newer and in better condition.  Rental car companies do not spend a lot of money maintaining their vehicles like you and I may do.  Furthermore, most people who drive rental cars, drive the s^%& out of them, so be sure to check those tires before you leave!

3. Do NOT Purchase Insurance Through the Rental Car Agency

Car-insuranceEvery single rental car agency tries to sell you on purchasing their insurance which can be in excess of $23 per day! In most cases this is completely unnecessary. In most states and provinces, the car insurance that we have on our own vehicles covers us when renting a vehicle.  Additionally, several major credit cards include travel insurance, specifically rental car insurance.  Not sure if you are covered by either? Call your insurance company and your credit card company before you depart.

4. Do NOT Pre-Pay for Fuel: Plan on Fueling Up Before You Return the Vehicle

fillingupThis is probably the second biggest waste of money next to purchasing insurance.  If you agree to pre-pay for fuel, you are paying for a FULL tank of fuel regardless if you use it or not. This way you are paying to fill the ENTIRE fuel tank as though you brought it back completely empty which would never happen.

If you opt to return the vehicle with a full tank of fuel and forget, you will be billed up to 3X the price of regular fuel PLUS a refuelling fee!  When the agency bills you for fueling up, sometimes they don’t even pay attention to the exact size of the fuel tank of the vehicle you are driving and just bills you for some random sized fuel tank. This happened to me once when I returned a Chevy Impala with a tank ¾ full, and got billed for 88L (or 23 gallons) of fuel! The tank of the car was only 63L (or 17 gallons)! When I complained, they informed me that their calculations were based on an average sized fuel tank, not specifically the one I used.  What “average” vehicle at a rental car agency has a tank size of 100L?

5. You Can Not Reserve a Specific Vehicle

Chevrolet-Impala-2015The vehicle in the picture on the website when you are making the reservation is only a representation of a general vehicle type.  If you reserve say a Chevy Impala, you might not get that same make and model but rather anything similar in its class, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t get the precise vehicle you thought you reserved.

6. Don’t Assume You Have Unlimited Mileage

unlimited-mileage-car-rental-with -auto-europe-travel-tipsWhen booking your reservation, be sure to note if the mileage is restricted on the vehicle.  Often the ‘discounted” vehicles do not come with unlimited mileage.  If you plan on driving any significant distance in your travels, be absolutely sure that your rental car package comes with unlimited mileage otherwise you will pay a hefty fee for each km/mi you drove over the allowance.

7. If you Drop off a Vehicle at a Different Location You will Incur a Fee

routeAtoBIf you plan on picking up and dropping off your vehicles at different locations, be prepared for additional fees.  If your plans are somewhat flexible, for instance you can either go from A to B or from B to A, be sure to check out the fees for both options.   When I travel to Alberta, it is almost $1000 cheaper for me to pick up a car in Edmonton and drop it off in Calgary than it is for me to pick it up in Calgary and drop it off in Edmonton.  Do your homework before you book. You could save a small fortune!

I hope that in reading my tips, you will be much more prepared before you rent your next vehicle and possibly save a lot of money.

Safe travels my friends.

Cheers,

TSW

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0

Tips for Eating Healthy on the Road

foodbalance

Most people know what it means to eat healthy just as most people and understand the experience of working on the road. Unfortunately however, these are most often seen as mutually exclusive behaviors.

If you know what it takes to eat healthy and you know what it is like living on the road, why is it so difficult to do both simultaneously?

Usually when I tell people that I work on the road for extended periods of time, the first thing they say is “You are so lucky! You get to eat out at nice restaurants all of the time and eat whatever you want.”, as if it is some sort of vacation at an all-inclusive resort. New sales representatives are often of this mindset as well, especially because most sales people have an expense account.

For those of you following me on social media, you may be aware that I am currently doing a 3 week business trip covering Western Canada.  This means that I am travelling by plane, by car and staying at hotels every night.  Most days, I am even changing hotels every day which makes it even more difficult to eat healthy.

After you’ve been in sales for a while, eating out gets old and you get to the point where you’d do just about anything for a nice home cooked meal.   About 8 years into my sales career, I had gained approximately 40 pounds and I decided that enough was enough.  I started working with a personal trainer and developed a system to keep fit and eat healthy on the road.

Besides weight gain, why should you bother eating healthy on the road? Eating healthy is not only great for your overall long term health, but on the short term it can provide a well needed energy boost and ramp up your immune system. 

How do I plan to eat healthy on the road?

  1. Stay at Suite Hotels

This is my best kept secret! Why? Because suite hotels:

  • Are the same price if not cheaper than a standard hotel room at a major chain
  • They have full kitchens which are equipped with everything you need to prepare almost any meal that you can in the comfort of your own home.
  • Sometimes suite hotels even have in-suite laundry which can allow you to dramatically reduce the amount of luggage you are carrying
  1. Shop at the Grocery Store

Treat your suite hotel as your home-away-from-home. Go shopping as if you were planning to make your meals and lunches for the week at home.  This will not only save you (or your employer) money but it will surely save you some inches on your waistline and maybe add years to your lifespan.  Below are some examples of meals I commonly prepare in my hotel room:

Breakfast:

Breakfast

  • Protein Shake (milk, protein powder) & Bananna OR
  • Oatmeal, Mixed Berries (frozen if I have access to a freezer for a few days, fresh if not) & Greek Yogurt.

 

 

 

Lunch:

Sandwich using whole wheat or multigrain bread:

  • Chicken/Turkey with tomato, lettuce, onion, pepper low-fat cream cheese (the veggies I will also buy to prepare a salad for dinner and will make at the same time)
  • Tuna, low-fat cream cheese or 1% cottage cheese

**TIP: TO KEEP THESE COOL, PACK A FREEZER PACK AND A LUNCH SAC SO THEY WILL NOT SPOIL

Snacks:

  • Boiled egg
  • Fruit or veggies
  • Protein bar
  • Low fat cheese (Swiss) or cottage cheese
  • Can of tuna

Dinner:

dinner

  • Mixed greens salad (appetizer)
  • Roasted chicken with smashed potatoes and steamed or broiled veggies
  • Chicken Fajitas (chicken, peppers, onions, cheese, whole wheat tortilla) with a side of veggies

 

 

  1. Must-Have Items:

These items can either be bought at your location or you could pack them and bring them with you on your journey:

  • Lunch bag
  • Ice packs
  • Ziplock Bags: These are great for storing snacks, sorting single serving sizes of protein powder, oatmeal etc.
  • Reusable grocery bag: It is good to have at least one large reusable grocery bag for transporting your foods. For me, if I have 1 suitcase, 1 briefcase, 1 purse, 1 lunch bag and 1 large grocery bag, I can usually make it to and from my hotel room in a single trip.
  • Coffee Filters: Aside from the obvious use, these can also be used to store washed fruit in your lunch bag to prevent it from getting dirty, to keep your fresh berries fresh by putting it at the bottom of the container or soaking up excess water in a bowl when you prepare a salad.
  • Olive Oil/Balsamic Vinegar: These can be used on a variety of foods ranging from salad dressings to cooking meats (marinade, frying, etc.)

You might be thinking, “Travelling Saleswoman you are in sales! You can’t avoid eating out all of the time?”

And yes, you are correct.  Certainly I must make time to entertain clients and occasionally take them out for a meal! Most of the time however, I prepare my own meals and snacks.

When I tell people that I have been on the road (away from home) for over 1 week and never ate out at a restaurant or had takeout even once, their minds are blown!  When I tell them that I cook in my prepare all of my own meals in my hotel room, they usually look at me as if I am speaking a foreign language.

I am currently working on a guidebook for professionals who spend a lot of time on the road in which I will be providing very detailed tips on how to stay fit and eat healthy.  This book will contain my typical shopping list, recipes, how I find the best suite hotels and much more.

In the meantime, if you would like any general tips or some of my hotel cooking recipes, please email me at TheTravellingSaleswoman@gmail.com and I will be happy to share.

Safe Travels,

TSW

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0

The Travelling Saleswoman on SalesBabble.com

Travel and Sales Advice from the Travelling Saleswoman      (a SalesBabble.com Podcast)

h - Jaclyn Goldman-0021

Yours truly, The Travelling Saleswoman is honoured to have been a guest on SalesBabble.com, hosted by Patrick Helmers. In this interview I give travel and sales advice from a savvy travelling saleswoman’s perspective.  This website is an excellent resource for anyone starting out in sales or who is a small business owner.  I would highly recommend you take a moment to check it out.

In this interview, I offer tips on:

  • Selecting the best transportation to and from the airport
  • Getting the best value from your travel rewards program
  • Sales scenarios-What to do and what not to do
  • Challenges on the road and how to overcome them

To listen to the full interview and to learn how you can win an Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Guest Pass, listen here or go to SalesBabble.com/46

 

 A Podcast by:

If you have any questions, comments or would like personalized advice, please either leave your comments below or email me directly at thetravellingsaleswoman@gmail.com

Happy sales and safe travels my friends!

Yours Truly,

TSW

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0

How to Maximize Your Travel Rewards Benefits

 

Are you travelling for business or for pleasure? Do you use a company credit card? Or do you use your own personal card and submit expenses?

credit_cards.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterbox

Regardless of how you travel, there are several ways to take advantage of the many travel rewards available to you.  That being said, there are so many travel rewards programs available on the market that it can be overwhelming and outright confusing to select the programs that work best for you.

If you follow my simple guidelines below, I assure you that you will get the most benefits from your rewards programs.

  1. Keep it Simple: Select One(1) Airline Travel Reward Program

Every airline has its own reward program however they are not all created equal.  The trick here is to stick to a reward program that is associated with an airline AND shops that you frequent (i.e. gas stations, hardware stores, grocery stores etc.). This way, everywhere you go, you are gaining valuable points.  For example, I chose a rewards program which is associated with the airline which I most frequently travel with as well as many other retail partners so that wherever I am shopping, I am gaining travel rewards and getting closer to redeeming my rewards.

If you select a reward program that is associated solely with an airline or general travel rewards, it will take you much longer and/or require that you spend much more money to obtain your rewards.  For example, if you only use a rewards program associated with your airline, you are limited to gaining and using rewards through the purchase of airline tickets and using their rewards based credit card. If you only use a reward program that is associated with retail shops, it will take you YEARS or a spending a significant amount of money to gain any true travel reward.    So unless you spend $100,000 on your credit card every year, these options will not work for you.

 

  1. Choose the Right Credit Cards

Now that you have decided which travel rewards program you will stick to, it is time to select the credit cards which will allow you obtain the most benefits.  This is the most efficient way to double-up or even triple-up on your points.  It is my opinion that everyone should have at least 2 credit cards.  Whether it one for business and one for personal use or one for personal use and one for family expenses, it is always a good idea to have a credit card as a backup in case the other is not accepted or is compromised . When you select your credit cards, make sure that both of them are associated with the same travel rewards program.  This way, whenever you spend any money, you will gain valuable rewards points.   

Furthermore, get out of the habit of paying in cash or with debit.  Use these credit cards for every purchase and then pay off your balance in full each month.  This strategy will not only help you gain maximum travel rewards points but it will also boost your credit score.

  1. Shop Selectively at Recognized Partners

When you enlist in a travel rewards program and receive your rewards based credit card, you will likely receive a list of all of the recognized partners which will provide rewards points on your purchases.  Make a legitimate effort to shop at these places on a regular basis using both your credit card and showing your actual rewards card to double up on points.  For example, the rewards program I use offers rewards at selected gas stations.  These gas stations will prompt you to enter your rewards membership card, then your credit card.  If you use both cards, you will get double the travel points on a single purchase and it doesn’t cost you a dime.

  1. Enlist in Hotel Membership Programs

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, whenever you stay at a hotel, spend the minute or two to sign up for the hotel rewards program.  They are free to join and the points don’t typically expire if you gain them at least once a year (i.e. if you stay at that particular hotel chain once per year).  Even if your company makes your travel arrangements or you have to use a company credit card, you can personally register for these programs and gain valuable points towards your own personal hotel stays.  If you are responsible for making your own travel arrangements, try to select hotels that belong to the same chain or rewards program in order to maximize your points earnings.

  1. Register with Car Rental Agency Membership Programs

Similar to hotel membership rewards programs, car rental agency programs can offer you great rewards if you register personally.  Again, even if your company makes these arrangements for you, sign up on your own time and simply present your membership number when you pick up your vehicle.  Many car rental agencies will give you the option to gain points towards a future rental or to gain points with your favorite travel rewards program.

 

If you follow these simple steps and keep organized, you will be able to take advantage of your travel rewards in no time.  Last year alone I took advantage of 6 flight rewards and 5 days worth of free car rentals.

What will you do with your rewards?

Think of the possibilities fellow travelers!

Bon Voyage!

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0

Getting to and from the Airport: Taxi, Limo or Park, Stay and Fly?

airportgroundtransportation

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a personal chauffeur to take you to and from the airport?   I sure wish that I did, however that is one luxury I simply cannot afford.  As a business woman, I can expense all of my travel costs but that doesn’t mean that I won’t do my best to keep my expenses to a minimum.  Today I will share with you how I decide the most convenient and cost effective means to get to and from the airport.

Transportation to and from Your Domestic Airport:

When selecting transportation to your domestic airport, you should consider how far away you are from the airport and how long you will be away.

If you live in the same city as the airport, visit the airport website to get an estimate on how much a taxi will cost you. Every major airport website that I have visited has this information.

TIP:  If you are experiencing difficulty finding that information, do a simple internet search using keywords “ [Your airport] taxi fare estimator to downtown [Your city]”.   Another option is to visit websites such as www.taxifarefinder.com  or the like.  Since you will be returning home, don’t forget to factor the cost of your return trip in your calculations.

If you live outside of town, check with your local airport limousine.

TIP: You can find them in the yellow pages or conduct an internet search using keywords “Airport limo [your city]”.

Most companies will allow you to enter your information and provide you with a quote online.  Or you can simply call them and get a quote.  In my case, I reside approximately 120km from the airport I normally fly from.  This option will cost me an average of $100 each way (including taxes and tip), so I will choose this option if I will be away for 2 weeks or longer).

For short trips (1-3 days), I would recommend just parking at the airport.  Even if you park in a premium lot, it will cost you less than $100.  At Pearson International Airport in Toronto, their premium parking lot is $28 per day. If you park in their “Value Parking Lot” by the Alt Hotel near Terminal 3, the cost is $18 per day.  Even though the lot is far from the terminals, there is a free rapid shuttle that runs from the parking lot to both terminals every 4 minutes during peak periods and every 8 minutes during non-peak periods.  Most airports offer this service.  Check your local airport’s website for parking information.

TIP: If you are reading this and you fly out of YYZ (Toronto Pearson) often, I would highly recommend that you invest in an American Express Platinum Card because that will save you 15% off parking rates and you can get valet parking at no additional charge! How is that for a perk?

If you will be away for a few days to 2 weeks, I would highly recommend looking into “park, stay and fly deals”, especially if you have an early morning flight.  I consider these deals to be one of the best kept secrets in the travel industry. Most major airports have hotels physically at the airport in the terminal or in the near vicinity and offer deals to “park, stay and fly”.  This means that you can stay at the hotel (either before your departing flight) and your parking at the airport is included.   This option can save you stress, time and money.  For instance, if you have an early morning flight which departs at 6am, you would otherwise have to wake up at 2 or 3am to get to the airport on time. Every time I take an early morning flight I can’t count the number of travellers I hear complain about how early they had to wake up and they didn’t consider that when they booked their flight.  If you stay at the airport hotel, you can get a few extra hours of sleep and eliminate the stress of travelling to the airport in the middle of the night when you are barely awake.

The last time I did this was in Orlando. My flight departed at 5:30am.  I was driving through the airport at 4am trying to find where I am supposed to drop off my rental car and I went the wrong way. I couldn’t get out of this particular driveway, so I had to drive the wrong way on the road and hope that nobody else was coming the other way and was as tired as myself.  Fortunately I made it out safe but I vowed never to do that again.

Even if you flight leaves at 9 or 10am, you will have to travel to the airport during peak rush hour. How stressful is that?  Will traffic be so bad you will miss your flight? What if there is an accident and the major route is closed? Then what? I certainly don’t need that stress.

In the past, I have stayed at a few airport hotels and taken advantage of their “stay, park and fly” deals.  The Alt Hotel at Toronto Pearson International Airport for example usually offers a deal where you pay approximately $175+tax for a hotel stay and parking of up to 8 nights.  Most hotels have deals for up to 2 weeks of parking as well and it works out to be much cheaper than just parking at the airport, never mind taking an airport limousine.  Not only will it spare you a few hours of sleep, hours of stress you would feel struggling to get to the airport on time but it might also save you money.

If you will be travelling for in excess of two weeks, I would recommend that you hire a local airport limousine.  Parking your car at the airport for this amount of time will surely cost you more unless you find a parking lot far away from the airport that is affordable and there are many of those.  However, if you choose to park in a discount lot, make sure you look up the schedule for transportation to and from the airport as this can usually be in excess of 30 minutes.

TIP: On a side note, if you are travelling for more than 14 days, most credit cards only offer travel insurance for 14 days, so don’t forget to add extra insurance for your trip.

 

Travel to and from Your Destination Airport:

Most major hotels near an airport will offer a free shuttle.  Check with your hotel in advance.  When you arrive at the airport, there is usually a kiosk with a phone so that you can call your hotel and request a pick-up or you can simply ask someone at the ground transportation level that can assist you.

If your hotel is really close to the airport, and your hotel does not offer a free shuttle, a regular taxi will suffice.  If you hotel is some distance to the airport, look into the price for a rental car. Believe it or not, in some cases it is actually cheaper for you to rent a car than it is to pay for a return taxi.  Take Halifax International Airport for example; The  average cab fare (excluding tax and tip )to travel from the airport to downtown Halifax is $55, so that will work out to well over $60 each way.  If you rent a car, you will likely be able to get one for less than $35 per day including taxes and fees.

TIP: To quickly check the price of rental cars, just go to a travel site such as Expedia and it will show you the price for all car rentals in the area.

So even if you are just going for a couple of days and will just use the rental for transportation to and from the airport, it can surely be worth it.  If you’re staying for a longer period of time, it may be cheaper for you to drive your own rental car to explore the area compared to talking taxis everywhere.  Having your own rental car may also encourage you to see sights that you may not have otherwise seen.

So the next time you book your trip be it for business or pleasure, make sure you do your homework when it comes to making your travel arrangements to and from the airport.

Safe Travels.

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0