(Family Features) Traveling for business isn’t what it used to be. Gone are the days of itchy polyester suits, chunky flip-phones and maps the size of Texas.
According to a national survey released by Hyatt Place, and conducted by Harris Interactive, 50 percent of today’s road warriors say that life as a business traveler is easier and more productive now than it was 10 years ago, thanks in large part to modern hotels and evolving technology, keeping travelers both connected and comfortable.
Meet the Road Warrior 2.0
- Mobile masters: When asked to go on a business trip without underwear or a smart phone, 64 percent of business travelers surveyed would rather leave their underwear at home.
- On the go: 69 percent of business travelers surveyed say they travel the same amount or more for work than they did a few years ago. While today’s technology has not reduced their travel time, half of respondents report that business travel is easier than ever, seemingly in large part to this new technology.
- The boondoggle is back: The top perk of business travel is exploring new places: two-thirds of those surveyed agreed that business travel provides an escape from everyday life and a sense of adventure. There’s also more time for fun: 69 percent find it easier to meet new people, and 59 percent find it easier to read a book, magazine or newspaper on the road.
- Keep in touch: 70 percent of business travelers surveyed are in touch more often while on the road and spend more time each day communicating with friends and family while traveling for business versus at home (an average of 33 minutes versus 19 minutes per day).
Travel tech expert Katie Linendoll recently teamed up with Hyatt Place to provide tips on the best gadgets and amenities for making life easier on the road.
“A smart phone is a must,” she says. Here are some of her favorite travel uses for it — beyond the obvious:
- GPS: These devices can cost up to $20 a day with your rental car, so ditch that extra cost and use your phone.
- Mobile hotspots: One of my current “can’t live withouts.” It’s an additional $20 or more on your plan, but is worth it for fast Internet connectivity for your laptop, netbook or tablet. It works great in airports or in any meeting.
- Apps: I love photography apps to create great souvenirs and they make your phone’s pics look like they were taken professionally. One of my favorites to use is the Camera ZOOM FX app. I also use local apps like AroundMe to find restaurants, ATMs, shops or the local FedEx to ship work or supplies back home.
When it comes to finding a hotel, Linendoll recommends finding one that lets you stay fully connected. “Look for hotels like Hyatt Place, which offers free Wi-Fi, 24/7 food options, and a layout that smartly integrates technology so it’s easy to work on the go,” she says. “Technology makes things easier than ever now, and with a hotel like Hyatt Place, I never have to settle; I can take care of business as if I never left the office, and have some fun along the way, too.”
In addition to choosing the right hotel, Linendoll recommends a few more travel items to make your trip more fun and productive.
- eReaders: Portable gadgets that are lightweight and can keep you entertained without adding bulk to your luggage. At under a pound, you can carry thousands of books and read them anywhere.
- Portable Wireless Speakers: I always bring one with me so I can hook it up to my laptop or tablet for some loud sound, or add it to my Bluetooth to serve as a speakerphone for conference calls.
- Headphones: They’re an obvious must for in-flight — you need to find a pair that not only stays in your ear, but is comfortable and packs easy.
For more tips and travel ideas, and to enter for a chance to win a head-to-toe business traveler makeover, which is worth more than $8,000 and includes many of Linendoll’s must-have gadgets, visit http://www.facebook.com/hyattplace.