JS 102 – Reduce Stress and Travel Smarter with Carol Margolis

May 29th, 2015 by Jason | Comments Off on JS 102 – Reduce Stress and Travel Smarter with Carol Margolis

Carol Margolis is the founder of Smart Women Travelers and Business Travel Success. She is the author of the book entitled Business Travel Success and talks to Jason on some helpful travel apps people can use, great safety tips, and how to get your lost luggage back safely.

Key Takeaways:

[2:00] Go with a positive attitude.

[3:45] Carol tells Jason why she love TripIt.

[7:55] Resit the urge to pack everything. Travel light is the best way to go.

[9:10] Favorite luggage brand? Carol loves Samsonite and Hartmann.

[13:35] Have your name on everything, so airport staff can return your items to you.

[15:45] Have a packing list to make sure you’re leaving the hotel with everything.

[16:16] How do you get a good night’s sleep at a hotel?

[19:30] Social media while traveling, good or bad?

Mentioned In This Episode:

TripIt – Trip Planner

Nozbe – Get Things Done

HotelTonight – Last Minute Deals on Great Hotels

PicCollage

http://smartwomentravelers.com/

http://businesstravelsuccess.com/

Tweetables:

I can email my flight itinerary to TripIt, same thing with my hotel/car rental. It just adds it to my calendar.

Pack as little as you can.

I have a packing check list for the way home to make sure everything goes with me back home.

Transcript

Jason Hartman:

It’s my pleasure to welcome Carol Margolis to the show. She is the founder of Smart Women Travelers and Business Travel Success. The author of Business Travel Success: How to Reduce Stress, Be More Productive and Travel with Confidence and she’s coming to us today from Orlando, Florida. Carol, welcome, how are you?

Carol Margolis:

Hi Jason, fine.

Jason:

Good to have you on the show. So, this is, I mean, travel, it’s usually kind of a love/hate thing when people have to do it for business. It’s always fun to go new places and explore new things, but after awhile it does get to be a grind. How can we be more productive, staisfied, less stressed? Planes, trains, and automobiles, that’s never easy, is it?

Carol:

No, it isn’t and my gosh, I’ve been doing it more than 30 years, so I’ve seen and learned a lot the hard way.

Jason:

Well, give us some of your top tips, if you would.

Carol:

Well, what makes me most successful in traveling whether it’s for vacation or whether it’s for business is really going with the right attitude. There’s naysayers, you know, my flight is going to be late, everything is going to be wrong and I go with just the opposite attitude. I’m like, I’ve got good travel karma. This is going to be fun and I’ll tell ya, that makes all the difference in the world.

Jason:

Just having a positive attitude is definitely great advice, but there’s got to be more to it than that, right?

Carol:

There is and it’s really being prepared and by being prepared, I like to have all my details put together. I use an app on my phone. I’ve got all my details because it’s really stressful when you land in a new city and you wanna get in the taxi to take a ride to your new hotel and you don’t – you say the Marriott and they’re like, which one? And you’re like, I don’t know.

So, have all your details with you and have a plan B if there’s weather issues going on and your flight be delayed, just get online and see what are some other options and it reduces the stress. You have another plan in case things go bad, it makes the whole trip a lot easier.

Jason:

Yeah, sure does. Are there any particular apps or technologies or tools that you like or things that you always pack? People are always looking for little enhancements do you have like that. What advice do you have along those lines?

Carol:

I really like TripIt and the reason I like TripIt as an app and it’s on my computer also are for two things. Not only for keeping all my details so that I have access to them, but I can share my itinerary with my husband and that keeps his stress low when he knows where I am or he knows my flight number and I don’t have to remember, did I write it down for him? So, TripIt has got a lot of advantages. I can just email my flight itinerary to TripIt, same thing with my hotel, my car rental, and it just adds it all into my calender and very easy.

Jason:

There are other companies that do that same thing and a lot of the actual travel venders like the airlines, of course, all you to email your itinerary to other people and so forth and then you can forward the email, but yeah, it does make it a little easier, no question about it. When you say TripIt are you talking about the free app or TripIt pro?

Carol:

I’ve used both. I have pro now, but I probably don’t use any of the pro features. I really just use the free features. It’s perfect.

Jason:

That’s what I found. I don’t think they’ve done a very good job at differentiating that, because I use it, but I don’t use the pro and I would be happy to pay for the pro if it had some real benefits, but it doesn’t allow you to select your seats online, so far as I know. It doesn’t really give you alternate flight info very well at least that I know of. It doesn’t seem that compelling to tell you the truth. I think they are hurting themselves.

Carol:

No, the free version is fine, perfectly fine.

Jason:

Interesting. Other apps that you like or is that the only one you really use?

Carol:

That’s my primary one. For productivity, because I travel so much, I try to keep the paper planners at home. I am a big user of, you know, the old day timers and that, but I really like to have all that on my phone now. So, I use an app called Nozbe. There are many to-do lists out there, but this is the one I’m just using now that let’s me, again, email things to my to-do list so I don’t forget about them, because it’s like this morning I was off in my car and I’m like, oh, I have to remember to pay a certain bill. I can just forward it right on, which saves me a lot of stress when I’m traveling because it’s always when you’re in a middle of a flight and there doesn’t happen to be online access or I’m not connected that I remember to do things and I can email it and it catches up with new one whenever I am back online.

Jason:

Yeah, good stuff. Do you use Gmail as so many people do nowadays, by chance? The reason I ask you is I’m wondering if you use the offline version of Gmail. I’ve never been able to relate to that, you know, for flights that don’t have wifi or if the access isn’t good or you’re overseas and you don’t have wifi access. I was just kind of wondering if you used that before. Have you?

Carol:

I do not use Gmail. I actually have my own email servers with my businesses at Smart Women Travelers and I use it through outlook, so by connecting in outlook, I can do all the offline emails, all day long.

Jason:

You’ve got several apps listed on your website about road trips, which are kind of interesting. So, don’t limit it necessarily to just flights, but feel free to share some road trip apps, but also other business travel apps.

Carol:

There’s just so many apps out there. You know what I do, like find the latest, is I’ll go out to iTunes and go into the travel section and say what’s the most popular and I’ll try them out. You know, like HotelTonight is one that I know my family uses and I use just to say, you know, let’s pick a different city and let’s try to find a hotel tonight that’s reasonable and when you’re kind of going with the flow or doing a driving trip and you don’t necessarily have hotel reservations yet, that’s kind of fun to do. I have stayed at some really fun places for not a lot of money by using like an app like HotelTonight.

Photography apps, I use a lot of them because we’re always out there talking a lot of photos of our trips. What is – oh, PicCollage is one of my favorite photos apps just for combing – doing a collage of many photos. I was doing that Sunday in San Diego as a matter a fact. So you’re not posting one photo at a time, you take a few, you stick them in a collage, nice way to have a nice photo memory of your trip from where you’re at.

Jason:

Yeah, good. It’s good to explore the apps. Any particular things that you always pack that you really think are very helpful for successful travel?

Carol:

I pack as little as I can.

Jason:

Good point.

Carol:

Yeah.

Jason:

That’s a good start.

Carol:

Yes and part of me always want to leave home with every possible thing. I am always afraid of running out, like, let’s bring two little tubes of toothpaste, not one. I have to really restrict it, even as much as I travel. I still want to bring my whole cosmetic bag, but I learned I can get by quite successfully with leaving a lot of things at home. My hair does not fall out of my head if I use hotel shampoos. So, I do carry-on. I don’t usually check my bag unless I’m gone for many, many weeks.

Jason:

74 countries and I never check a bag anymore. 74 countries and counting. I am off to Europe next week and I’ll be 12 days, why check a bag? It’s too much of a hassle.

Carol:

I know.

Jason:

But I do find it really helps to have really high quality luggage and that can make it a lot easier to do the travel, especially when you’re checking stuff on and, of course, smart parking and light packing.

Carol:

Yes. In fact, my husband and I might differ on some ideas where he might buy a set of luggage, three pieces for $99 and I believe in better luggage and the – I mean, he was using a piece of his and the wheel came off on the first trip.

Jason:

Yeah, that’s not worth the hassle. What’s your favorite luggage brand?

Carol:

I’m using Samsonite as my main, my main bag. It’s a nice short 20in size. It fits in the overhead bin perfectly. It’s got an extension on it, so if I do pick up a lot of purchases on the way home. I can get another couple of inches in height. I have also got another really nice Hartmann bag that I like. So, those are a couple of my main brand at the moment.

Jason:

I tell you, I really like that German brand of luggage, which is the hard case type luggage. How do you say it? Rimowa? I bought one of their bags and I just, I love it. It’s $600, but I tell you. It’s so easy to push through the airports,even if I’m running to catch a plane. I mean, it’s just so high quality and it’s larger as a carry-on. You know, when you really look at the amount of space these carry-ons hold, just look at the number of liters of capacity inside the bag. I can’t remember the number so forgive me if I misquote this but, I think it’s like 55 liters in a carry-on bag.

Carol:

Yes.

Jason:

In your wheeled bag and then I just take a backup with that and I have different backpacks in different sizes depending on the trip. I’ve got a big one, you know, these are all sleek, stylish backpacks that don’t look like utility back packs. I can bring them to business meetings and those two things, I tell ya, I don’t know why I ever need to check a bag.

Carol:

I know.

Jason:

I used to check bags. I mean, just the weight and the hassle and the losing the luggage. I remember one time in Amsterdam, this was years ago, so I bet they wouldn’t be so generous today, but they gave me a $400 luggage allowance because they lost my luggage for a day and a half, which was quite generous I thought, so I went shopping in Amsterdam, bought some new clothes, but just takes a lot of time out of your trip Who wants to deal with that even if they do take care of you, you know? It’s not worth it.

Carol:

It does and it adds a lot of stress to your trip and time and then you’ve got to go out and buy clothes. It may be fun to get that voucher, but it’s often a hassle to get that voucher.

Jason:

It’s a hassle.

Carol:

It’s a hassle and then you’re taking away – either your business time or your pleasure time, you now have to go shopping. I hate waiting at the baggage carrousel for my bags. I just despise it.

Jason:

Of course, the damage issue too. Okay, share from the book any of these other trips for business travel success. You talk about confidence, which is kind of interesting. What do you want people to know? Questions I haven’t asked.

Carol:

Well, with confidence, it really is, you know, knowing your plan, having a plan B, and really be taking some bold actions you may not take at home. One of the things I like to do is venture out into food territory that would beyond my normal comfort zone. So, when I’m in a hotel within walking distance to a set of restaurants, I walk out the front door of the hotel and I say, I’m going to walk two blocks to the east or west, the first restaurant I see, that’s where I’m going to eat.

Jason:
That’s adventurous, yeah.

Carol:

And I don’t question it, because it may be a food that is not my – would not be my number five go to places, but I always find something I will eat and when I go into these restaurants, it’s a food I’m not familiar with and my most recent one was an Indian vegetarian. I’m not a specialist in that area. I asked the waiter what’s the most popular item ordered and I ate it. I don’t even remember what it was called. It was delicious. I had a nice, enjoyable meal, and I tried something I normally wouldn’t have tried and it just gets you more confident in the place that you’re at.

I often will ask taxi drivers, hotel people, not so much the concierge, but I wanna know where to go where they would take their family if they were in town, their mother, their cousins. I want to know where do you go as a local in this city. I don’t want to know where the concierge is going to want to send me where they send all the convention people, etc.

Jason:

Talk to us a little bit about safety while traveling. You have some chapters on hotel safety and so forth and would love to hear more about your tips there.

Carol:

Safety is such a huge thing and I think generally we think, if maybe a female thing, but there’s some common area that would just increase all of our safety and it’s even about our possessions. So, when we’re going through airport security, it’s easy to forget your iPad, your laptop, you’ll hear the airport doing an announcement that somebody lost their laptop. Have your name on everything. Keep your possessions safe. Put your business card on the back of your iPad, your phone, your laptop, names on everything. Your backpack like you mentioned you carry, definitely multiple times in your luggage so that it’s not only a…

Jason:

How do you put your name on backpack, do you have a tip on that?

Carol:

I offer some really strong luggage tags that are really, they’re not luggage looking.

Jason:
Oh, just with luggage tags. I got you, yeah.

Carol:

Luggage tags that are really secure. Put your business card, not just one, but put a few business cards on the inside pockets. Put your copy of your itinerary in there if you’re going to multiple places and that, so if it does get lost, but really it’s your business card and when I talk to luggage folks at the airport, the lost baggage, the baggage department. They said the number one reason bags do not get back to their owners is because there’s no name on or in the bag. They said they’ll go through the bag, they’ll look for prescription bottles, anything with a name on it, and they can not find a name.

So, beyond the luggage tag, it’s not just that, never use a simple paper airline ones. Get a good luggage tag that has a good, secure chain, you know, a lot of plastic, leather, metal, loop on it, but put your name on the inside of the bag in a couple of places, because then the bag is going to find you if you do check it, but you know, hotels.

I try to avoid rooms – I try to avoid hotels where the room is accessible from the outside, like a motel. I just feel safer when there’s an elevator system. I never like my room number being mentioned upon check in. Hey, you’re in room 408.

Jason:

I agree with you.

Carol:

Hotel desk may not say that, because they know better now generally, but when you check in for breakfast, they’ll be somebody, oh, what room are you in?

Jason:

Yeah, right.

Carol:

So, I avoid that. A lot of people use a packing list to make sure that they leave home with everything they want to. Well, for safety reason, I have a packing list when I check out of a hotel to make sure I don’t leave anything valuable behind, whether it’s my passport in the safe, any of my jewelry that might have been on the bathroom counter from the night before. My credit cards, anything like that. I have a packing check list for the way home to make sure everything goes with me back home, at of the dresser doors, etc.

Jason:

Any tips on getting a good night sleep?

Carol:

Getting a good night’s sleep. You know, you never know. It’s a wild card in a hotel. If you’ve got a end of the hall room, at least you’ve got a 50/50 chance of not having somebody next to you. Your headboard is not against somebody else.

Jason:

Don’t be near the ice maker.

Carol:

Do not be near the ice maker.

Jason:

Or the elevator, yeah.

Carol:

The elevator. You know, bring a pair of ear plugs if you can sleep in them. Some nights off, that helps. I try to keep all the lights low. Often their alarm clocks will have a lot of light to them. I’ll put a towel over them. I want the room as dark as possible and often the drapes may not close 100%. So you know, the trouser hangers they have hanging in the closet. They got the clips on them.

Jason:

Yeah, you can use. Oh, that’s a good idea. You know. I bring a clip with me, like a chip clips, you know those metal clips where you clip a big stack of papers together and I’ll use that on the drapes to clip them together, but your idea is even better. I don’t have to bring anything. I just have to use the trouser hanger in the closet.

Carol:

It works good as long as the hotel doesn’t like, lock their hangers.

Jason:

To the rod, yeah, but hopefully you’re not staying in cheap hotels like that anyway.

Carol:

Well, sometimes I find that in Europe, you know, I find that even in a lot of the hotels I stay for business is just, I hate those.

Jason:

You know, I’ve got another tip, of course, ear plugs are the traveler’s best friend and an eye mask as well. The other thing I just recently started doing is I went on Amazon. I bought a little cheap LED. It’s important it’s an LED night light. Now, this is easy to forget, okay, but a lot of them – I do put the night light in the bathroom. I plug it in there, so if I get up at night, I don’t have to use the rest room, I don’t have to turn all the lights on and wake myself up. I just wanna be able to walk over there in a relatively dark room and use it without turning all the lights on, because dimming those lights.

It’s very important our pineal gland is what sense light from the environment, tells the rest of our body whether or not we should be sleepy. So, if you’re jet lagged. I mean, this may not seem like a big deal, but if you’re jet lagged, it’s a big deal, okay. Every little thing like this helps, yeah. If you’ve got to sleep during day time hours in order to catch up and get on the clock, you know, yeah.

Carol:

Yes, I like your idea of the, you know, portable night light that you bring with you. We do the same thing. We don’t want any extra light in the actual bedroom then we have to have a night, but we’re of that age where we’re getting up in the middle of the night or if you’re 12 hours off your time zone, chances are you maybe getting up in the middle of the night. You don’t want to be fumbling around a room, stubbing your toe. A friend recently hit her ankle on the end of a hotel bed and ended up with a sprained ankle, because of not having any kind of night light. So, you know, include that on your packing up list when you go home so you don’t want to leave that behind.

Jason:

Absolutely, absolutely. Social media while traveling, tips there?

Carol:

You know, I’m such a – I’m 50/50 on that because I love to share where I’m at. You know I talk about travel, but I also want to keep my home safe. If my home is vacant a lot, so I don’t want to be broadcasting I’m gone a lot. So, sometimes I’ll take a lot of – I always take a lot of photos..

Jason:

There’s even a website for that, Carol. I should tell you, there’s a website. I think it’s called RobMe.com where – I think it came up in the days where people were checking in on foursquare, you know, and the whole world knows you’re not home.

Carol:

Yes. You know, even though I’ve gotten an alarm, it’s just creepy, but I take a ton of photos, I might post them when I get home, sometimes I post when I’m there, but you know, if you’re a parent and you’re traveling with your kids, you may say, we’re not going – I’m not going to post anything myself to let anyone know that we’re gone, but your kids may be posting. So, if it is something you are going to do with the family, make sure you include that in, because kids are posting everything on social media. I just in on foursquare. I do it for myself. I don’t publish it, because I like to that history of where I’ve been.

Jason:

Well, Carol, give out your website, tell people where they can find out more about you.

Carol:

Okay, I’ve got two. SmartWomenTravelers.com and if you’re not a female, that’s fine, 90% of my travel information is for all genders and my other one is BusinessTravelSuccess.com and my book is available on both of them.

Jason:

Carol Margolis, thank you so much for joining us.

Carol:

Thank you, Jason.

Announcer:

This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, all rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.hartmanmedia.com or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network Inc. exclusively.

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