Archive for the 'Business Travel/Corporate Travel' Category

How to Efficiently Pack a Suitcase

The widespread implementation of checked bag fees has made all of us want to travel lighter and bring more with less bags. It turns out though that many of us don’t know how to get the most out of a suitcase. Packing efficiently will save you lots of time, money and space wherever you go and Gizmodo has a great article on how to do just that. Here’s their main points:

Don’t bring what you don’t need:
Here’s how much of each article of clothing you should pack and it’s not as many as you think:

Socks and underwear: One pair of each per day traveled.
Shirts and dresses: Two less than the total trip length. Wear the same outfit on the flight there and back.
Pants: A pair of jeans for every other day. These can be replaced with slacks if the occasion calls for them.
Shoes: A pair of sneakers or sandals. Bring boots or formal shoes if needed. If you need to bring boots, wear them on the flight.
Coats and Jackets: Wear these on your flight. If you’re going to a warm weather destination don’t even bother with them.
Toiletries: Pack the essentials in a small bag. Make sure any liquids are in a TSA compliant container.

Know the Weather: Take a look at the extended forecast for your destination and pack accordingly.

Roll or Fold:
Roll anything that you don’t mind getting wrinkled. It is far more space efficient. Folding should only be reserved for nicer clothing that you don’t want to iron later.

The Order of Packing:

1. Stuff your shoes full with socks and underwear and put the shoes in first.
2. Put in your heaver rolled items like jeans and sweatshirts squeezed in as tightly as possible.
3 (optional). Put in any fragile items you have. Putting them in the middle will make sure they’re cushioned at all times.
4. Put in the lighter tightly rolled items like t-shirts and underwear
5. On top of all of that place your nicer, folded clothing.
6. Stuff any other lightweight items into the sides.
7. Put your toiletries bag on top.

Coming Home
You can be less precise in your packing on the return trip. I recommend investing in a compressor bag like this one for all of your dirty clothes. At this point you probably don’t really care about wrinkling your dirty clothes so just use a compressor bag to drastically reduce the space taken up by your clothing. This will allow you ample space to fit souvenirs from your trip.


This doesn’t have to be you.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

A Map of Air Travel in 1929

Flying across the country is a whole lot easier than it used to be. Today you can spend a few hundred bucks to get a non-stop flight from New York to San Francisco and you can get there in about 6 hours. Back in the twenties though that whole long-distance air travel thing was a lot more complicated. Even though great advances in aviation were made during that decade like Charles Lindburgh’s first non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean and the advent of in-flight entertainment, flying was still quite new, dangerous, and lacked much of the infrastructure that airlines heavily rely on today.

The David Rumsey map collection has an incredible flight map of America from 1929 and it shows you how difficult it would be to cross our country as quickly as possible back then. A trip from New York to San Francisco back then would require several train rides over hundreds of miles and layovers at fourteen different airports. Even though back then there were planes like The Spirit of St. Louis that were able to fly over 3000 non-stop miles, those planes were only designed to hold one or two people. The earliest passenger planes of that era had to carry far more people and weight and therefore had a much shorter range. It really is amazing how quickly commercial aviation has advanced to the point where almost anyone can hop on a plane and cross a continent or an ocean in the course of a few hours. It is something that our ancestors would be quite envious of.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

Things You Should Pack to Survive the Worst Parts of Flying

Today many people will be flying all over the country to be with their families tomorrow on Thanksgiving and the skies will be packed with many infrequent flyers. Add to that some miserable weather in one of the busiest areas of the country and you have a flyer’s nightmare on your hands. However, many of these common flying woes are entirely predictable and with some strategic packing you can make a bad experience more tolerable. Lifehacker has a great article up listing some of the best things you should pack in your carry-on to help you combat some of the most common problems encountered during a flight.

Problem: Your flight is delayed.
Solution: Always bring something to entertain yourself like a book, magazine, e-reader, computer, or tablet.

Problem: The plane runs out of food or drinks.
Solution: Always pack an empty water bottle that you can refill after you pass through security and have a few small snacks ready. I always make sure to pack a few granola bars.

Problem: Your electronics are running out of battery life and you have no place to charge them.
Solution: A USB backup battery is a great thing to have handy for these situations. These batteries can give a much needed charge to anything chargeable with a USB cable which includes most of today’s smartphones and tablets.

Problem: Parts of your body are starting to hurt from sitting in the plane’s torture devices economy class seats for too long.
Solution: Pillows and pills. You can get some great portable pillows to support your neck in the terminal and any spare clothing you bring can make an improvised lumbar pillow. It may be wise to bring some over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen to help dull some of the pain you’re feeling on the flight.


If your airport looks like this, chances are no one is going anywhere for a while.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

Six Ways to Avoid Airline Fees

Now is a pretty good time to be an airline customer. Cutthroat competition has reduced airfares to some of the lowest levels in history (adjusted for inflation) and that has been a great deal for all travelers. However, to make up the drop in revenue caused by low fares airlines have made up the difference with fees for everything they used to offer for free. The good news about fees is that if you approach them correctly you can almost completely avoid them. Forbes has a great article up that shares some great tips to make sure that you pay only for the price of your boarding pass and no more:

Don’t check bags – Try to travel light enough that you only need two small carry-on items. Fees for checked bags average around $25 per bag and usually escalate for additional checked bags. At the same time don’t be that guy who brings way too much luggage into the cabin just to avoid the fees and hogs up all of the overhead compartments. Pack light and efficiently and you’ll save money.

Check fees beforehand – If you know that you must check bags, check the fee structures of the various carriers before you buy your ticket. You need to remember to add that into the cost of your ticket when shopping. Some airlines like Southwest have far better checked bag fees and policies than others.

Weigh your luggage – Checked bags often come with weight limits and exceeding those limits can cost a lot of money you didn’t expect to spend. For frequent travelers a luggage scale is a wise investment for smart packing. One good tip is to put some of the heaviest items you have in your carry-on. While there are technically weight limits to carry-on items they are very rarely enforced.

Don’t pay for early boarding – You don’t want to be the last person to board the plane if you’re checking no bags but it’s not worth it to pay $20 to cut in line. The trick is knowing ahead of time how the airline loads their planes and selecting your seat accordingly. Some airlines load back to front or window seats first and if you know that and pick your seat accordingly you can make sure you’re not the last person on without paying extra.

Unplug
– In-flight wi-fi really isn’t worth it yet. It’s not available for the first and last 30 minutes of the flight and it’s not entirely reliable at all points in between. It may be worth it if you’re taking an 8+ hour flight across an ocean but for shorter flights you don’t really need that internet access.

Uncheck those boxes – When you’re going through the process of buying a plane ticket online the airline will try to upsell you at every turn. The box for things like travel insurance and early boarding are often automatically checked by the airline hoping you wouldn’t notice it until they actually have more of your money than you thought. Make sure not to rush through the process of buying your tickets and read through everything. They’re trying to sneak stuff by you, don’t let them do it.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

How to Ace Winter Air Travel

I really hate the trend that has become known as the “Christmas Creep” Every year it seems like businesses across the country start their marketing for the holiday season earlier and earlier in the year. This year I saw my first holiday-themed ad in September and it made me want to cry. All that being said I’m going to be writing about holiday travel before Halloween today but there’s a very good reason for that. If you anticipate that you’re going to be traveling for the winter holidays now is probably the best time to start looking at your options. With winter approaching, Conde Nast has a great article sharing some excellent air travel advice for the coming winter months. Here are some of the highlights:

The cheapest days of the year to fly. Early December and late January are typically when you’ll find some of the cheapest airfares of the year.

Book Presidents’ Day weekend in early December. Prices probably won’t come down much before then.

Try going to a cooler big city instead of a resort.
You can get some great deals in the winter by opting to go to a city like New York, Washington DC or San Francisco because there is less business travel there in the winter.

Consider alternate airports. For example, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale are good substitutes for Orlando and Miami respectively in Florida. You may have a longer drive to your final destination but you’ll save a lot on airfare.

Schedule connecting flights out of Southern airports.
Those airports are far less likely to experience weather related problems in the winter.

Fly early. Early morning flights are cheaper and have the best chance of going out on time.

If your flight is cancelled:

Be the first to find out. This increases your chances of getting an alternate flight that works for you. Flightstats.com is a good tool to use to get the most up-to-date information.

Have an alternate flight in mind before contacting your airline. You don’t want to depend on just the airline to find you the flight you want. Besides, telling them the exact flight you want will insure you get it faster and save everyone a lot of time.

When all else fails consider going to Vegas. If you know you’re not going to be getting to your destination for a while, Las Vegas is a pretty good place to wait it out. It has a huge airport with lots of flights, cheap hotels, and clear weather. Besides it’s better to be stuck in Las Vegas than the frozen tundra of Chicago, Detroit, or Minneapolis.


You want to avoid this fate at all costs.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

9 Great Apps for Business Travel

It is truly amazing how much travel has improved over the years. A whole industry used to exist just to navigate through the complicated logistics of making travel plans which has since been made obsolete by the Internet. I seriously doubt that anyone born after 1990 could tell you what a travel agency was. Now with the invention and proliferation of smartphones and data plans, many travel apps are making business travel simpler than ever. CNN Money has a great article on the some of the best new apps that are out right now that can further simplify your travel experience:

1. Hipmunk – Helps you find lodging accommodation as close as possible to where you will be working.

2. Mynd Calendar – Calculates travel times based on real-time traffic data and lets people know you’ll be late with one button.

3. Refresh – Pulls information on the people you will be meeting from their various social media profiles.

4. Traxo – Organizes your whole itinerary into a “travel wallet”

5. FlightTrack Pro – Shows you real-time flight information, weather conditions, and terminal maps.

6. Taxi Magic – Allows you to reserve a taxi at the airport ahead of time before you land.

7. Silvercar – Use this to rent an Audi A4 minutes after you get off the plane.

8. Urban Daddy – Offers specialized restaurant recommendations based on your situation.

9. MyCityWay – The ultimate mobile guidebook for 110 cities across the country.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

A Room With a View of an Airport

If you ever drive around the streets and highways close to any major airport you will always find lots and lots of hotels. After all it makes sense that many travelers would want to stay close to an airport if they have a flight the next morning. Also, unexpected flight cancellations and layovers happen all the time which sometimes require a flight to be pushed back to the next day leading to all of the passengers spending a night at one of those nearby hotels on the airline’s dime. I’ve personally been in a situation like that multiple times.

As one can imagine, so many hotels being in such a small area breeds some pretty cutthroat competition and that leads to situations where those hotels will do anything they can to get a leg up. The New York Times recently discussed a case of Marriott coming up with a pretty unusual idea at their hotel outside Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The upper floors have an unobstructed view of the airport’s runways which offers a great view of planes taking off and landing and they’re trying to milk it for all it’s worth. Those rooms with a view come with a private balcony, a runway map, an airplane guide, and binoculars and are marketed specifically towards aviation enthusiasts and leisure travelers.

That sort of deal should send up some serious red flags for anyone who’s flown on a plane or have seen the New York Mets play at home. The sound of a jet engine running 100 feet away from you is about 140 decibels. That’s not just loud enough to keep just about anyone up at night, that’s loud enough to do serious damage to your hearing. Considering that most of us get hotel rooms for the purpose of having a place to sleep when we’re away from home that’s a pretty big problem. Mariott’s solution is some pretty serious soundproofing. The hotel’s windows are two inches thick and the walls and insulation are much thicker than that of an average building. After that it’s just a PR offensive to convince potential customers that the rooms are actually quiet enough where you can get a good night’s sleep. As for me though, I’d gladly trade a close up view of an airport and a shorter trip to that airport for the darkness and silence that I need to sleep at night.


I wonder if they offer noise cancelling headphones upon request.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

FAA to Ease Restrictions on Using your Gadgets

In an announcement that all airplane passengers will love, a FAA panel endorsed the easing of restrictions on the use of personal electronics during flights even when planes are on the ground or below 10,000 feet in altitude. More specifically, they want to ease restrictions on using electronics in a way that doesn’t communicate outside the plane below 10,000 feet. So you will soon be free to use your kindle, listen to music, watch movies, and play video games at all times during your flight. You still won’t be allowed to access the internet below 10,000 feet nor will you be allowed to send or receive phone calls or text messages at any point during your flight.

The FAA’s restrictions on personal electronics use originated in the 1950s when it was discovered that passengers bringing radios on their flights interfered with the navigation equipment in the cockpit. The same thing happened when the use of cell phones became widespread and using them on planes is still banned to this day. The FAA though has been gradually easing off restrictions on electronics use especially since both plane and electronics manufacturers have been designing their products so that they don’t interfere with one another. Planes today now have in-flight wi-fi while tablets and smartphones have airplane modes. In a recent stunt Amazon loaded up a passenger airliner full of kindles turned on to see if it affected the flight instruments, which it didn’t.

It turns out that airlines are welcoming this news too. Part of a flight attendant’s job is enforcing the rules and the current rules about personal electronics are difficult to enforce. A rule that has very little scientific backing and is difficult to justify that is openly broken by many travelers leads to unnecessary tensions between airlines and customers that both would like to avoid. Airlines would much rather have their flight attendants spend their time enhancing the customer experience rather than confronting passengers for breaking a silly rule. Also when you have a rule about safety that is widely ignored it undermines all of the other important rules about safety. For all of these reasons the FAA panel recommended easing restrictions and everyone involved will be happy when they’re all finally gone.


That is the only business I can think of that will be disappointed by this news.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

New York Highways Now Featuring Text Stops

Texting and driving is a real problem that causes thousands of car accidents every year and has tragically cost people their very lives. In response to this public safety concern, some state and local governments are coming up with some creative solutions beyond upping the legal penalty to doing it and repeatedly telling everyone “DON”T TEXT AND DRIVE”. New Jersey recently passed a law that would allow police to search through drivers’ cell phones at the scene of an accident which seems destined to be fought all the way to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, New York is taking a more interesting approach. The New York State Police are investing in police vehicles where the cabin is elevated well above that of a normal car so police can see if other drivers have phones in their laps.

New York State also recently unveiled some new highway signs. They are rebranding existing park and ride stops and rest areas on their public highways as places where you can pull over and safely text people. This is kind of a brilliant idea when you think about it. When driving long distances seeing a sign that a rest area is coming up provides one with a level of psychological satisfaction. You know that in a few miles you can have access to something to eat and bathroom facilities. Governor Andrew Cuomo is hoping that same principle will apply to motorists who are tempted to text on the road. Best of all is that it costs the state very little money to make a few new highway signs. Better yet all of the rest areas on the Thruway already have free wi-fi so you don’t even have to use up your precious data if you want the internet at a rest area. This is an incredibly simple, cheap, and creative solution to solving a very real problem our society faces.


Text stops, not rest stops will soon dominate New York highways.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available in New York and Nationwide. For more information please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com.

Flyers are Willing to Part With Many Things to Get Fast, Reliable Wi-Fi

It appears we’re witnessing a sea change in the consumer preferences of air travelers. It has long been known that many flyers want to get the very cheapest airfare they can get their hands on and this cutthroat competition has resulted on many airlines scaling back the usual amenities. It seems like every time I get on a plane the complementary bag of pretzels or peanuts gets smaller and smaller, and the miniature bottles of liquor get more and more expensive. It seems though that many American passengers are willing to give up some of those amenities entirely in exchange for one thing, complementary in-flight high-speed wi-fi. The problem is that unlike more conventional amenities that can just be loaded onto a plane, turning an aluminum tube flying 30,000 feet above the Earth at 450 miles per hour into high-speed hotspot is incredibly difficult.

Difficult yes, but not impossible. It turns out that airliners are getting the message loud and clear too. Airlines all over the world are starting to bring this capability to all of their flights thanks to satellite broadband. For example JetBlue’s most recent overhaul has resulted in having 180 planes that can provide a connection speed of 12 megabits per second which leagues ahead of the average broadband connection speed in the United States which is 8.6 megabits per second. But perhaps the most interesting part of the survey is how much passengers would be willing to sacrifice to stay connected like that. While things like meals, drinks, legroom, and reclining seats were all on the chopping block, the most interesting response was that 13 percent of American passengers would give up the right to use the plane’s bathroom in exchange for a fast connection. Now those are people who really can’t unplug.


I can hold it, now let me stream Breaking Bad over the Pacific Ocean.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.