By Mark Chesnut
As temperatures cool, school semesters start and autumn rapidly approaches, travel patterns shift. Here are five ways that business travelers can make their fall travel go more smoothly.
1. Watch the weather reports. Hurricane Irene is, unfortunately, a perfect example of the type of disruptive natural occurrences that can wreak havoc on travel plans, as it also presents serious threats to general safety. Be vigilant about storms and consider buying travel insurance or paying non-refundable — and therefore more flexible — fares in order to protect yourself from unforeseen complications.
2. Pack appropriately. Marie Lotode Chandra, owner of ViaHerWorld.com — a site that caters to female business travelers — notes that autumn weather can be especially unpredictable. “It is therefore important to pack wisely,” she says. “Make sure to pack a jacket that will work with all your outfits.” Practical advice, regardless of gender.
3. Take advantage of off-peak season perks. Don’t miss your last chance (usually by December) to grab value rates on meetings, and incentive group travel to the Caribbean and Mexico. Once winter arrives, those prices will go straight up.
4. Consider the benefits of booking hotels during shoulder season. At many hotels, the fall is not as busy as summer, and also less hectic than winter vacation months. This means that hotel deals may be more attractive for both business and leisure travelers. (With the exception of major holidays like Thanksgiving, which you should avoid anyway when it comes to business travel.)
5. Make time for fun. When visiting places like New England or upstate New York, extend your business trip by a day or two, bring along a loved one, and take in those fabulous fall colors.
Mark Chesnut is a travel writer, editor and publisher of LatinFlyer.com, which focuses on leisure and business travel to Latin America.