Take it Light

Don't let business trips weigh you down. Learn about the travel trends and products that can take a load off your mind--and your time.

the privacy of their rooms.

Have the recognition and special amenities for women business travelers helped Wyndham’s bottom line? Cary Broussard, a spokesperson for the hotel, says feedback has been more than positive. “What we’re finding is that more women are trying our hotels for the first time,” Brossard says. “This is a growing market for the entire industry and it shouldn’t be overlooked.”

AmEx and Microsoft team up on new corporate travel service
Quick: What’s your company’s preferred hotel, airline and car rental agency? If you don’t know, you’re probably costing your company a bundle when you make reservations. American Express and Microsoft have put an end to the question with a new online travel reservations system called AXI (American Express Interactive). It’s different from consumer travel Web sites in that it incorporates company-negotiated rates–which can be 10%-35% lower than those published–and flags the reservations when preferred suppliers are not chosen. A low-fare search tool automatically compares published and negotiated fares to ensure that you are offered the best deal.

The site features access to hotel, destination and weather information, and allows you to check the on-time status of your flight. If you have a dinner meeting and want to know how close it is to your hotel, the system’s “hotel finder” will map it out for you onscreen. I se “flight finder” to view an airline seat map and select a seat–just like travel agents do–and “car finder” to choose your preferred vehicle. What’s more, AXI lets you create and save your itinerary and expense report, all through the convenience of your laptop or desktop PC.

In order to use the system, a company must use American Express as its business travel agency. Midsize companies (those with 10 or more traveling employees) are also eligible; AmEx customizes the program for each client. AXI can operate within multiple system environments, and offers an Internet, intranet or extranet connection. Transaction fees are expected to be up to 40% less than traditional telephone booking.

Q Now that I carry my laptop with me, I’m finding myself loaded down. Any suggestion?
–Jalia Larsuel, owner of J.L. Media, an events planning and PR firm in Los Angeles
A Since computer bags are considered carry ons, you’ll need a multifunctional bag to hold your computer, plus other business and personal items. Pick a case that is high quality, comfortable to wear and easy to work from. For security reasons, choose one with a lock. Some luggage companies, like Travel-pro, have cases that attach to your wheelbound luggage. Tutto makes an “office on wheels” called the Pilot Case with an external frame and four wheels, pulled by a U-shaped pull- bar. Companies such as Tenba and Haliburton also specialize in appropriate soft-sided cases for computers.
By Judith Gilford, author of The Packing Book (Ten Speed Press) $8.95)

Survival tools for business travelers
Berlitz Business Cassette Packs This book/audio combination pack provides today’s travelers with essential business terms and phrases necessary to communicate in a foreign country. Learn how to make appointments,

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