Whether you are traveling to another city for real estate investing, speculation, booking speakers, attending conferences/workshops, or just to get away there are several technology tips that will save you money and time.
- http://www.Kayak.com. This site offers the quickest compare for hotels, flights, and rental cars. It has several ways to search by your preferences. There are also links to search hotwire, priceline, expedia, travelocity, and airfare.com in a new browser. The list view, matrix view, and chart view give alternative ways to see pricing and airline selection. The chart view shows the cheapest day to fly out if your schedule is flexible.
- http://www.EverNote.com. If you have ever had a good idea and could never write it down, or you saw something that you wanted to take a picture of and be able to save it online EverNote is your solution. This website allows you to take pictures from your cell phone and email to yourself which will store the picture and store online for future retrieval. Examples of pictures would include a snapshot of a business card, picture of a house, picture of a marketing idea or a picture of happy customers. EverNote gives you your own email address that automatically uploads. Save this email address in your contact record in Outlook or own contact management software.
- http://TripIt.com. Sometimes arranging all of your travel itineraries can be troublesome because you have multiple reservations for airlines, hotels, and rental cars. Many steps are needed to print each document, share itineraries with others, or locating the emails from each service provider. TripIt is the all in one solution that lets you email your flight, hotel, and rental car reservation all to TripIt which produces one itinerary for you. You can then access the schedule of events online and invite others to share your reservation confirmations. The mobile version is m.tripit.com which allows you to access everything from your PDA telephone.
- Ship your luggage. Airlines are now charging up to $25 for every checked piece of luggage each way which will add $50 to your round trip ticket. Send your luggage by UPS or USPS instead using their ground delivery service to your hotel or point of destination. This could save you the trouble of carrying your bags and the difference between what the airlines charge and the mail carrier. Make sure that add the tracking and insurance if you have valuable items.
- Text notifications. Almost every airline now can send you a text message prior to the flight to give you the current status. The message will look like, “Flight #5050 to St. Louis International (STL) departing on time 1:45pm (CST). This could save you the trouble from taking an unnecessary trip to the airport if your flight was in fact delayed.
- Print your boarding pass. I love the airlines that let me print my boarding pass from my computer so I don’t have to wait in line. I am very impatient when it comes to waiting in unnecessary and try to avoid them at all costs. Do this and save yourself at least 15-30 minutes at the check in.
- Register for reward programs. If you spend money on any sort of travel register for their rewards programs. This includes air, hotel, and rental car. The payback from these services can be huge if you travel frequently and maximize the opportunity. If you take four trips a year for a few days at a time, the point can add up quickly. More importantly just by signing up allows you to receive free upgrades, newspapers, bigger cars, and exceptions to the rule.
- http://www.FlightAware.com. This website tracks more than 5,000 airplanes and 45,000 flights daily. This site caters to pilots, air traffic control, and business professional who want immediate information on what flights are on time, being cancelled, and airline safety.
- Google Maps. If you use your PDA telephone and have installed the Google Map program then you can never get lost. I can’t tell you how many times that I have typed in the address in my phone and showed the cab driver how to get to my final destination. It’s easy, Type in the address and type search.
- Text message to Google. Almost every phone has text messaging (SMS) today. Send a text message to 46645 and type in weather + zip code (weather 63141) and you will receive a text message back in minutes with the weather. Google SMS will let you search weather, sport scores, track stocks, flight statuses, and find local businesses i.e. restaurants, starbucks, and hotels.
Here is the perfect example. I want to take a trip to Orlando, Florida for the National Association of REALTORS convention from November 4-10th. I book my flight using www.Kayak.com to find the best rate. I then receive an email from from the airline and I forward to tripit.com, I make the reservation (a non NAR registered) hotel and forward the itinerary to tripit.com. I rent a car to and forward that reservation too. Each reservation gives me an upgrade because I am a valued rewards member. Before I leave I go to the post office to ship some clothes that I don’t want to check in for my luggage. A few minutes before the flight departs I receive a text message from the airline that the flight is on time. Just to be sure I text message 46645 (Google without the E) and enter aa5050 and it tells me the flight status too. I don’t wait in line when I arrive at the airport because I printed out my boarding pass from the email confirmation I received. I don’t have to check any bags because I shipped them already. When I get to the airport I go straight to the taxi and give him the hotel address and ask him to take me there. If he/she does not know where that it is I open my Google Maps application on my phone and enter in the address. I show them the phone and they get me there. While I’m in the taxi I see a yard sign that has been ripped in half and I take a picture of the sign with my camera phone and then email to EverNote for future reference. I then get to my computer and make a marketing flyer that says, “We will survive this market. List with us.”
I hope to see you in Orlando, Florida for the National Association of REALTORS Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida. I will be speaking three times during closed sessions but willing to share those presentations with you. All you have to do is ask.