Travel Tip: Take a Photo of Your Hotel Door

4455716138_5093fa541e_zToo many hotel stays in too many weeks? Even for the most “present” business traveler, it can all become a blur. You get in the hotel elevator and rack your brain to try to recall which floor you’re on…in this hotel.

Problem solved: on your phone. A hotel executive told me one of her best travel tips is to take a quick photo of the room door–and number–when checking in. Then, when you find yourself in the elevator drawing a big blank, just pull out your phone’s camera roll, murmur, “Oh, that’s right,” and punch the elevator button.

I tend to keep the paper key sleeve on which the front desk clerk has written the room number, for just this purpose. But my friend points out that, especially for women traveling alone, it’s a safer bet to throw away the sleeve and use the photo instead.

Photo: Flickr/Xavez

How to Get on the Inside Track

Social media groups can put business travelers on the inside track.

Social media groups can put business travelers on the inside track.

Love it or hate it, the fact is that there’s lots of valuable information shared on social media. Check out my post on TravelSkills.com to learn about five social media groups for the ultra-connected business traveler.

Photo credit: (Flickr/Jason Howie)

Travel Tip: Mileage Run, the Old-Fashioned Way

It can be hard squeeze in exercise when you travel for work. Your daily 6-a.m.-trip-to-the-gym habit at home may be disrupted when instead you’re headed to the airport at 6 a.m. Or you’ve had a very late night in your hotel room prepping for a presentation. The next best thing to a serious run or focused hour in the hotel fitness room is to fold some physical activity into your day. Where better than the airport?

That’s why I loved this tip from the always-inspiring Peter Shankman: Fire up your RunKeeper app (I use MapMyRun instead) when you get to the airport, walk, walk, walk, check your mileage, and then push yourself a little farther instead of lining up for a mocha when Starbucks opens.

Dining Direction

Travel tip: How to get an insider restaurant recommendation

Selecting the right restaurant in a city you’re visiting can be daunting. Make the wrong pick and you’ve wasted an opportunity to have a memorable meal someplace new. Danny Meyer, restaurateur and author of Setting the Table, offered what I thought was a brilliant tip in a Wall Street Journal Q/A this weekend: When you dine at a restaurant you enjoy during a trip, ask the staff there to recommend other local restaurants they think serve the same caliber of meal. As he says, the question is sure to get them talking, and you’ll leave with some insider recommendations.

Fire!

Travel tip: Request the seventh floor or lower in a hotel for fire safety.

Unless you’re obsessed with a view (and plan to spend enough time in your hotel room to enjoy it), ask for a room on a lower floor of your hotel. Fire truck ladders generally reach 100 feet, which is approximately seven floors. Even if you do not require a window rescue, you’ll be glad about your choice when your escape is a short trip down the stairs from the sixth floor instead of the twenty-sixth.

What are the chances you’ll be in a hotel fire? Unlikely, perhaps. But then the chances are actually quite high, if you’re a business traveler, that you’ll experience a fire alarm on a trip and need to evacuate. In which case, you’ll also appreciate your low floor. I love this pilot’s first-hand account of the irritation of multiple hotel fire alarms.

Unfortunately, this tip isn’t fool-proof. On a recent stay in Seattle, I opened my sixth-floor room’s curtains and looked down. Beneath me there was no street, just the roof of the hotel’s giant ballroom. Oh well. I didn’t lose any sleep over it.