Business Travel Tips: City Transportation
Business travelers have a few options for getting around on a trip, but which way is most efficient?
Whether a business traveler uses a taxi, a rental car or public transportation depends on safety, convenience and cost, says Kathy Ameche, WomanRoadWarrior.com blogger and author of The Woman Road Warrior: A Woman's Guide to Domestic and International Travel.
Ameche suggests working within a budget and then seeking advice from guidebooks, clients and colleagues. For example, experienced New York City travelers know public transportation is bountiful and a car is unnecessary. And on a recent trip to Hong Kong, Ameche learned from a friend that using a combination of subways and taxis was easier and more cost-efficient compared to solely using taxis to navigate the city.
It helps to check State Department warnings and news alerts for unexpected obstacles when traveling internationally if strikes, protests or other safety concerns rule out public transportation. Ask seasoned travelers about a destination’s most efficient transportation option on LinkedIn forums and consult corporate travel agents.
Choosing the best mode of transportation on a business trip also depends heavily on personal preference. For example, American comedian Dan Nainan says that saving money and helping the environment are his 2 most important criteria when he travels.
Here’s how to make your choice among taxis, mass transit or rental cars:
Public Transportation is best if you want to save money, if there's bad weather, if you have minimal luggage and you're not jet lagged.Mass transit can be time-consuming, says Jason Clampet, senior online editor for travel guide Frommers.com. He recommends websites such as PublicTransportation.org, Hopstop.com or APTA.org to find public transportation nationally, determine how long it could take and estimate the cost. To avoid traffic delays caused by inclement weather, take the subway, says Ann Lombardi, a travel consultant with The Trip Chicks of Atlanta, a tour operator. Users of an iPad, iPhone or iTunes should access the app AllSubway HD to view more than 100 mass-transit maps internationally in case of unexpected obstacles along the way.
Heavy luggage will slow you down while walking through tunnels, up and down stairs and down the street. And taking public transportation requires alertness. You need to pay attention to make sure you get there on time and problem-free, especially on a new transit system. It’s best to avoid a subway or bus when you’re exhausted, Lombardi says.
Taking a cab is a good idea when you need to look your best, you're pressed for time and you're concerned about safety.Traveling in hot or rainy weather leaves you looking disheveled. If the cost of a taxi is a concern, check WorldTaxiMeter.com for rates in a few dozen cities worldwide to budget the expense.
Veteran cab drivers can provide fast and hassle-free service, but nix the taxi or suggest a different route when there are traffic jams. Check Traffic.com for real-time updates on your smartphone or computer before you hop in, Lombardi says.
It may be unsafe to take mass transit at night or drive a rental car in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Take a marked taxi or consider hiring a driver when necessary, Ameche says.
Rent a car when your meetings are scattered, the cost of parking and gas is not an issue and you desire freedom.Randall M. Kessler, a frequent traveler with the American Bar Association, says he rents a car in cities where business centers tend to be more spread out and are difficult or costly to get to, such as Jacksonville, FL, or Portland, OR.
Parking and gas could cost up to $100 a day in some cities, not including the cost of the rental. Rent a car if taking taxis would be more expensive.
And if you prefer to have a car available whenever you need it or to explore during free time, rent a car with a GPS to help you get around more easily.