Taking a business trip means undertaking some fundamental tasks that smart travelers never skimp on. Here's a checklist that will help you pack correctly for Paris, get cash quickly in Hong Kong, and cruise through the biggest nightmare of them all — filing that expense report.
You're sitting in a hotel room in Paris, frantically trying to get online so you can email the report you wrote on the flight over. You don't know the connection type or the country code, you don't have the right power plug and teleadapter-and you wouldn't recognize them if you saw them.
Go to: TeleAdapt Online (http://www.teleadapt.com)
Outstanding Characteristic: Ease of use
If you're traveling to Paris, visit the TeleAdapt Page before you go. You'll find, for example, that the CompuServe number to dial up in Paris is 1-47-89-39-40. Now go to the TeleAdapt Online Sales Desk, type in your credit-card number, and order an acoustic coupler for your modem. That way, you can get online as soon as you unpack.
Research a Destination
When it comes to business trips, success depends on using time efficiently — not just when you get there, but before you leave.
Go to: Microsoft Expedia (http://www.expedia.com)
Outstanding Characteristic: One-stop shopping
Expedia is really an online travel center that lets you book flights, hotels, and rental cars. It also dispenses useful travel advice: to steer clear of the crowds, book early morning and late night flights, choose alternative airports like Chicago's Midway instead of O'Hare, and travel on days other than Fridays and Sundays. And if you need a cab in Dayton, call 1-800-USA-TAXI and get connected to local dispatchers.
Find Your Way Around
You've finished your business in Fresno. You've got you rental car. Next stop: Cisco Systems. Now how the hell do you get there?
Go to: MapQuest (http://www.mapquest.com)
Outstanding characteristic: Zoom-in capability
Log on to MapQuest, type in Cisco Systems, San Jose, California, and up pops a detailed map. Click on the map, and you can zero in on Cisco's exact street location. Link to TripQuest (a feature on the MapQuest site), type in the trip's origin and destination, and it answers with directions for driving, plus distance. It's 152.9 miles from Fresno to San Jose, so you'd better get truckin'.
It's 7 PM in Boston and your workday is done. You decide to take in a Bruins game. Trouble is, the scalpers don't take plastic. So where's the nearest ATM?
Go to: Visa's ATM Locator
Outstanding Characteristic: Detailed maps
The Visa locator lets you conduct a general or specific search. Click on Boston, and you get a map with the three ATMs closest to you. There's one at 745 Boylston Street — right across from your hotel, the Lenox. Visa's locator works for any city in the country.
Deal with the Paperwork
Even though you're back at the office, the trip's not over — it's time to file the expense report!
Check Out: Quicken ExpensAble 2.0 for Windows
Outstanding Characteristic The automatic organizer and calculator.
ExpensAble takes some of the pain out of the paperwork by tallying your expenses for you. It also charts and graphs your spending patterns, converts foreign currency, itemizes hotel bills, creates customized forms — it can even roll over into your Quicken software, so your budget and expense reports are on the same page.
Coordinates: $49.95. Intuit, 800-816-8025; (http://www.intuit.com)