There are so many applications these days designed to help today’s business travelers. You want to make sure you have at least one app that acts as a one-stop-shop for all of your travel itineraries which makes finding everything easy while on the go.
TripIt is one app that allows all of your reservation itineraries to be in one place. Hotels, car rentals, and flight information can all be accessed by just going to this app. Available for Windows 7, Blackberry, Android, iPhone, iPad, and tablets. Here are some other applications that will streamline your travel too:
Taxi Magic. Using this app allows you to book a cab, pay for the ride via credit card, and track the arrival of your cab all from your phone. You can download this app now for iPhone or Google Play.
Lookout. Since the business world is also becoming more mobile, you want to make sure that all of your business and personal information stays secure on your phones and tablets too. Lookout will scan all of your apps to make sure they are safe; protect you from malware; and prevent access to any fraudulent websites.
Evernote. Stay connected and productive while on the go. Evernote allows you to save webpages (all data, links, and pictures); take pictures; record sound; share your data with co-workers; search for keywords; and it sinks to all of your devices for free. You can download this for Windows Desktop; Windows 8 Touch Screen; MAC OSX; Safari; Chrome; Firefox; iPhone, iPad, iPod touch; Android; Blackberry; and Windows phone.
SeatGuru. This app allows you to see the outline of the airplane you will be taking and it rates the comfort of the seats on board. They have a list of airlines to choose from and comparison charts for different classes. You can even search for flights directly from this sight with comfort recommendations.
All Subway. This app has over 163 maps of most of the worlds major cities subways which comes in handy when you are in unfamiliar territory. You can also view other maps that aren’t on the application already. This app is $0.99 and is available on iPhone and Android.
With all the great technological advancements today, business travel just got a whole lot easier and more secure. Be sure to protect your mobile devices from threats especially when using them for business.
Safe travels out there!
A recent article in The Boston Globe by Katie Johnston found that Boston’s short-term housing market is on the rise since more patients, relocating professionals, traveling nurses, etc. find that staying in a fully furnished apartment is much nicer than staying in a hotel for an extended period of time. After all, staying in an apartment which is residential in nature vs. a hotel which is transient is going to make your stay that much more comfortable. Plus, most corporate apartments include a fully stocked kitchen, cable, internet, phone service, secured building, amenities, etc. all for one great rate.
According to Smith Travel Research, Inc. – a hotel research company based in Tennessee – extended stay properties grew 4x faster than all other hotels from 2007-2012. In Boston, the amount of extended stay properties grew twice as fast as available hotel rooms.
Our newest franchise owner, Patrick Flynn, of Northeast Suites/AvenueWest Boston was featured in this article: “Increased hiring by biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies is adding to the demand as new employees look for permanent housing.” More companies are relying on contractors to get the job done in a matter of weeks or a couple months. Short-term housing is a better alternative than staying at a hotel during this time. Currently, Patrick has about 120 fully furnished apartments in the Boston metro area and 80+ across the nation. He expects his revenue to double to more than $3 million this year with the influx of people needing short-term, fully furnished apartments.
There is a large number of European guests needing temporary housing while they receive treatment at nearby hospitals in Boston. A recent study conducted found that the US Food and Drug Administration is approving cancer drugs faster than European regulatory agencies. Many clients come over to Boston to seek the newest cancer treatments that are currently unavailable in their counties.
The rise in extended stay properties nationwide means there is a greater demand for short-term temporary housing. Why not choose a corporate housing unit for your next short-term stay? These can be true home-away-from home properties that make you more comfortable while getting adjusted to your new city.
A recent article posted at NBCNews.com Business uses Zillow’s Break Even Horizon to determine the top 10 cities where renting is more economically sound than buying and how long it takes on average to break even if purchasing a home. This figure is calculated based on the net cost of purchasing a home vs. renting the same house. Here are the top 10 cities renting costs less than buying:
New York City, NY. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 5 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,016; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 19.4%
Renting an apartment in the city would save more money than purchasing a home unless you were going to be living in NYC for more than 5 years. The average home price is $462,500. A 20% down payment is going to be $93,000 for a home this much and with the current rate of 3.277% and a 30 year fixed mortgage, you are looking at a monthly mortgage payment of $2,145 which is higher than the current rental index.
Seattle, WA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 4.3 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,850; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 4.7%
Waterfront property in Seattle averages about $392,200 as of December 2012.
Boston, MA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.9 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,299; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 11.3%
Based on 25 new single family homes for sale in Boston, MA, the average home costs $727,200. A 20% down payment is $145,000 with a 3.277% interest rate, your monthly mortgage payment would be $3,334. Renting in Boston on average would be a monthly savings of $1,035.
Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, CA tied for 4th for the amount of years it would take to break even if purchasing a home.
Washington, D.C. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.7 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,439; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 7%
There has been an increase in new home development in the D.C. area. As of December last year, the average home cost $402,400 which is up by 10%.
San Francisco, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.9 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $3,281; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 12%
San Fran has seen an 18% increase in home sale prices year after year! Currently, the average home costs $770,600. A 20% down payment of $154,000 with the current interest rate of 3.277% would be a $3,529 monthly payment. By renting, you would save on average of $248 a month.
Portland, OR. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.6 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,423; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index:
Portland has the most bike commuters in the U.S. Last year, 21.49% of homes sold were sold at a loss, but the average value of homes has risen 8.8% ($257,400).
San Diego, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.4 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,116; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 2.9%
The average San Diego home value is up 11% making the average home $404,100.
Los Angeles, CA and San Jose, CA tied for 7th place based upon the number of years it would take to break even after purchasing a home in either location.
Los Angeles, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.3 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,311; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 2.3%
Los Angeles has a very high unemployment rate and the home rates dropped about 35% which actually makes L.A. more affordable for home owners. The average home costs $399,800 which was up by 9.7% as of December 2012. If you put down a 20% payment of $80,000 with the 3.277 interest rate with a fixed 30 year mortgage, your monthly payment is going to be $1,863.
San Jose, CA. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 3.3 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $2,513; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 4.5%
San Jose, CA has a lot more people interested in purchasing homes since the average annual income is $92,500. San Jose has a very high employment rate with over 6,000 technology companies. The average home in San Jose is $544,600 so if you put down 20% ($109,000) + 3.277% + 30 years = $2,514 monthly mortgage payment which is $1 higher per month than the current rental index!
Denver, CO. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 2.8 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,468; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 9.3%
As of December 2012, Denver’s average home value was up by 14.1% with the average home costing $233,700.
Austin, TX. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 2.7 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,516; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 6.2%
At the end of last year, Austin had an overall home value increase of 4.7% = $209,900.
Nashville, TN. Zillow Break Even Horizon: 2.6 Years; Zillow Rental Index: $1,190; Annual Change in Zillow Rent Index: 3.8%
The average home cost is now $140,000, which is up by 6%.
Most of the cities listed above experienced an overall increase last year in their median home values which is great news overall for the market!
Let’s face it, travel in general is filled with stress but business travelers experience these much more frequently. A recent poll from TripIt determined the top 5 most common stresses associated with travel:
- Exercise. 67% of frequent travelers said that the pressure to exercise was stressful – 17% of these responders found it to be extremely stressful.
- Healthy Eating. 66% of responders found eating healthy to be a challenge and added to the overall stress of traveling – 19% said it was extremely stressful.
- To do list upon return. 64% found the pressure of tasks needing to be done when they returned home to be a significant source of stress while traveling.
- Airport Security. Of the people that were polled, 59% found airport security to be very stressful.
- Driving in a new city. The lowest on the top 5 travel stresses is driving in a new city. 54% of respondents found this to be very stressful when they travel.
Since exercise and healthy eating are the two highest stresses for frequent business travelers, here is a list of suggestions that TripIt recommended to help alleviate some of your stress:
Bring healthy, portable snacks with you so you won’t be as temped to buy un-healthy snacks when the hunger sets in. Bring along some almonds or a banana to help tie you over between meals.
Instead of ordering a large dinner, choose a small plate or an appetizer for dinner instead. If you opt for a salad, keep in mind that the dressing has a ton of fat and calories so it’s best kept on the side. Salad is not always the healthiest choice on the menu either so be smart when choosing.
Instead of using escalators or moving sidewalks, try taking the stairs or walk to keep you moving.
Track how many steps you are taking with a pedometer or an app on your phone.
- Ask for a map of the local area with running/walking trails or nearby parks.
- Do crunches, pushups, jumping jacks, chair dips, stretching, and any other activity that doesn’t require any equipment in your room.
It is a stressful world we live in and the constant traveling makes life that much more hectic. Hopefully these tips from TripIt will make your future business trips less stressful, more active, and healthier.
Safe travels everyone!
A member of the corporate housing industry was seriously injured at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15th along with her 5-year old son and boyfriend. Rebekah Gregory is an Account Executive with Preferred Corporate Housing out of Houston, TX. Rebekah and her boyfriend are currently in stable condition, but are still undergoing treatment for several injuries to their legs and arms. Rebekah’s son, Noah, is recovering from his injuries to his lungs.
A donation account has been established with a local bank in Houston, Amegy Bank of Texas, for anyone who wants to help Rebekah and her family during this difficult time. These recent events are terrible and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by this tragedy!!
Preferred Corporate Housing wishes to raise funds to help Rebekah and her son get their lives back to normal. They wish to help with the cost of rehab, housing, meals, and their medical bills. Rebekah Gregory is the sole beneficiary of all funds donated and 100% will go towards helping the Gregory family.
To donate, make checks payable to “Rebekah Gregory Benefit Fund” and mail them to:
Rebekah Gregory Benefit Fund, 9119 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX 77024.
If you would like to offer other means of support, please contact Michelle Velasquez at Preferred Corporate Housing – 800.960.0102 ext 21.
The Corporate Housing Providers Association has shared the Gregory’s story with everyone within the Corporate Housing industry and we wanted to spread the word even further to increase support for a member of our extended team! Thank you to Northeast Suites for donating an apartment to the Gregory family while they are recovering in Boston!
Many of us have a 9-5 job or jobs in the service industry where we don’t have a lot of time to go on long, lavish vacations. A recent blog post by Nomadic Matt titled “How Can You Travel More Even if You Work a 9-5 Job” sheds some light on how you can use your time off most effectively while still being able to travel – even with a limited amount.
Most American’s have 2 weeks vacation per year plus the weekends = 110 travel days. Most of us also get holidays off and have some three day weekends here and there which gives us even more time to travel each year. Sure, it isn’t consecutive time but you could take a long vacation by using your 2 weeks in a row. Here are some tips on how you can maximize your time to travel a lot more this year:
Weekends. Sure the weekends only offer 2 full days (unless it’s a 3 day weekend) but that is plenty of time to explore a city close to you.
Find a location that is closer to you. If you are in America then traveling to Australia for only one week would be a waste since your travel time takes up almost 3 days! Instead, take a trip to Central America which is closer. Generally the closer the destination, the cheaper the flight is going to be too.
Be a tourist in your own city. Take time to explore the city you currently live in. Go to the museums, tourist attractions, new areas you have never been, etc. Being a tourist in your own city will give you new insight on where you live.
- Don’t try to see it all at once. Instead of trying to see everything in a short amount of time, focus on a couple attractions and destinations that you want to go see. This way, you will be less overwhelmed and will have more time to enjoy the place you are visiting.
Next time you feel like getting away, remember these 4 tips that will make your experience more fun in less time. As the famous Roy Rogers croons, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again. Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.”
Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine is hosting the Investor Provider Leadership Summit in Baltimore, MD April 25th-26th at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel, 101 W Fayette St, Baltimore MD 21201.
Become familiar with strategies, service leaders, providers, and side channels that could increase your overall sales and revenue. The past event was very successful in producing hundreds of property sales to both domestic and international property investors.
Learn more about how you can make money from investment properties and hear from our very own Kimberly Smith of AvenueWest Managed Corporate Housing with her segment on the “High Margin Rental Niche.”
Don’t hesitate to register for this great event – there are only a few seats left! We hope to see you there!
If you have ever traveled alone or are planning on going soon, there are many rewards like the opportunity to experience everything that you wish to and to meet new people, but there are also precautions that need to be taken.
In the March 2013 addition of “Healthcare Traveler” there was an article published called “Safety Measures for the Solo Traveler” meant to advise single healthcare travelers on some safety measures they should take. But, these tips should be used for anyone traveling alone.
- Tell a family member or friend your travel plans. Be sure you give all the details of your travel plans with someone back home that you trust including your new address and phone number of where you will be staying. Leave them with your travel itinerary too and check in with them regularly to let them know you are safe. If you have your security settings on Facebook set to friends and family only, then posting status updates might also be a good way to let others know of your whereabouts in case anything happens.
- Double check your cell-phone company’s coverage in the new area. Be sure that your cell phone will work well in the new area you are going to – sometimes cellular providers do not have superior coverage in other areas as they might where you currently live. Go to their website and check the map of coverage.
- Get to your destination while it is still light out. You will be able to find your way around much easier in unfamiliar territory if you can see by the light of day.
- Have a GPS App on your phone (if you don’t already). Get one that will show you walking routes as well. It is also a good idea to map the surrounding areas of the place you are staying prior to getting there to determine any possible bad areas that you want to avoid.
- Don’t share too much personal information to new people you meet. Meeting new friends is great but be leery to give them any information about where you are staying or the fact that you are traveling alone as you never know who you might be talking to these days.
- Be careful if you decide to drink. If you are a drinker, don’t leave your drink unattended and don’t drink too much especially when you are first meeting new people. You want to remain in the right state of mind in case anything happens.
The majority of the time traveling alone is a very rewarding experience and nothing bad happens. But, just be smart whenever you are traveling to a new place – alone or otherwise – but especially when you are on your own.
Stay safe out there!