Meals & Business Travel |

Your husband takes a job that involves a lot of traveling. You and your children are permitted to go with him, and you are considering it. But you are worried the food budget will make the trip cost more than you earn.

Over the last three months, my husband has been out of town at least every other week, sometimes weekly. As a homemaker, my options are to stay home with our three children (ages 5, 3, and 20 months), all of whom miss him wildly, or go with him and face the wrath of toddlers and hotel rooms. Since we homeschool, we look forward to trips like this for years to come. I’d like to offer a few suggestions for planning your menus throughout the day.

The easiest thing to do on the road is to eat out, especially if you are reimbursed for food. However, if you are already on a tight budget, there are ways to stretch that money even further. The easiest thing to do is to find a hotel that offers a free breakfast; that covers one meal for the day. I have been surprised at the variety of foods being set out. The two I have enjoyed best were both in Athens, Georgia (found on two separate trips): Howard Johnson offered not only cereal and Eggo waffles, along with toast, juice, and cocoa, but also provided my husband’s favorite breakfast food, sausage biscuits. These weren’t big for me, but they were different enough that my husband enjoyed them. Best Western in the same town offered the largest spread I have yet seen, including fruit, donuts, pastries, oatmeal, four varieties of cereal (including some sweet ones for the kids!), toast, cocoa, juice…I’m sure I am forgetting something, but there was enough of a spread to make my mouth water.

Once you have breakfast under control, it’s time to worry about lunch and dinner. Peanut butter and jelly is our regular lunch food anyway, and they travel well, especially if you have yet to open the jelly or can take a small cooler with you. We always get a room with a fridge and a microwave for easier food consumption. PB&J may not be the most tasty treat, but they get the job done. As we do at home, we also pick up a small snack of some sort; fruit is our preference but we’ll also go with granola bars or fruit roll ups occasionally.

For dinner, eating out can be really tempting. I try to limit this, however. I pack a great deal of snack food from home – including peanut butter and bread – and then go to the grocery store within a day or two of getting into town. The ideal room, of course, is a suite with a kitchen, but those can be more costly, and I’ve found ways of ‘getting by’ with just a microwave. We then try to alternate our dining costs. We usually eat dinner in one day, fast food the next, dinner in the third day, fast food the fourth, and then the fifth day – which falls on our date night at home, so my husband and I usually eat out – involves our trip to the restaurant. While we will occasionally hit somewhere ‘nice’, I’ve been pleasantly impressed by the variety, price, and quality of Golden Corral, and think its buffet gives great bang for your buck – especially since children under 3 eat free. Incidentally, IHOP also offers a free kids meal for each adult entrée purchased daily after 4, which means our family only winds up paying for two adult meals; also a good deal. Our dinners in, by the way, usually include a stop at Kroger. We can pick up frozen min-pizzas for under a dollar (usually a better value than the full-size pizzas, and they fit more easily into the microwave). A quick skim of the frozen food section also provides a number of microwave dinners. Now is the best time to use it. The down side is that the hotel freezers are usually quite small. I tend to buy one days worth of frozen food, which we eat for dinner that night, and then go back on the third day to get that evening’s meal.

Eating on the road can be costly, but it doesn’t have to be. Careful planning can keep you in or even under budget. My favorite business trips are the ones we spend less on food than we are allotted, which means we come out ahead!

Internet Fax For the Business Traveler |

On top of all the other hassles the modern businessperson encounters while traveling for their company, hunting for a fax machine to transmit or receive important documents shouldn’t be one of them. In today’s business environment, business travelers no longer have the option of wasting time locating fax machines and printers when a document must be immediately sent off to a client or business partner. In this age of instant gratification, time is of the essence, and business travelers must be able to send documents whenever and wherever they are. Begin: the revolution of the Internet fax.

Now business travelers can send an Internet fax quickly and easily from any computer with Internet access. A simple log in, upload, and fax number is all that is needed to transmit an Internet fax. It’s that simple. Not only is the document immediately sent with the internet fax to the destination, it’s stored on a computer or archived online for instant access whenever it’s needed in the future. The ability to archive and retrieve internet faxes is critical to traveling business people, as this functionality allows for an unparalleled aspect of accessibility.

The Internet fax offers the freedom to concentrate on the most important aspects of business-building relationships, increasing sales, improving quality, and increasing production.

All too often, fax machines sending and receiving documents are unreliable or in need of a repair. Faxes don’t come through at all, or when they do, there are huge black lines running through the text. Sometimes the text is so light that it’s impossible to read.

Many business travelers spend precious time placing multiple calls and waiting by fax machines in an attempt to retrieve a readable, usable document. Receiving Internet faxes takes the frustration out of being in a remote location when critical documentation is needed for a business meeting or client conference.

The importance of producing exactly what your clients, business partners, customers, and employees need in a timely manner cannot be underestimated. Competition is fierce in today’s business world, and a company’s credibility can be irreparably damaged when documents are missing, late or illegible. When a company cannot produce an estimate, a report, a proposal, or any other important printed document, clients and prospects can’t help but wonder how efficiently and effectively other aspects of the business are run. Too many competitors are available today to allow faxing issues to impact business relationships. Instant access to whatever kind of documentation is needed to maintain client relationships or bring a prospect on board is more important than ever.

The Internet fax handles incoming faxes as well as outgoing faxes. Business travelers have the option of having faxes sent to their computers via email for instant access, or the internet faxes can be picked up online or even forwarded to a landline fax when Internet access is not available. This kind of flexibility makes it easy for business travelers to use the method that works best for them.

Most businesses are struggling with how to streamline processes and procedures to make their companies more efficient. The more efficient operations become, the more productive the company is. Eliminating the amount of down time and money spent using out-dated technology can instantly add to a company’s bottom line.

Waiting at fax machines to ensure that all the pages go through or re-faxing documents that were not received wastes an incredible amount of the modern businessperson’s time. And that time costs money. Businesses can immediately see an increase in profitability when they leverage the functionality of the Internet fax to help achieve targets and goals as efficiently as possible.

Another aspect of modern business is how to go green. Many companies are investigating in alternative methods for generating power, reducing the supplies used in the production of their products or services, and decreasing their business expenses. With traditional faxing methods, expenses include equipment, toner, paper, and repair. There’s also the cost of transmitting the faxes through traditional telecommunication methods. With the Internet fax, the electronic transmission and reception of documents can help a company go paperless. No equipment, no repairs, no toner, no paper. And, of course, less time wasted means more productivity-not only for the business traveler, but for everyone in the organization.

Companies looking to decrease the amount of time and stress involved in getting important documents where they need to be, when they need to be there now have an effective tool to increase productivity and profitability–the Internet fax. Not only does it make a company more efficient and effective, it allows for business people to travel with ease without always having to scramble for a fax machine.