LinkedIn is my travel advisor

Matt Fueston is an Account Manager for Ellenbecker Communications, is responsible for new business development, and contributes as a staff writer.

Maybe that is a bit of an overstatement. But the LinkedIn Group that I joined back in March has provided me with a resource that I would hate to do without now that I know it exists.

“Jet: The Business Traveler Network, Powered by Capital One” has a community of business travelers that covers the spectrum from wide-eyed newbie (“Oh, boy, I’ll bet business travel is glamorous!”) to grizzled, unflappable veterans of the sky (“Just get me there and back with as little pain as possible.”) The former make me feel young again and the latter just make me feel like I’m not all alone out there.

I know that there are a lot of social networking sites as well as travel-specific sites, but I really don’t have the time to find them, or to stay current with them. I like the fact that LinkedIn, my go-to social network, can provide me with a daily dose of current chatter on topics that are of interest to a traveler. Of course, some topics don’t apply to me specifically—I’m not in the market for a new piece of luggage, for instance. But the recent discussion about problems with a popular brand of laptop backpacks was interesting; I bookmarked it and a few other luggage-related topics to go back and review the next time I am in the market for a new backpack or rollaboard. Nothing beats real-world feedback from people that you know are not internet trolls or spammers.

I also like the fact that every change in air travel regulation or hotel or airline loyalty programs is discussed, dissected and deciphered by experienced users of these services. They are businesspeople like me, their point of view is likely to march with mine, and they do not answer to the service providers. Like most business travelers, they tend to be good Samaritans, happy to share a tip or an insight that will save their peers a bit of aggravation.

Here are some of my favorite recent topics:

– U.S. airports with the worst signage and how to deal with them
– The worst airports for rental car pickups and returns]
– Do you plan to enroll in the TSA’s PreCheck now that it is expanding?
– What is an appropriate tip for the maid at a hotel?
– Best restaurants in various business destinations…

And the next time that I have a specific question to ask about a particular airport or airline or hotel or conference center, I know where I will go first to find the answer.

If you haven’t tried this group in LinkedIn yet, give it a shot! It is certainly worth a test-drive.