Click inside for the weekly business rail, with business-travel tips, BBB advice on avoiding phone bill cramming and more. Or check out these links:
Tip of the Week
From the food you eat to how you spend time between meetings, there are ways to make working on the road more comfortable, satisfying and even more efficient.
- Start the day right. When you're traveling for business, eating right is important. Meetings can go long, new engagements can pop up, and you never quite know when you'll be able to get your next meal. Look for hotels that provide a variety of breakfast choices.
- "You" time. Your schedule is almost always hectic during business trips, so find some down time whenever you can to relax and unwind. Keep Sudoku puzzles, crosswords or a good book at hand for those unexpected travel delays. Keep your luggage light by adding a few books to an e-reader or downloading puzzle apps to your smart phone. Carving out a few minutes of your day to do something you like - between meetings, while waiting for your plane to board or in the cab ride en route to your hotel - can help give you a more positive outlook.
- Stay connected. It's always a good idea - whether you're having a good day or a difficult one - to stay in touch with someone outside of your colleagues and clients. A quick phone call from an airport, taxi or hotel to check in at home or an e-mail exchange with a good friend are welcome distractions from work and help balance your day and lift your mood.
- Get moving. When you've arrived at your destination, the last thing you want to do is hurry up and wait. Always consider ground transportation options beyond local taxis or rental cars. Research local public transportation ahead of time, or check with your hotel about shuttles and transfer services; also, some cities have train service.
Sneaky little charges are making their way onto telephone bills and can go unnoticed for months. Victims of so-called "cramming" often face a tough battle to stop being billed every month and start getting their money back. In order to fight cramming, the Better Business Bureau recommends keeping a close eye on every bill and being extremely cautious when giving out personal information such as phone numbers.
"You might think that nothing bad can happen from giving out your telephone number, but you should guard those digits like you would a credit card or Social Security number," said Steve J. Bernas of the Better Business Bureau. "Monitor your monthly statements closely because even if you are very protective of your personal information, cramming can still strike."
Cramming can come from any number of sources. Some victims may have inadvertently signed up for a subscription service - such as for "free" ringtones or a daily joke or horoscopes - not realizing they'd be billed every month. Calling a psychic hotline or entering a sweepstakes can also lead to cramming. Unfortunately, in some cases, the victim may just be an unlucky, random target.
For more advice, go to www.bbb.org.
Here are the best colleges in the South, according to Forbes.com:
1 Centre College
2 Rice University
3 United States Naval Academy
4 Washington and Lee University
5 Duke University
Number to Know
1.2: Percent that retail sales rose in October, according to the Commerce Department, a positive economic sign.
The hot new app is Path, a free photo-sharing app for the iPhone. It was created by a former Facebook developer and aims to be an alternative to uploading photos to websites.
GateHouse News Service