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Tech for the Road Warrior Advisor

Financial advisors traveling for business or pleasure can get around more easily and save money by using innovative technology and apps.

Bill Winterberg, 02/14/2013

Despite the growing popularity of virtual meetings and online webinar software, many financial advisors still travel frequently for a variety of reasons. Whether traveling to attend industry conferences, visit clients, or take a much-needed vacation, road-warrior advisors often run into high costs and inconveniences when moving from point A to point B.

Here are a number of useful websites and apps advisors can add to their travel toolkit to make each journey a bit more affordable and enjoyable.

Air Travel
Unlike stock prices, frequent flyers know that airfare prices seem to only go up year after year. According to Arlington, Va.-based Airlines Reporting Corp., average domestic airfare increased 4.2% in 2012 after increasing 8.5% in 2011 and 13% in 2010.

As they begin to plan for their next trip, advisors should start pricing airfares by using the Bing Travel Price Predictor. After entering information about the origin, destination, and travel dates, Bing displays the lowest airfare along with carrier and flight itinerary details.

Immediately above the search results, the Bing Travel Price Predictor shows a tip whether to "buy" or "wait" regarding the current airfare price. Clicking the "Fare History" link opens a window displaying daily price trends from the past and a confidence rating regarding the current "buy" or "wait" recommendation. Bing Travel Price Predictor does not analyze all airline routes, but it is still a convenient place to see past trends in pricing and determine if it's worth it to buy now or wait for a lower fare.

Once a low price is secured, advisors next need to decide where to sit in the airplane. Again, frequent flyers know that not all seats are created equal and covet those with extra legroom, power outlets, and other amenities. Before confirming a seat assignment, advisors should visit SeatGuru.

SeatGuru lists seating configurations for hundreds of airplanes across all of the major domestic and international carriers. Simply look up the specific carrier and equipment for an upcoming trip and see which seats have been rated as good and bad by other frequent flyers. Pointing the mouse cursor over any seat highlights details of that location and any pros and cons. Advisors using SeatGuru should rarely ever sit in a seat that doesn't recline or one that might be located immediately next to a high-traffic lavatory.

Ground Transportation
Once at their destination, advisors need to consider their ground transportation needs. Locating a taxi at the airport is easy, but it's not so straightforward to arrange one for the return trip or for other transit needs.

Bill Winterberg, CFP, is a technology and operations consultant to independent financial advisors. His comments on technology have been featured in a variety of financial industry publications. You can view more information about Bill and see his schedule of upcoming speaking engagements at his Web site, FPPad.com. The author is a freelance contributor to MorningstarAdvisor.com. The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect the views of Morningstar.

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