This Training Center article is written by the editors of SNEWS®
No one likes to travel in discomfort, and frankly, being airplane and airport experts ourselves, you can trust the SNEWS® team when we tell you, selling travel comfort items might be the most important travel item sale you'll make. Why? Because airlines and more are cutting back on the frill and comfort items they used to provide -- need a pillow? Good luck. Want a blanket? Only in first class. Want happy customers? Sell them comfort items to make their trip more pleasurable!
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The idea is to provide your customers with a choice of items that will help them get to where they are going with the least amount of wear and tear, either physically or mentally.
Airplanes, trains and automobiles -- basic comfort necessities
- Travel Blanket -- a good one is packable, compressible, made of fleece, can be used as a cushion or pillow, and has a built-in pocket for items like eye-shades and ear plugs. Your customer will love you forever with this sale.
- Ear plugs -- Noise-reducing ear plugs help to soften the roar of the airplane, the howl of a nearby child waking up the plane, and are made of soft silicone. Some ear plugs are specially designed to also aid in making pressure changes easier to manage – ideal for folks who are constantly battling clogged and painful ears after or during a plane ride.
- Eye Shades -- Can't find these on a plane at all, yet nothing is better for blocking out the light of the nearby galley or the light your customers' travel mate wants to leave on to read when they want to go to sleep.
- Travel Pillow -- Say ahhhhhhhh. Combined with a blanket and eye shades, this is the perfect addition to ensure a comfortable flight, even if the chairs are stacked one on top of the other and barely recline. Inflatable ones with a soft, fleecy covering are best. They collapse to nothing, can be adjusted for firmness, and help to hold the head in a comfortable position when sleeping while seated.
Keeping the current flowing
- Electronic converters/adapters will be needed if your customer wants to travel with their own hair dryer, non-battery powered electric shaver, or other electrically powered item. A converter comes with a selection of plug adaptors and takes foreign voltages and converts them into U.S. 110 volts.
- Most laptops are dual-voltage, meaning any voltage worldwide will work. All your customers need are a surge protector and a plug adaptor. Though wireless shops and public Internet locations are more common these days, sometimes your customers still might need to use the modem in the computer, meaning a telephone jack adapter is also a must. Also, for digital lines, they'll need a converter that reduces the voltage to a safe level for their modem.
Peace of mind -- security
- Locks to secure the zippers of your pack together are good items, as long as they are TSA approved! You could recommend to your customers that they simply use zip ties to secure zippers in place if they are traveling mostly in Europe or North America.
- For the ultimate in security, especially for long hauls in and through third world countries, your customers will love you for selling them something from Pacsafe -- a stainless-steel web or cage that locks around a bag to eliminate prying fingers from getting into places they shouldn’t, and sharp knives from creating openings in the bag to steal items.
- Security pouches/wallets are designed to be worn under clothes and are still THE safest way to carry a small amount of money, travel documents and a passport while traveling.
Little extras to recommend
- Extra insoles for your shoes or boots provide additional support and cushioning, which is important for comfort when you spend a lot of time on your feet.
- A water bottle is nice to have if you're traveling in an area with safe drinking water and would rather refill from the tap than buy expensive bottled water when you're sightseeing during the day.
- Sleeping bag liners are the way to go if your customers are staying in hostels, since many charge extra for sheets, and those that don't often have bed linen that, well, looks like it hasn't seen the good side of a washing machine in ages.
- A small flashlight is a must for reading or navigating to the toilet down the hall in dark hostels or pensions at night.
- A sewing kit with needles, basic thread, a few spare buttons and such is perfect for making minor repairs on clothing when on the road.