Travel hack: Never lose another work transponder!

My fellow road warriors can relate: They rent a car while on a project and don’t want their client to have to pay the insanely high costs of toll surcharges that the rental services charge. They know it well. But if you’re not a frequent traveler, I’ll explain.

Car rental services are similar to hotels. They’re faced with stiff price competition, but still need to meet profitability expectations. The solution for hotels is to mark up the price of all of the extras. Most recently, that means raising their fees for in-room movies. (A $20 price tag for a first-run movie? Wowza!) For the car rental business, their latest go-to is crazy high markups for the road tolls that their in-car transponders transact.

When I first experienced this, my solution was getting a dedicated work transponder, associated with my work credit card. Problem solved!

But when dropping off my car, I have more than once left behind my transponder. What’s more, it’s difficult to get the thing to stay in place at the far end of the dashboard, wedged under the windshield glass. It invariably slides away, or completely onto the floor.

Putting A Free Selfie Stick To Work

Then I came upon this nutty but effective solution:

I took a selfie stick, which I’d gotten for free at a conference and never used, and with a stout rubber band, I affixed my transponder. Now I had a retractable wand that is small enough to fit in a pocket of my suitcase, and can be easily extended and jammed snugly into the crook of my windshield.

The bonus is it’s way too big to leave behind, even when I’m returning my rental car in a hurry.

What travel hacks have you come up with?