By Flea - Be A Survivor
In my everyday life I am an “Information Technology Professional”…which is code for I know a bit more about computers than a box of rocks. In my profession I have had to do a fair amount of traveling which has actually been nice. It isn’t so much travel that I get burnt out but just enough to keep things interesting.
I have been across the border to Montreal Canada and even across the sea to Bonn Germany (great food there by the way). I have been to a couple of dozen airports and cities across this great nation. Some of my favorite US cities are Dallas, Memphis and Philly (would not want to live there but a cool place to visit).
For those of you who travel for business I have some survival tips to make your experiences much more pleasant and efficient. Some of these are common sense and some I have learned through the school of hard knocks but hopefully you will find them all useful.
The first thing you need to do especially if you travel a lot is sign up with all the reward programs that airlines, hotels and car rental agencies offer. If you can, pick a few favorites and always try to stay at those places and use those carriers. My company lets up keep frequent flier miles and I have gotten SEVERAL free round trip tickets just from flying with a particular airline more than another.
The carriers I have had the most luck with have been Northwest and Continental (Yeah who’d a thunk it!). I usually try and stay at Marriott brand hotels and I usually stick with National Car Rental. When I rent a car I NEVER go to the counter, I go right to the Emerald club aisle, throw my crap in a car and drive to the booth (benefit of being a member). I get a lot of free perks from Marriott like free rooms and meals and from Continental I have gotten round trip tickets and first class upgrades. If you don’t sign up for these programs and you travel frequently, you are CRAZY!
My second piece of advice is NEVER check bags with an airline, especially in Philly the black hole of baggage. I take my laptop backpack and a roller carry-on, to say I am a master packer would be an understatement. My wife is amazed when I travel for two weeks out of those bags; all it takes is planning. The benefit of not checking a bag should be obvious but I can tell you first hand I have been in meetings with business people wearing sneakers and sweats because the airline lost their bag. It’s also great to get off the plane and head right to where you need to go without having to wait for the bags to be unloaded.
Make sure you have directions printed ahead of time for all the destinations you need to get to. Don’t rely on the rental car to have GPS, If you have a GPS you can bring with you, great, otherwise make sure you HAVE directions.
Some quick tips would be:
- Make sure you have some cash on you.
- Make sure to get plenty of sleep before, during, and after your trip.
- Try to eat reasonably; nothing is worse than upset stomach or diarrhea when you are stuck on a plane.
- If you need to use your personal credit or debit card, call your bank and let them know you are traveling (this will help prevent the Fraud Prevention Unit from freezing access because of charges in strange cities).
- Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water.
- Even if it is a business trip try and see some sights if you can.
- Bring reading material like books or magazines to read in the hotel and on the plane.
- Dress comfortably when you are going to airports because security can be a nightmare, slip on shoes (sneakers) and sweats are what I usually wear. I will change to business attire when I get to my destination.
- Be patient, delays in travel are inevitable…screaming at the airline employees won’t get you anywhere. In fact I have gotten fast tracked and bumped up by being SUPER NICE to them.
- Most importantly try to have some fun!
...that is all.
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