Some great new clients and a lot more events to plan and manage across the U.S. means I’m logging a lot of miles these days. Latest locations have been New Orleans, Atlanta, Savannah, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. That means a lot of planes, rental cars, delayed bags, and an interesting assortment of accommodations. It’s a whirlwind, but great fun.
I’m picking up a lot of tricks to make traveling easier and more enjoyable. Here’s what I’ve learned lately:
My new rules about flying: don’t fly on Mondays (insanely busy). Don’t fly on American Airlines (the worst airline I’ve ever experienced. And I’ve experienced quite a few...) TSA PreCheck membership isn’t the time and aggravation-saver it used to be, but it’s still worth having. And if you travel a lot, I highly recommend CLEAR. Not all airports have it yet, but those who do – brilliant!
Airport craziness: the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport claims it’s the busiest airport in North America by passengers – and I believe it. Give yourself plenty of time at any airport for connections, to grab a bite, or snooze in the massage loungers.
Shopping for accommodations is a scavenger hunt with lots of possible rewards and great discoveries. Be sure to shop all the standard options, like Expedia, HotelTonight, Orbitz, and Booking.com, and check out the up-and-coming Airbnb competitors for alternatives to hotels.
Packing cubes keep you sane. I’m living out of suitcases these days and have come up with a packing routine and system that’s fast and helps me know where everything is in my bags.
Dining: when you’re on the road, it’s easy to fall into bad eating habits. Sometimes it takes effort, but you can usually find some cool juice spots or healthy dishes on menus. Take time for a real meal—a dining experience—in an enjoyable restaurant whenever you can. If you’re on your own, embrace the solo dining experience as I mention in a recent blog post, Table for One, Please.
Pointers on points: I’ve learned to read the fine print on loyalty programs (e.g. if you book through Expedia, you won’t earn points in your hotel loyalty programs because booked through a third party). The Points Guy has some great tips on maximizing the points you earn while traveling.
On the ground: I’m now a master at working in coffee shops. Unfortunately, so is everyone else. You have to hunt down and usually wait for a power outlet. Big lesson: do not leave your accommodations with a half-empty battery on your laptop. (Yes, I was the one hunting like a mad person for a power socket!)
With all this time on the road lately, I often get asked by friends, family and colleagues: isn’t all this travel unsettling? Don’t you miss home? Yes and no. I learn a lot and meet terrific people when I’m on the road. I have a lot of fun experiencing new things.
As the old song from the 40’s said, “Any place I hang my hat is home”...