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November 30, 2017

Holiday Travels and Trials

The holidays are upon us, ready or not. At this time of year, many travel to be with family and friends. But, for others, business travel continues through the season. Even with all of the technology tools that make videoconferencing easy there are still times when you need to show up. I decided to share some of my old and new favorite travel tips for planes and trains.

Be a Minimalist

I have figured out that you need to be a minimalist. The more you take, the more you have to keep track of. It goes without saying, you want to pack light. To do that, stick to the basics and a mono-chromatic wardrobe. Some hotels provide you with workout clothes and shoes so you don’t have bring them. It’s also a good idea to get a tiny roller bag that will fit on the smallest plane-under the seat or in those unbelievably small overheads. That way you don’t have to gate check and risk missing your next flight.

Be a Planner

I try to always take the first flight out and actually have cities I refuse to connect through. That’s because I have been stranded way too many times. I check to see how many flights there are out of the connection city to my destination so I have options.

I also check alternate airports an hour or so from my destination. Sometimes smaller airports are less costly and not as busy. It’s worth the drive. I try not to fly on Mondays and Fridays. Around the holidays, expect delays and consider driving. If you have to be at an airport two hours in advance, change planes, and so on, it might be faster to get in the car and go! Besides, you can take in the scenery or some side-trips.

Be a Smart Techy

Yes, I know everyone loves their electronic boarding passes. However, I have seen way too many people fumble around trying to pull one up or run out of juice. Be a smart techy and have a paper copy as well. Fellow travelers will thank you. Consider how many devices you really need with you. I limit myself to three. I also have a “tech pouch” permanently packed with cables, power packs, USBs, and my hot spot. Be sure to have your favorite airline travel app loaded and there are others that can help. Check out this Travel and Leisure article for some great ideas.

Be Efficient

Even if you only travel occasionally, get TSA Pre-Check. My company paid for every employee to get TSA Pre-check. It is a small gesture to show you care about them and appreciate it takes a lot to be on the road and away from family. It also makes it a lot faster and more efficient to get through airports.

It’s easy to spend a lot of time waiting and sitting. If I know I am going to be traveling I put aside projects that require less than an hour to complete. This is the work I take with me. Sometimes, I load up my laptop with all the associated files in a folder or I use the WiFi on the plane or train. This helps me make use of what might be wasted time…and you get a lot done when you can work uninterrupted.

 Be Smart

Always have a back-up plan. Travel never goes as scheduled. It’s always something…bad weather, mechanical problems, meeting cancellations, the list goes on. I always have alternate airline schedules with me, a plan to cancel hotel and car arrangements, and other contingencies. Sometimes getting to the job is actually harder than doing the job when you get there.

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, following these simple tips can make for a more productive and enjoyable trip. Safe travels and happy holidays.

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