I hate business travel. In fact I pretty much hate leaving my house except for a few specific reasons none of them include anything to do with business. However there are occasions where it is necessary and has to be done.
If it has to be done at least we can do it in a way that makes it enjoyable. Here are a few items I practice:
- Travel at odd times. The usual company policy is something like Monday to Thursday, meaning that you leave home Monday morning and return home Thursday sometime. I leave Sunday night as late as I can. While my particular flight is always full it’s no big deal because everybody is pretty relax. The few times I was forced to fly on a Monday morning I was quickly reminded why I hate travel.
- Check your luggage. Every self-important, OMG! I gotta get there, suit has their wheelie bag and is in a mad dash to get on the plane so they can stuff it in the overhead. And on nearly every flight there is a bunch of the same self-important people who are told they’ll have to check their luggage because there is no room. Sorry, the stress, tension and lack of manners exhibited by people isn’t worth it (another reason I hate travel). Just check the luggage, even if you have to pay for it – the convenience is worth it.
- Related to #2 use a baggage delivery service! I use this thing called Bags VIP which handles getting my bags from the airport to wherever I’m going. I don’t have to wait for the bags throwers to unload the plane. I just get in my car and head to the hotel.
- Use UBER or a taxi. I used to drive myself to the airport, but I’ve stopped. Initially I was a good boy and parked in the remote parking lot but eventually I quit that and started parking at the terminal. The problem was that I’d end up having to ride the train between terminals to get back to my car so I wasn’t saving time. Leaving my house I use UBER and then coming home I’ll just grab a Taxi waiting by the curb. This generally costs about half of what parking at the terminal was costing and is actually a lot more convenient.
- Get to know the people at the hotel. I stay at the same hotel every time I head out. In this case I’m always in the same city so it really is the same hotel. They put me in the room I like and general get me in my room faster than other people just because they see me regularly. The guy who runs the restaurant in the hotel knows me and always greats me and makes me feel at home. It’s a minor thing but it improves things.
- Don’t eat in your room. I used to be bad about this. I’d get back to the hotel, order room service and just vegetate in front of the TV until I went to sleep. I’ve now made a rule that I can’t eat in my room. I try to eat outside of the hotel at least once each visit and try not to always go to the same restaurant.
- Get a Pelican case! Most people use Pelican cases for photography gear or other delicate equipment. They make freaking awesome suit cases and provide you tons of room to pack all your stuff while not violating the airline policies. They’re expensive but they’re tough and will last forever.
- Use the rewards programs. Sign up for every one of them and make sure you get your points. I have at least a week of free hotel stays with my main hotel, I’m near the top of my airline’s preferred customer program, the rental car company already has me in the highest tier and I’ve got more than a week of free car rentals saved up. I don’t use my company’s card (who the blazes uses Diner’s Club today???), I use my own and have enough points for a first class ticket across the Atlantic (need 2 though….).
- Admiral’s club or whatever – the Citi card I have includes access to AA’s Admiral’s club. They’re nice and late at night while waiting to get on the bus it’s a nice place to hang out. The Admiral will even provide free bourbon, it’s not great bourbon but it’s free bourbon which tastes pretty good to me.
That’s what I have so far. I’d love to hear other people’s secrets.