Traveling on business this fall has been enough to turn anyone into a grinch. The most recent round of TSA security pronouncements have made lines longer and the rules even more erratic. Flights are getting fuller, louder and stinkier by the day. And it seems that the folks who work in what used to be called the “hospitality” industry have been double-dipping in the surly pills.
I’d love to say “the heck with it” and stay home. But that’s not an option for me or for many of you. So here are some of my best ideas for lowering the stress that comes with business travel.
Start by reading Peter Greenberg’s article in “Best Life” (Best Life Travel Article). You’ve probably seen him on the Today Show and other places. He’s offering 21 tips to reduce business travel stress. Some are common sense. Some are really novel. He also gives you links to useful websites that tell you how to defeat the endless phone trees of travel companies and get to a live human being who can help you.
Second, use carry on luggage for any trips less than ten days. If you don’t check your luggage they can’t lose your luggage. I have had a chance to travel several times now with the Red Oxx AirBoss. This is one of the best pieces of luggage that I have ever owned. I have been looking for the perfect carryon suitcase for 30 years. I have tried garment bags, rollaboards, duffels. You name it. The Air Boss is a beautifully made bag that really maximizes the amount of clothes that you can carry. Third, get your luggage in any color you like–except black. Look at any bell stand or luggage carousel and you’ll see a sea of blag bags. Make it easy on yourself. Don’t join them. My new Air Boss is in Safari (Khaki and Green) with a scarlet lining. Find a fun color that you like.
Fourth, if you travel with suits or sportcoats, try carrying them on a hanger inside of a drycleaner bag. They’ll wrinkle less.
Fifth, try out the noise cancelling headsets if you fly alot. I have used the Bose Quiet Comfort headsets for several years and I swear by them. They virtually eliminate the background noise from jet engines that wear you down on a five hour flight. They won’t eliminate the kicks in your seat back from the six year old in the next row, but they’ll muffle the noise from the peanut gallery.
Sixth, wash your hands early and often. I don’t want to sound germophobic like Howard Hughes but lots of people with terrible diseases are touching the same doors, arm rests, and seat backs that you are. And they all want to shake your hand.
Seven, even in I can’t always stay in the same hotel. I am a big fan of staying in the same neighborhoods in cities where I visit often. Not very imaginative, I know. But it reduces the stress of travel when you can find easily find the subway stop, a restaurant that you like, or an all night pharmacy.
Eight, stay in a hotel with a good (or good enough) workout facility–and use it. You will feel bad and get fat if every trip is an excuse to skip workouts and enjoy expense account meals. It eliminates one more excuse if the exercise room is only an elevator ride away. If I don’t like the exercise room in the hotel though, I can always find a local gym or a 24-Hour Fitness that welcomes travellers.
Nine, go easy on the booze and the desserts when you travel. When you are in your twenties and business travel is a novel adventure, every trip can be spring break. As you move from your thirties into your forties, the recovery takes longer and the wear and tear is more pronounced. I am not a teetotaler. I’ll enjoy a glass of wine or two. Then I’ll take my leave, do my email, and read a book. Boring? Sure. But as someone once told me, nothing good is going to happen for your health, your career or your marriage in a bar after 11pm.
Finally, don’t buy that line about travelling in sweatsuits. Not only are you guaranteed to run into your boss, your competitor, or your biggest customer but it will be the one day that the airline siezes your luggage and routes it through Bulgaria, leaving you stranded for your 9am meeting.
Have any great business travel strategies? Send them along to me. I’d love to hear them.