Over the course of the year I make 30-40 trips for work. Some are short hops to continental Europe; others are longer journeys to the US, Middle East and Africa. I’ve learned a few things in the process (some the hard way) and I thought I’d pass along my own personal travel dos and don’ts for my fellow frequent fliers.
1. Pack lightly and early.
You never need as much as you think, and a few extra minutes of planning let’s you make smarter decisions about what can be mixed and matched for an extra use or two.
2. This does not apply to underwear.
You really can’t go wrong with extras here.
3. Check departures before you leave the house / office.
Delays are heartbreaking on their own – no need to arrive earlier than necessary.
4. But don’t trust them.
Things change. Just get to the airport / station on time.
5. Dress comfortably. But not for yard work or the gym.
You’re an adult and a professional for Pete’s sake. Not to mention airport lounges can make for interesting networking opportunities (click to tweet).
6. Slip-on shoes only.
Come on. Nobody wants to be that guy, holding up the security queue fussing with shoe laces while juggling carry-on baggage, little bags of 100 ml liquids and the laptop. And high-heeled shoes may tear the evacuation slide.
7. Safety First.
Speaking of which, pay attention to the safety demonstration. Seriously. Because, you never know.
8. Keep your passport on your person during transit.
Trust me. You do not want to be separated from it in the event of an emergency.
9. Don’t worry about asking for an upgrade.
In almost all cases, you get what you get. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
10. Bring a book.
Confession: without a pressing deadline I’m not great at working on planes or trains, and I’ve come to relish a few hours to read a good book (we all need to read more) or reconnect with popular culture through a silly inflight movie.
11. Stay alert when checking in to your hotel.
You’re tired, maybe a little disoriented and probably feeling sorry for yourself after a long trip. Wake up. This is when you are most likely to misplace your wallet or handbag, or have it stolen.
12. Enjoy the journey.
A colleague of mine tries to squeeze in a museum stop or cultural visit of some kind on every trip. This isn’t always possible, but with just a little effort you can soak in at least a bit of the ambiance on hand – a quick coffee at a local brasserie, window shopping around the hotel or even taking advantage of public transportation.
Bonus Travel Tip: SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS!
Wherever you go and however you get there, be safe and be healthy. Feel free to leave any travel tips in the comments section below.