As I write this I am sitting on a plane from New York to Tokyo. On Monday, I flew to Nashville for Inc.'s GrowCo. I flew back to NYC on Thursday, only to pack so I could leave the next day for two weeks in 3 cities of Vietnam. Upon my return, I will have four days of client meetings before heading out for Vienna, Germany, and Krakow, Poland. My travel schedule finally settles down in mid-May, although I am sure another trip is bound to get scheduled before I even return. It appears Moscow and Detroit are both in discussion.
Some people are sure to feel exhausted from what I just described, and others may feel excited or even envious. Personally, I enjoy the travel. I love seeing new people and new places. I have learned to both enjoy my home in New York and also to feel at home wherever I am.
My fellow Inc. columnists below are all well-seasoned travelers. In fact, Peter Economy is joining me on this trip to Hanoi. Together we have put together some of our favorite tips to make business travel a little more enjoyable.
1. Routine will set you free.
Travel is full of the unexpected. The Internet has helped a lot for pre-screening venues and maintaining schedules, but often transportation and accommodations end up different than anticipated. When I travel I like to control what I can so I'm able to be open to the adventure that comes my way. I give myself plenty of time between appointments so I am rarely in a rush. I keep my travel items packed separately at home in specific travel bags so I rarely forget anything. I simply grab my pre-packed toilet items kit and travel backpack, which already has my necessary electronics and comfort items. That way I can pack quickly and know that I have what I need, wherever I need it.
2. Look for unexpected surprises.
I like to walk around airports while I'm waiting for a flight and see if I can find someone reading a friend's book; it happens more than you might think. If I do, I say, "Hey, a friend wrote that . . . can I get a picture of you with her book and send it to her?" The authors always enjoy it and (surprisingly) the people reading their books do too. Or you can modify it and take a photo of an author's book in the bookstore and tweet it to her. Every author enjoys seeing his books on a bookstore shelf. Plus it beats sitting around, something you'll do plenty of on the plane. Jeff Haden--Owner's Manual
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3. Get a SENTRI card.
For those readers in the U.S., the best thing I ever did was get a SENTRI card from the Department of Homeland Security. The benefits are many, including TSA PRE status for boarding flights (which allows me to keep my shoes and jacket on, and my laptop in my backpack), and much shorter lines for Customs when arriving in the U.S. after an international trip. Money well spent. Peter Economy--The Leadership Guy
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4. Combat the stale cabin air.
In the past, my trips were marred by the fact that I would inevitably become ill within days after a flight. Then a friend told me about a particular essential oil that may help prevent the problem; and for me it works! Two or three drops of an oil by the Young Living company, called Thieves, does the trick. I place the drops on a tissue and enclose it in a plastic baggie to keep it fresh. During the flight I inhale the oil frequently. I've been doing this for about five years and haven't suffered the ill effects of a crowded flight since. --The Successful Soloist
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5. Arrive early.
I make sure that I am always arriving early. I get to the airport early for my flight and to the city early for my meeting. Business travel is all about expecting the unexpected--gate changes, flight delays, long taxi lines and security checkpoint backups. By giving yourself more time, these unavoidable occurrences will not cause you extra stress. I take advantage of the time I have built into my schedule to catch up on work that is hard to do at the office. Reviewing financials, writing my column, or editing a document, for example. The built in hotspot on my phone makes this time more productive--even if the airport provides free wifi, which is often slow and restricted. --Lean Forward
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6. Don't let flying screw up your health.
Forget airplane food and overpriced airport food. Bring your own healthy snacks that you like. It's also smart to bring one of those soft-sided roll-up water bottles empty and fill it after security. Flying is very dehydrating and the drink service won't make up for it. Speaking of liquids, stay away from alcohol on board or choose beer or hard liquor but not wine which can lead to ear trouble (it contains histamines, the opposite of antihistamines). Also, if you fly more than a couple of hours, spend a few minutes standing at your seat. This will help your muscles and spine, and may help protect you from rare but serious blood clotting issues that can result from flying. --The Laid Back Leader
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