I was recently inspired by flight attendant Rebecca Quintero's Twitter feed to write a travel-themed post. She uses her social media platform to share advice, quirky anecdotes and other cool links. I’m a big fan of Rebecca’s and recommend following her if you aren’t already.
The management at my “day gig” has sent me out on a couple of business trips lately so, I thought I’d take a quick minute and share some of my own personal (if not common sense) tips to stay comfortable while working away.
Find your favorite airline and stick with it:
I’ve personally had a lot more luck with regional carriers than I have dealing with some of the bigger firms. With the competition as fierce as it is, regional airlines tend to be more customer-friendly and that goes a long way with me.
When you’re on the road it’s the little things that make a difference which is all the more reason to keep flying with one of your favorites. I once had a check-in clerk place me in a seat with more leg room due to my being tall. I didn’t ask her for this. She just decided to make my trip a little easier if for no other reason than she could.
Cab drivers know the best restaurants:
Strange as it may sound, my favorite part of a business trip is the cab ride from the airport to the hotel. If the driver is in a good mood, you’ll end up having the inevitable chit-chat about where you’re from and why you’re there. Being a big restaurant buff, I like to ask these guys an honest question: “Where is the best place to eat in this city that isn’t in most guide books?”
Whatever the guy says next, I jokingly laugh and shoot back “Bullshit, Mr. Driver! That sounds like the name of a place in a guidebook!”
You’ll get the same priceless reaction every time. He’ll give you a broad grin as if to say “alright, smart-ass” and offer up the names of a couple of his own favorite places. Trust me when I say that you’ll want to go to at least one of them.
Tip the cab driver well (but, not too well):
This may seem obvious, but, if the driver does recommend a place to eat, give him a couple of extra bucks. You may end up with a cell phone number and an offer to get chauffeured around for the remainder of your stay. No matter how bad the traffic is, you’ll never be late for a meeting or your flight home.
Take a shower right after you check in at the hotel:
You’ve been stuck in an airplane for several hours breathing the same stale air as everyone else or you just got out of the car after a particularly arduous drive. You feel tired and sticky and all you want to do is sleep. It’s amazing how much energy that a shower and change of clothes can give you.
Go visit “the big fucking thing”:
Comedian Lewis Black has a great bit that he does about how to inject money into a local economy. His claim is that all a city has to do is build a big fucking thing. It doesn’t matter what it is – just so long as it’s “big” and a “fucking thing”. That way, everyone who goes to that city will want to pay to see the thing, buy souvenirs, and visit the museum.
I think that there is a lot of truth to this and have proven Mr. Black right on many occasions. Regardless of how busy I am, I always try to find a couple of hours to myself to go exploring – even if it’s someplace I’ve been sent countless times. Let’s face it - do you really need to watch all those re-runs of The Big Bang Theory?
If you’re traveling with a superior, most won’t want to keep tabs on you 24-7. The cooler ones will want to go with you and may have a few suggestions of their own. By all means, go to the CN Tower in Toronto. Go to Times Square in New York. See a show in either city.
If you’re lucky, as a business person you’ll get a little story out of these excursions that you can subtly weave into your presentations. As in: “These statistics remind me of something that happened last night when I went to the big fucking thing...”
Whatever your interests may be, try to find a way to enjoy yourself. Work comes first but, that doesn’t mean that you can’t sneak in a couple of (small) vacation elements to help kill time.