Travel is an important function to many businesses. It does not matter how much technology and virtual meetings bring us closer together, sometimes there is nothing that can replace a face-to-face meeting for getting things done. Many executives consider it a necessary evil, as it is expensive, time consuming and often times very frustrating.
Having lived on the road for quite some time, I have compiled a list of five of my best travel tips.
- Always carry a small travel charger so that you never run out of battery space. You'll also make new friends as they can charge their equipment, too. I use this Belkin variety as it also has two USB ports that can charge iPads and phones while charging three laptops, is moderately priced and doesn’t take up too much space in my backpack.
- When things look shaky for your flight, but before they announce a cancellation, make your way over to the customer service desk and ask them about alternative options and have them put you on the list. You'll beat the rush and reduce your stress all in one simple move. If your flight goes of on time, the backup plan automatically gets canceled.
- If you are already in a long line because of several flight delays, call the customer service number as soon as you get in line (make sure you save the contact information in your phone before you leave the house) as often you'll get through on the customer service phone line faster than getting to the front of the physical line. If you get to the front of the line, don't hang up until they have solved your issue! Sometimes the person on the phone can manipulate the system in a way that works better for you than the person at the desk can. If the person at the desk solves your problem, simply hang up the phone after the transaction has been completed.
- Drink water. Drink as much water as you can! Dehydration is your enemy when you travel as planes have extremely dry air. I used to get headaches all of the time traveling; once I realized that one of the main causes was dehydration, I have cut down headaches to nearly zero when I am on the road just by conscientiously drinking extra glasses of water throughout the trip.
- Sign up for text alerts from your airline, or use my favorite tool, Flight Aware to track your flight. I find that I have updated the gate agents more often than they have updated me with that tool. Always track the inbound flight as that is the best indicator of when your aircraft will actually arrive - then add 30 minutes for them to clean and get the boarding process started. Most major airlines also have their own smart phone apps and those are great to have on hand, too.
Hopefully these tips and the ones we shared last week will help you have a better travel experience the next time that you are called on to hit the road. Remember that no matter how much planning and preparation you do, you can’t cover every circumstance so you have to roll with the punches as they come up. Try your best to keep your wits about you as getting mad and upset can only be counterproductive, although it is certainly the easiest thing to do!