I’ve been traveling quite extensively across the US and Canada for the last few years. I travel so much that just about anything that can happen does. I’ve learned a few things that have made my travels just a little easier.
Prepare… as much as possible. Having a list of all addresses, phone numbers, meeting days and times, etc. helps me stay organized on the road. I like to have both an electronic and a written copy of my travel plans. This may be a bit extensive, but technology is not 100% reliable and I wouldn’t want to get stuck traveling and not know what my next step is.
Pack smart… and as small as possible. If my travel is four days or less I can usually get away with a backpack and carry-on. I use those really cool vacuum bags to save space and it saves time with checking bags and baggage claim, especially when traveling out of the country. If I have layovers, then I can usually do a complimentary check for my carry-on bag that will land at my final destination without having to drag it all over multiple airports.
Keep your cool… especially when dealing with the airlines. I know I can’t do anything about flight delays, changes, or cancellations. I tend to get just a little more accommodations and better service when I keep my cool and help them understand my travel needs. Sure, I might have to stay an extra night somewhere, but I usually walk away with vouchers and I have the opportunity to meet amazing people who become friends.
On the first night… I like to unpack completely and iron/prepare my clothes for the trip (even if it’s just one night). Not only is it easier to repack, but I feel a little less stressed and more prepared for the rest of the trip. I also try to get to bed as early as possible the first night, especially when I’m traveling coast-to-coast. The extra rest helps me feel better the next day and it helps my body adjust to the new time zone almost effortlessly.
Go with the flow… especially with agenda changes. I’ve had meetings changed and canceled, I’ve had to swap meeting days, I’ve had to squeeze in other meetings, and have had unplanned events happen – which can easily turn into once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The in-person connection with people, especially when I work remotely, is the most important thing. Most everything else can be handled over the phone or via email.
Have fun… make memories, and make a difference. I try to connect with everyone I can, both work-related and personal. These are some of the most rewarding experiences. Because of my travels, I have been able to meet, see, and connect with former coworkers and classmates who have become friends, family (of course), and I’ve had the opportunity to meet new friends – some out of the most challenging of travels.
Traveling is exhausting especially when things go wrong. If I’ve made a positive impact on one person, if I’ve made one connection, if I’ve met one goal, or if I’ve learned one thing during my trip, then it was a success.