For Impact


10 Travel Tips

Personal Development | | Nick Fellers

Tom and I spend a good deal of time on the road traveling to just about every city in the U.S. Three times in the past week I’ve been talking to clients who have asked for travel tips. It never occurred to me that large part of our community travels and can benefit from, and even contribute, to this list of tips for travel.

  1. Never schedule a connecting flight through Chicago in the winter time.

    It’s just too unpredictable and you’ll spend a lot of time de-icing. Besides that, O’Hare is just generally a mess.

  2. Never schedule to depart New York City (JFK/LaGuardia) after 3:00 p.m.

    3:00 p.m. is rush hour. You may have a 4:00 flight but chances are you’re not getting out until 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. Just plan on losing that time and stick in the city, enjoy a show, etc.. It really decrease stress.

  3. Stay at hotels that have restaurants. Our good friend Phil C. (a developer) shared this tip. A restaurant in a hotel automatically raises the level of service and ensures, despite the chain, that you’re going to be staying at a half-way decent place.

  4. Use Between rental cars, hotels and all sorts of other reservations, Phyllis, our office manager, just forwards all the information to and it creates a wonderful itinerary. It automates weather reports, directions, etc. It’s an incredibly efficient way to organize your travel and, again, decrease stress.

  5. Never check luggage. This one goes without saying.

  6. Store all airline numbers in your phone. On numerous occasions, I’ve been at the gate only to see my flight cancelled. Everybody lines up to reschedule… 50, 60 or 100 people deep. If you have the phone number stored, you can schedule to get on the next flight right away. Otherwise, you might be out of luck. If you have a stored number, you might be lucky enough to be one of the 6 or 7 people to get on the next flight. Otherwise, good luck with the line.

  7. Almost always have a GPS included with your rental car. If you’re going to be out on the road making visits with prospects, it’s worth it. Too many times, I’ve been driving through cornfields or urban jungles calling a prospect I haven’t met and apologizing for being lost and late. The advent of GPS has been a game changer. Plus, often times you’ll get in very late at night and have no idea where you’re going. Again, it’s all about minimizing stress on the road.

  8. Take tennis shoes (from Kerry). Running around/walking around is the best way to see a city. You’ll have to do this. Otherwise, you’ll go crazy on the road. See also Tom’s notes on how explore a city.

  9. Give up on being productive (mentally) the day after an intense road trip. It takes a lot of mental energy if you have an intense road trip with a board meeting, a presentation or visits with prospects. Your brain is a muscle (at least it is for the purpose of this point). If you use it a lot one day, it’s going to be fatigued the next. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you’re going to fly back late at night and be productive the next day at the office. We need oscillation.

  10. Other random stuff I’ve noticed.

    • If you’re staying at a hotel and conference center, this automatically means you will pay for internet. For some reason, it’s never free at a conference center.

    • It’s okay to use Hotwire when staying at an airport hotel. They’re all basically the same. So go with Hotwire and get yourself a 4 or 5-star hotel.

      On a recent trip to Denver I ended up at LaQuinta Inn & Suites at the Denver Airport. I would usually never stay at a LaQuinta but it was awesome. On par with any Marriott or Hilton out there. I think airport hotels have to compete against one another because they are generally all pretty good.

    • A lot of people like to talk about scrimping on-the-road. Those are the people that don’t travel much. No matter which way you cut it, travel is stressful. It took me a long time to understand (from Tom) that the extra $60 to $80 to $100 for a great hotel room makes all the difference in the world in terms of productivity, return-on-investment and general health.

    • Rental cars. Go with your trusted brand and just stick with it. It’s not worth trying to save money going to a new city with Dollar Rent-A-Car. You just never know what you’re going to get. For instance, I was heading out to West Texas and found that my Dollar Rent-A-Car was only open for four hours out of the day. This did not help me. You’re paying a little extra for great brands but what you’re also paying for is the insurance that you’re going to get where you need to be.

    • Get an iPhone or a CrackBerry. I got an iPhone last January and it has saved my tail on the road dozens of times… checking flight information, making changes, etc.

    • Procedural. Tom and I have Phyllis make all of our travel arrangements. This works out very well. Then we have a running list of local knowledge. When we return from the road, we share stuff with her like how different airports work in Los Angeles, whether it’s better to fly out from JFK or LaGuardia at different times. Phyllis refers to this running list and our preferences and handles travel for us. If you have someone handle your travel for you consistently, it makes a load of difference.

      When doing this, it’s helpful to have Phyllis’ name on the reservation somewhere, whether there’s an email confirmation to her or wherever else available. This provides her access to make changes to the reservation for you.

    • Credit cards. It’s also helpful for the travel arrangements to be made on a credit card that you are carrying for purposes of making changes.

  11. BONUS: When flying back from the west coast always leave room to pack some Fat Tire Beer (only exception to the no-checking luggage rule).

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