Friday, May 16, 2008

Travel Notes

Sometimes I feel like for the rest of my life two weeks every month I'll be flying somewhere, driving a rental car, staying in a hotel, picking up breakfast every morning (ok a cup of coffee) at Starbucks and eating dinner every night in the bar in a restaurant that is not bad and that is not far from my hotel.

When I was a lot younger, a lot of this was fun. Now that I'm older and a lot of it has lost its sheen I guess I've come to think there are just a few things that actually matter when you have to travel. Here's my short list - I'd be curious to know about yours ...

1). Check in before you go to the airport. There will only be a line when you don't.

2). The security folks are just trying to do their job. Be nice to them and they'll smile.

3). There is no excuse for not knowing why the plane is leaving late. (I don't know why the airlines still don't get this, but they don't. Pick up the microphone and tell me what's happening).

4). No decent hotel as an air conditioner hanging out of the wall under the window.

5). If you say you're going to do something, do it. A curious thing happens to me every time I go to pick my car up in DC, my name isn't on the board. I have to go inside and stand in line. If Hertz cared, there would be some way for me to contact them and let them know this happens. There isn't. They don't.

6). Coach sucks - and it's only going to get worse.

7). Bartenders are almost always the only people you will just chat with on the road. A really good bartender can make the lonely road a little easier.

8). Holding the door for someone won't mean you miss your plane. You feel better when you do it and always feels bad when you don't.

9). Always ... always ... always... wear shoes to the airplane bathroom.

10). Speaking of the airplane bathroom. The reason it takes so long for people to do their business is that they're not. They're done. Between home and your hotel room the only truly private place you'll be is in the airplane bathroom. People recharge in them. They're charging stations.

11). The food you can buy in the back is better than the food you get for thousands of dollars in the front, but desserts are better in the front. Hint - Fly American dinner flights in first. You get a Sundae. That feels a little like home!

12). Your company's travel policies are actually designed to get you to spend more money than they will while you travel. The best way to avoid this is not to travel.

13). When you're flying west it takes longer. It doesn't just feel that way. It does. You're crazy, but this is not why.

14). You have to decide in the first minute if you want to talk with the person next to you for the rest of the flight.

15). For a business traveler a good book is the best travel aid.

16). Calling home doesn't make you feel better.

17). The best part of any trip is pulling back into your own driveway and seeing the lights on, no matter what time of night it is ...

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