After more than a decade of traveling 3 or more weeks a month we know a thing or two about travel.
Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits cleverly applied to travel.
1. Be Proactive
Checking flights, connection times and weather can prevent stressful travel. Make sure your connection time is realistic and plan for delays – which typically happen on the 1st leg but never the 2nd leg of your journey.Do some research about the area you are traveling to; we love to explore a few cool things in the places we travel to. We try to eat and drink local to get a feel for the local vibe????
Being proactive also means buying clothes, travel items and stuff to make life on the road easier.
2. Begin with the End in Mind
Think about it – does traveling to a place makes sense? Is this something that can be done with a Zoom call? Is there a central location everyone could travel to? Or is this a meeting that could be replaced with email. Challenging the habits of yesterday with the technology of today can save you time and money.
Checking the weather can help with packing too. Think ahead; what activities and events are planned for your event? Formal, business, business casual & casual clothing (including shoes). I like to use clothes that work together and can be used for various occasions. A little black dress that travels well is a MUST – pair it with flats, heels, different jackets and jewelry to be ANYTHING and fit ANY occasion. A MUST Have is a swimsuit for the nightly hot tub, flip flops and sleeping shirt.
Speaking of packing; as a Seasoned Road Warrior I rock at packing. I can travel weeks with just a carry on. I LOVE packing cubes they allow me to put my workout clothes in one cube, my dresses & jackets in another, casual clothes … you get the idea. I also then use them to separate the clean from the dirty as the week goes on.
Some of my favorite “Must Haves” are; Juice Plus capsules and the Complete shake, Black electrical tape (to use to cover all those annoying blinking lights in the hotel rooms), a clip for the curtains that never stay closed, a spider or other cell phone holding devise to use in rental car so I can use my Google Maps AP , Audible AP and Kindle AP for my cell phone (I don’t carry an additional reader), portable charger, extra batteries, cords for all my devises, and my journal. I use a business card holder to carry all my travel & loyalty, along with AAA and insurance cards. Another MUST HAVE; essential oils (I use Young Living) Thieves spray is AMAZING its only 1 oz. I use it for hand sanitizer on the pens on the resignation tables at my conferences, to freshen stale hotel rooms, conference rooms, or rental cars. I carry lavender to help me relax and PanAway for any pain I might have. I also am BIG on Traditional Medicinals Teas. Smooth Move, Throat Coat, Nightly Night are a few of my MUST HAVES.
3. Put 1st Things 1st
Here are a few tips I’ve learned as a woman often traveling alone:
- Be aware – Pay attention to people and things around you. Look around before exiting your car. Look in the back seat before entering your car – oh and have your keys out before you leave the building. Pushing the panic button is a great way to call attention if you should need help. I also sleep with the keys next to me for the same reason.
- Never put things in the trunk – unless you are leaving your stuff in your car, don’t use the trunk. When you are loading things in your trunk you are vulnerable, it is easy for someone to shove YOU into the trunk. I can’t believe how many people start their cars to cool them down or warm them up and then with the car running – load groceries or luggage into the trunk.
- Interior entry hotels only – you are vulnerable when you are entering your hotel room – which is why exterior entry hotel rooms are so dangerous. You are focused on the door and key; your arms are usually full, and your back is turned. Be extremely vigilant when entering your room and make sure you shut and lock the door immediately upon entering.
- Checking in – When checking into the hotel make sure your let the front desk know that you are not expecting anyone and that you are traveling alone. I put this on my reservation ahead of time and only ask for 1 key.
- Never charge something to your room – this was a lesson I learned the hard way ladies. I signed my bar tab to my room and left the hotel bar/restaurant and headed back to my hotel room, only to have a gentleman call my room, yep he got my room number from my bill. Luckily, things turned out ok and it was just a phone call and not someone at my door, or worse asking for another key at the front desk.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back. – We have a morning check in call and a I’m in for the night call. We talk about what roads we are taking and what car we are driving, what flights we are taking and what hotels we are staying at.
- Before walking to a restaurant check with the front desk about local safety. – I also check with the front desk before leaving to walk or run about the best and safest routes to take and let them know where I’m going. I also NEVER wear headphones in both ears while walking or running, you need all your senses to be safe. I carry my cell phone in my hand or handy so if there is an emergency, I can call for help. In places where I have felt uncomfortable, I call a buddy and talk with them until I get to a safe place. People are less likely to attack someone who is on the phone because of witnesses.
- Know some self-defense – There are classes out there, TAKE ONE. Know a few tips and tricks to keep yourself safe is priceless – mostly is about being aware and proactive. Know how to protect yourself is even better!
I LOVE loyalty programs and gaining status. We have preferred carriers and hotels in our travel profiles along with our membership numbers so that our travel agents know what to book first. Traveling often gets you status and benefits, choosing a few great companies that give great customer service will help you relax when traveling.
Some of my favorite benefits are:
- Free Hotel nights of course
- Upgrades with status – who doesn’t love a 1st class upgrade to Hawaii????
- Airlines and FREE Companion airfare when booking with Alaska Airlines Credit Card
- Free Wine or Seafood shipped from various locations including our hometown of Medford, Oregon – on Alaska Airlines.
- Free Boardroom Memberships when you have a United Airlines Credit Card
- Hilton – complimentary Wi-Fi, snacks and upgrades, picking your room, and keyless entry. Did I mention FREE nights????
5. Listen First to Understand – Then to be Understood
Travel can be stressful. Plans can be turned upside down in a moment. How you handle the situation can be the difference between stressed out and inconvenienced. Take time to understand what is happening. Listen to the options being offered and then offer up your solutions.
Putting your travel and time to work for you. Bunching together your travel to an area for greater efficiency. When we are traveling to an area, I will reach out to other clients and try to coordinate a meeting with them, or a training offering a savings since we are already in the area. We also look for weeks when we are in say, in Southern California and will be again the following week, staying over for the weekend in San Diego makes more sense and is more fun than a weekend traveling home and then back to SO Cal. Be creative and see what happens when you Synergize – is there a concert or a weekend retreat that you could do rather than travel back and forth.
7. Sharpen Your Saw
We own a training company, so of course we love training. Rob and I both love to learn, which is one of the things that drew us to this business and each other. Take time to learn about all the new technology that is out there. Aps and software and systems that can save you time and stress.
We’d love to hear back from you about your life hacks and aps.
Soul Canyon Training & Development offers business training programs including Managing Stress and Mastering Changes and Time Management for Busy Professionals. Mary Hambleton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541.218.7601