Five Things I’ve Learned Over Five Million Miles of Business Travel

Over the last twenty years, I’ve traveled the globe, racking up millions of frequent flier miles and learning a thing or two about the process. Business travel doesn’t have to be awful or even hard on you. It’s all a matter of taking a design thinking approach to it, and letting preparation separate you from the pack of suffering.

Today, I hit the road around fifty times a year, armed with a slew of hacks, tricks and techniques to live my best travel life. Here are five of them:

1) Use Apps for Everything 

Airlines apps simplify the boarding pass experience greatly and also give you free media, including Live TV in flight. Hotel apps simplify check-in. TripIt is an amazing app that can organize every trip in one place for you with helpful alerts and notifications.

2) Take Diet and Hydration Seriously

I always buy a big bottle of water for a flight. This way I can control it’s province and quality and not have to wait for an attendant to eventually give me ½ a glass. Carry a power bar or bag of nuts, in case you aren’t given any healthy options at the airport or in flight. When all else fails eating out, ask for grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. They can whip that up for you anytime.

3) Avoid Germs Like the Plague

Think of your hands as sickness-sponges and keep them clean accordingly. I carry my own pen to sign receipts. I have hand sanitizer handy. I use elbows to choose floors on an elevator. I don’t have open drinks or open food around fellow travelers who are sick. I take Airborne supplements starting a day before and including a day after a trip. I use the liner provided for the ice bucket to cover the remote prior to using.

4) Don’t Nap on Planes

Stay with me on this one: If you are exhausted, then by all means nap. But don’t do it out of boredom or a lack of planning. Plane time gives you an extended opportunity to read a book, plow through a project on your laptop or binge on your favorite series or a movie. When I first started traveling, I napped, and my neck would always be sore, and the sleep would never be uninterrupted. Somewhere around 1998 I started to devour books on flights, and my business life changed accordingly.

5) Shorten the Stops and Waits

When choosing flights, choose non-stops over brand loyalty. You can’t use those miles when you need them, and connections add risk to your schedule and one more up and down – which is taxing on the body. You MUST have TSA Pre and Global Entry if you travel internationally. Depending on your market, now that the TSA Pre secret is out of the bag, you should also invest in CLEAR too, because it puts you at the first of any screening line – even ahead of TSA precheck!

Speaking of travel innovations, I’m way excited about this innovative new spinner bag from the folks at G-RO. It’s easy to use, smart in so many ways, easy to roll and has so many strategically placed pockets. It’s like Steve Jobs himself designed it. Don’t miss out on this Kickstarter. PS – They’ve done one before, delivered as promised, and exceeded expectations.