It’s that time of year for professional speakers, when we live out of suitcases and travel non-stop on the fall lecture circuit. A few weeks ago I reached a milestone: Ten flights in a single week. My travels took me to Chicago, Jackson Hole, Phoenix and Colorado Springs. I spent as much time in planes and airports as I did hotels and conference centers.
When I got home on Saturday night, I must admit, I was taxed from the multi-segment week. But I survived. As a seasoned road warrior, I had a plan for my 10 flight week. It worked as well as any plan works for a human going through this much stress and strain.
1. Plan Well So You Can Mosey — The secret to a wall-to-wall week of travel is to take it easy. If you are constantly rushing around, the stress adds up quickly, and can take your health with it. I plan, double check the plans, and then rehearse them mentally during the weekend leading up to the trip. I leave padding in each segment of the schedule, which results in a little more gate time than I like, but it beats running through the airport. Whenever possible, when I arrive early enough to consider an earlier flight to my next destination, I put myself on the standby list.
2. Sit Towards the Front — My favorite seat on a plane is the second row (behind the dreaded bulkhead seat) in the section. On American long haul flights, that’s 9A (window). I don’t get bumped when the plane is loading and I’m one of the first people off the plane. It makes a big difference.
3. Talk To People Sitting Next To You — Sitting in silence makes flights longer, and the whole traveling experience more unbearable. I usually strike up a pleasant conversation either as we taxi out or better yet, when we are descending to our final destination. In many cases, I’ve made friends and valuable business contacts.
4. Don’t Forget Your Health — I never pass a water fountain in an airport. I eat oatmeal or simple eggs every morning before I board my first flight. I wash my hands whereever I can find hot water and soap. I program days to ensure 7 hours of sleep (I’ll post something later on how I sleep well on the road). If you get run down, sick or dehydrated, the whole travel experience can turn on you quickly. When I get home from a long travel week, I rehab with a massage and plenty of good food and water.
What are your travel secrets for an action packed week? Share them in comments!