When you have a life as a road warrior, you learn how to navigate through various obstacles that reveal themselves. Sometimes it’s through trial and error, but we learn what we like and don’t like through these experiences.
I was organized and somewhat anal about never being late for a plane. In all my years, I was only late one time. And they didn’t wait on me. I lived two hours from the international airport. If a wreck or a traffic jam occurred along the route, it could easily cause me to miss a flight. I knew the main roads and the secondary ones, so I would know how long my new route would take if something happened. With online maps, rerouting is super easy to know just how long it will take. It’s a terrible feeling to run through the airport to get to your gate before they leave you. Always leave early enough to have time to relax a moment when you get to the airport. Your stress level will appreciate it.
Planning ahead means looking at the weather. If your airport can handle weather issues you’re in luck. Look at where you are going and a few days before and after you are there. You might pack different clothes. Severe weather patterns will change your drive or flight time. If you are at least mentally prepared, that will help.
I had several legs of travel where I was in one place for two days and then caught an evening flight to be at the next location the following day. Most meetings had 15 to 30 people who traveled from all across the country to be there. Weather and planes needing repairs occasionally did cause me to not get to my destination on time. If the weather were going to be bad, I would ask my assistant to schedule my arrival a day or a half day earlier to avoid the weather. I’d use the time in the hotel to work. I could do my work from anywhere as long as I had a phone and internet.
I made it a point to park my vehicle near an exit or the entry doors in the parking garage. Either of these would “speed up” the time it would take me to get on the road home. I would circle a few times if a spot wasn’t immediately open. As I mentioned earlier, I never ran late, so I had the time to circle around versus being rushed and take whatever spot was open.
If I ever got a delayed flight, I wanted to be the first to check on additional flight options. I was the first in line because a delay costs me time and money. If you can find out why the delay is occurring, that also would give me info to make a decision. If it was a mechanical problem and my plane would be boarded in three hours, there may be one going out sooner. How many flights are going out?
Of course, all of these decisions change if you have all your luggage as carry-on or if you’ve checked your bags. If you checked bags and have to change planes, this greatly increases the risk of your luggage not arriving when you do. If I am on vacation, no worries, but if I am meeting with clients at 7:00 AM, then wearing the clothes I traveled in isn’t the best impression. Also, having the phone number of your airline’s customer service in your phone speeds up the connection. Many times I would call and get through quicker than standing in line. And I never ragged on these people, I was also polite and yet sometimes firmly polite.
Being a frequent flyer, you earn certain perks. Using the “lounges” was always nice with layovers. They offered the basics of food and a place to open up your laptop to work. Despite being a full-time road warrior, I rarely would pay extra for this service; I earned it in miles. I also like that I could get through the fast lane or even the first-class line to get through security.
Be nice to everyone. Yea, I know that sometimes rude people cut in line, or there is some jackleg hogging all the seat. I found that the nicer I am, the better people respond in kind. If I get ticked off, well, I say things and do things I don’t usually do. I get mad about once a year. That’s all I’ll allow myself to get into a negative state of mind.
I’ve always been a people watcher. I’d sit waiting on my flight and observe people’s behaviors. I’ve met Generals, heads of state, and even actors and professional athletes, and recording artists. Most of these folks were ok with a small conversation or appreciated a quick kind word from a stranger.
I ran interference one time for Kurt Warner in a men’s bathroom. A guy kept asking him for his autograph while we were all at the urinals. That’s not really the time that a guy wants to have a conversation. Mr. Warner was waiting for me outside to thank me. He introduced his wife and kids. We had a good visit. His story of how he came to be a Super Bowl champion is what legends are made of.
Ok, I could go on with how to sleep in the airport and how to order the freshest food, but I am headed to the beach this afternoon. Hope this helps you along on your travels.