I’m leaving in a few hours to head to the ICANN conference in Barcelona. I must admit that I’m not looking forward to sitting in a tin can at 30,000 feet for 24 hours….which causes me to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned from traveling the many miles to different events around the world.
For a start, I don’t let anyone plan my trips…..I’ve tried different travel agents and they always get it wrong. I’ve found the more time and care you take before you leave the ground the easier the trip becomes.
Anything and I mean anything that you can do to speed yourself through security and check-on is a MUST. I have an APEC card that allows me to go into the diplomatic/crew lines through most customs and being a member of the Qantas club reduces your time checking in considerably.
I should also mention that when traveling for business I only take carry-on luggage. That fourth pair of shoes you are packing just in case the laces break on the previous three aren’t necessary. If you’re traveling for five days, then why take changes of clothes for ten? Let's face it.....the worse case scenario is that you use your Visa to buy that thing you need.
I have my favourite jeans and t-shirt for being on the plane and one of the first things I normally do when I arrive at my destination is get them washed for the return journey. It really doesn’t cost that much compared to the amount of time you have to wait for the carousel at the airport to popup your bag….assuming that it does actually arrive.
This trip I will be checking on my bag…..because Roselyn is traveling with me and we plan on having a couple of weeks’ vacation after the conference. I must admit that I am checking bags on under sufferance......gggrrrrrrr! I guess it's one of the problems with traveling with someone else....
When you get on the plane check to see if it’s full. If you have the inconvenience of another passenger sitting next to you then you or they should move to another seat. Just dump a sweater or something on the spare seat and then resume yours for take-off (it’s mandatory). When the plane levels out you’ve avoided the rush for spare seats by already putting your claim on a good one.
NEVER and I repeat NEVER drink the water on a plane from a jug. Most planes water storage hasn’t been cleaned since they were first rolled out of the factory and you’ll find they are often filled with “special delights”. Unless you plan on spending the conference in a small cubicle only drink from sealed bottles
Next, NEVER touch the tray table. The most the tray tables have received is a cursory wipe down by the cleaning crew between flights. They are full of bacteria from the previous passenger that was coughing all over them from some tropical disease. So hands off and whatever you do don't touch your face or food with your hands that may have touched the table.
Don’t drink alcohol…..sorry to say this. Flying is incredibly dehydrating, and alcohol just makes this worse. If you plan on being ready for meetings as soon as you land then avoid the booze…..
Noise cancelling headphones are a must. One of the biggest stresses on the body is the incredible noise inside a plane. I’ve been through about five sets of noise cancelling headphones and the best are the Bose earbuds and the Sennheiser tiny noise reduction variety. I find the Bose over ear variety of headphones too hot and you can’t put your head on the side to sleep.
Not all seats are equal on a plane….even in economy. Check out http://seatguru.com and find out which are the best seats available on the plane you’re going to be flying in. I personally have a seat layout plan stuck to the inside of a cupboard door above my desk for just about all the planes I fly in.
After a long-haul flight don’t jump in your car to head home…..just get an Uber or taxi. You may think that driving is a bit of fun but after a serious flight you’re reaction time will be pretty bad and this may kill you….so just don’t do it.
I could go on and on about what I do to make my travel easier on myself but I’d like to hear from you. Leave a comment about what you do when you’re about to jump on a plane for a 24 hour journey.
See you in Barcelona!