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Personal Musings - Travel Tips for the Frequent Flyer

Personal Musings - Travel Tips for the Frequent Flyer

I’ve just completed reviewing my travel plans for the next six months and it looks like I’m going to be doing a lot of international flying. This is good because it means more business but bad because I’m away from home. So where am I going?

Date Reason Destination
Sept 4 – 7 DomainFest Asia Macau
Sept 26-29 The Domain Conference Fort Lauderdale
Oct 18-22 ICANN  Dublin
Dec 31 – Jan 7 Vacation (Yeah!) Queenstown New Zealand
Jan 10-13 Namescon Las Vegas


As you can see the second half of the year is going to be pretty busy. I really don’t know what happened between NamesCon in January this year and DomainFest Macau…..nothing that I attended. Seems to me there is an opportunity for a conference to be organised around May.

I love catching up with all of my friends at the various domain conferences around the world but what I really don’t like is the journey. Being from Australia, every flight is well over 10+ hours and sitting in a tin can for that long is never fun!

After clocking up way too many air miles over the years I‘ve developed a bit of a routine.

  • Do whatever I can to ensure that I have a spare seat next to me. When I say, whatever, I really mean it.
  • Hydrate with lots of water in the Qantas club
  • Be nearly the last person to enter the plane
  • Insert noise cancelling headphones into ears and put on some nice music
  • Assume the foetal position
  • Close eyes and pray for sleep

Every so often I open my eyes to check out the best movie on the plane. I’m sure you know the one, it’s the picture of the little aircraft moving on the map. Trust me when I say that if I can possibly move the plane icon by force of will alone I would. Anything to get the journey over with!

A few other things about the way I travel. I never take check on bags. A good friend of mine was traveling to LAX and said to the person at the check-in counter, “Do you mind sending my bags to London.”

The check-in person replied, “We can’t do that as you’re traveling to Los Angeles.”

At which my friend replied, “You seem to be able to do it last time.”

Flying with carry-on bags is the ONLY way to go. This is especially true if you’re on a business trip and jumping from one city to another. If you have check-on then you may be in the position that your bags never catch-up with you and you can kiss them good-bye. In fact, even when I travel with the family I insist that we leave home only with check-on.

For those of you that are from a country that is a member of APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) then you really need to get an APEC business card. This little beauty allows you to travel in the crew line and bypass the massive immigration queues… also allows you to be pre-approved for visas in countries such as China. It’s a hassle to apply for and requires that you get a police check etc. but if you travel a lot then it’s a must have.

A few other hints to help you in your own travels. Go to It’s a website that has a seat map of every aircraft used on every airline. Each seat is rated by travellers as to whether it is any good or not. For instance, seat 71D on a Qantas A380 has the crew escape hatch in front of you so it is always clear.

Assuming that you have the frequent miler points always put in for an upgrade. Cost wise, it’s the best option to spend your points on. For example, a business class airfare from Melbourne to LA costs around $8-9K while you can get an upgradable economy ticket for around $1.8K. You can then spend around 70,000 points to upgrade the ticket to business class. An economy ticket costs 100,000 points so clearly you get more bang for your buck with the upgrade option.

BTW, when you’re at the check-in counter always ask for the possibility of an upgrade…..even if an upgrade wasn't previously available you can sometimes get one due to someone else cancelling.

If I’m going to a conference, the first thing I do when I get to the hotel is have a shower and check in my dirty clothes to be cleaned for the return journey home. I then force my body into the local time zone….yep, it hurts but you’ve just got to do it if you want any chance of dealing with the jetlag. I always sleep with the curtains open so that the sun wakes me up in the morning (my wife hates this BTW). This also helps with the jetlag and triggers some sort of biological response to move my body as fast as possible into the local time zone.

Just on jetlag….I typically don’t drink alcohol when traveling on business. It completely messes up my routine for getting into the local time zone. I know that there is free drinks on the plane but in my opinion stick to bottled water. Alcohol dehydrates the body and so does flying at high altitudes….so drink lots of water. Whatever you do, don’t drink any water out of the airplane tanks….you’re very likely to come down with some sort of illness.

A few years ago I flew around the world in 12 days. The itinerary was a shocker! I ended up traveling from; Melbourne to Singapore, Singapore to Frankfurt, a train to Koln, train back to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Madrid, Madrid to Barcelona (for a conference), Barcelona to Miami, Miami to New York, New York to Toronto, Toronto to Denver, Denver to San Francisco, San Francisco to LA and then LA back to Melbourne. BTW – this was all flying economy.

When you have this sort of schedule you end up learning to sleep on the airplane, exist in the local time zone and do whatever you can possibly do to make the travel experience easier. It also causes you to groan when the person in front of you forgets to take their shoes and belt off when going through airport security. Cheers!


Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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