I'm packing for my fourth trip in four weeks and I'm getting to the point where I feel like I'm an expert on this. I am a hyper-efficient business traveler: People are always amazed that I can show up for week-long events with just a carry-on sized bag and a laptop case. So, for all of you guys who want to make travel easy on yourself, just follow these tips. (I'm sure some will work for the females, too)
- Never, ever check a bag. Waiting for a bag to arrive on the carousel after a long day of travel is like death. Here's how to downsize your luggage...
- Best way to cut down on the size of the bag you need to carry is to bring as few pairs of shoes as possible. For most trips, I bring one pair of jogging shoes and wear a pair of business casual shoes on the plane. In warmer climes, I'll bring flip flops. I stuff my shoes with socks to maximize use of the space.
- Bring no more than two pairs of slacks. Wear one pair on the plane.
- If you have to bring a jacket, wear it on the plane. I've found that a black jacket is the most versatile. You can wear it with black slacks and have something that looks like a suit, if necessary. It'll also go with stone and tan khakis.
- Especially if you travel often, keep a separate toiletries kit stocked at all times and just leave it in your bag. I always keep my two ounce or smaller liquids in the TSA-requisite quart sized bag inside the kit. It gets packed at the top of my bag, so I can grab it quickly in security.
- I own four black belts because I kept forgetting them at home, forcing me to purchase another on the road. Now I just keep a reversible (black/brown) belt in my travel bag at all times.
- TSA recommends this, but I always see people fumbling with electronics at the security area: Put all metal/electronic objects into your carry-on before you enter the security line.
- For heaven's sake, buy yourself a wheelie bag if you don't already have one.
- Take the time to fold shirts and slacks nicely before you pack them. Occasionally this will eliminate the need to iron them, if you also hang them up as soon as you arrive.
- Pack a power strip. Power outlets at airports are always at a premium. You will make friends by expanding capacity.
- In my experience, Continental Airlines seems to have the worst on-time record, especially for east coast flights. I was burned twice in one month back in 2007. I will never fly with them again.
- On the other end of the spectrum, JetBlue has the DirecTV consoles in the seats. I like this because everyone zones out watching TV and I can read a book or type on the laptop.
- All other airlines are about the same.
- Don't hate on regional jets like Embraer and Canadair. Yes, they're small, but they load and unload very quickly compared to the big Airbus, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas planes. However, stay away from prop planes at all costs. They are slow, loud and bumpy.
- Flying from or into small markets often means connecting. Try to connect through smaller airports to improve your chances of making connections if your first flight is running late. Some of the smaller hubs I really like are Charlotte (US Air), Memphis (Northwest), and Cincinnati (Delta).
- Found that your connecting flight is delayed? Check the departure board to see if an earlier flight with the same airline to your city was also delayed. Run, do not walk, to that gate and ask to fly standby on the earlier flight. I once shaved three hours off of a connection in Newark doing this.
- Scope out the lines leading to the metal detectors and X-ray machines. If the lines are turning to the right as you approach the metal detectors, take the line farthest to the right. It will be the shortest. If the lines turn left, take the line farthest to the left.
- FAA regs allow you to turn on your cell phone as soon as your plane touches down.
Tagged: Association Management; Associations; CAE; Certified Association Executive