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Chocolate: The Cure For Airport Stress

Chocolate: The Cure For Airport Stress

Travel delays got you feeling down at the airport? Indulge in some tasty chocolate! The delicious snack will not only satisfy your sweet tooth cravings but also releases feel-good endorphins. Stress be gone!

Pro Tip: If there’s a Duty Free store in your airport, check for travel retail confectionary exclusives. You can score some great deals on delicious chocolates! We love Godiva.

Image credit: By André Karwath aka Aka (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

From A to X…that’s ATL to LAX; the Airports Business Travelers Know All Too Well

From A to X…that’s ATL to LAX; the Airports Business Travelers Know All Too Well

My flight is touching down for landing. It has been a smooth flight; thankfully I was able to catch some Z’s since I have been sick as of late and run down. I don’t have much time when I land at MSP; I have a two and a half hour drive to lovely La Crosse, Wisconsin-my final destination. The good news is that when I return to Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP) tomorrow, I will have an hour or so to relax and visit some of my favorite places in the airport. Think: Minnesota Wild Sports Bar for some amazing Bavarian Pretzel Sticks.  Or Brookstone-who doesn’t love the latest gadget and a free massage by chair?Drink in airport that offers international airport wifi in Dallas Fort Worth

While the fact that I have favorite places at airports is more of a statement about my work/life balance these days, it is imperative to know these places to keep me sane on the road (and tarmac). Any business traveler can tell you that they have a list of their favorite airports, a list of airports that they frequent (which hopefully match the previously mentioned list) and a list of airports they aim to avoid if at all possible. When you fly a lotyou spend an inordinate amount of time in the terminal, waiting. And although staying glued to the mobile phone is and/or laptop is always an option, sometimes I want need to disconnect. If you are like me, this parlays itself into keeping a running tab on where to go during your layover for eating, drinking and shopping. That’s why one of the ten commandments of the business traveler is: Know Thy Airport.

Here is a roster of airports that I transit through most frequently (you will probably start seeing tips from me about these airports, so stay tuned!):

I bet many other frequent business travelers in the United States have a similar list.  It isn’t any surprise that most of these are major airline hubs, consequentlyI am usually connecting through them to my final destination to visit my customers. I know them well given the time I spend in them. The good news is that this frequency creates time for me to be the consumer I always strive to be-trying new foods, seeking out new items to surprise my family with as an offering for my time away.

What is it inside of us that makes us want to know these places so well? There is a story that I always tell that lends itself to the comfortability of business travel. I once had a hiatus from traveling due to company budget cuts. As any business traveler knows, nearing the end of the fiscal year you probably won’t see many airports, as companies aim to improve the bottom line. After this break from the travel lifestyle, on my first trip back throughSt. Louis airport (STL) . I sent my brother a text message, Starbucks in hand, telling him how oddly comfortable I felt sitting at the airport and that I couldn’t decide if that was a good thing or just plain sad.

A man waiting at Atlanta International Airport.

Waiting at the Airport

All joking aside, there is some validity to that feeling – the same reason I stay at Marriott properties almost exclusively when I travel for business – I want to be comfortable somewhere that feels familiar and that I know well, if I can’t be home with my wife and kids.  I remember I used to hear frequent traveling friends referring to airports by code and thinking, “Wow, that is so confusing… can’t they just call it San Fransisco instead of SFO?” Nowadays, I find myself talking of my travels and sounding like I am helping my kids learn the alphabet. I just hope that I don’t teach them the wrong order when I actually do help them with their homework:

Addison: “Daddy, what comes after A?”

Daddy: “T-L honey…”

Like I said, it is human nature to want to be comfortable. Whether it is flying to the same airports and knowing the terminals well, or it is trying your darndest to fly with your favorite airline. OK, so maybe it is the sense of comfortability and the acquisition of frequent flier miles. Hey, a guy has to pay the family back for all of that time away with fun vacations. Am I right? Spring break at MCO(Orlando), here we come!!! Oh wait… we’re driving. No problem, I will use my airline miles for the hotel!

The Flying Salesman

Red-Eye  vs. Crack-of-Dawn Business Travel – What to Do?

Red-Eye vs. Crack-of-Dawn Business Travel – What to Do?

BEEP BEEP BEEP!!! My alarm was going off at 3:30 AM-a business travel nightmare. But wait, I am home…why was my alarm going off at 3:30 AM? alarm clockHad my wife (who goes to bed prior to me and subsequently has rendered herself in charge of the alarm clock) not set it correctly? Had the clock somehow malfunctioned? Is God mad at me for some of my transgressions I may (or may not) have made in my younger days?

Unfortunately, no. I made this choice to get up at this unholy hour. Why you ask? Because I had a business meeting in the Baltimore area today and the alternative was to fly out the night before and miss seeing my wife and kids last evening. True, while I have a headache now, last night we played a marathon game of hide and seek (my daughter won, because she always wins) and I got to experience another one of my favorite parts of the day, sitting on the couch and watching TV with my wife. Sure, she watches HGTV and some show about women who are married to the same guy but it never matters to me as long as she is there and the house is quiet.

When to fly for business travel is a decision many husbands, wives, parents and the like struggle with all of the time. Do I get up at the crack of dawn and catch the early flight, or do I take the last flight out and be there and ready for my meeting tomorrow morning?

airport-84240_640The answer isn’t the same for everyone. Really it comes down to what you view as important in your life and how you deal with those important things. Is being prepared and bright eyed important to you? Do you not like to be rushed in the morning? Do you want to be able to fly home the next evening and not be totally drained? Then you should probably take the late flight the night prior to your meeting. However if time with your family is paramount, or perhaps you are more of a morning person, or maybe you even just want to enjoy that cup of Starbucks on the company dime in the morning — then the early bird flight is the one for you.

That isn’t to say that you are a bad parent because you take the late flight out. Maybe you take that flight because your kids are in bed and doing so allows you to be home in time to take your daughter to her Girl Scout meeting. And it’s not to say you don’t care enough about your customers to be bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning. Perhaps you are a morning person and getting up at 3 isn’t an issue.

Regardless of your business travel preferences and the reasoning behind, it helps to have some tips to save time, energy and money along the way.

For the early flight:

  • Make sure you are 100% packed and prepared the night before
  • Check the inbound version of your flight the night before to ensure there have been no delays that will cause you headache tomorrow morning
  • Iron your clothes and place them out the night prior. Trust me, no one likes to be picking out their clothes at 3:30 in the morning.
  • Know your home airport and the location of the many Starbucks stores around the terminals. Might as well let your company buy you a cup of coffee for getting up this early!

For the late flight the night before:

  • Just like the Starbucks tip, know where and when you are going to eat before arriving at the airport. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to bed famished at my hotel because I didn’t plan to eat during my travel day.
  • Do the same for your return flight home
  • Wear comfortable clothes on the plane. Business travel doesn’t have to mean business professional attire 24-7. Hey, you’re not seeing your customer tonight, may as well be comfy right?
  • Keep an eye on the flight time. Don’t get to the airport only to be cancelled and have to run and go back home.

 

My next meeting is in Minneapolis at 9:00 AM. I’ll be flying the night before. I am NOT a morning person…

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