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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > Traveling for Work...

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Do you ever have to travel for work? Is there an art to it? Do you like it?

Larry, you seem to travel for work a lot...anyone else?

I have to give presentations on the road twice in the next week, one in Chicago and one in Orlando. Both trips are "arrive one day/leave the next". I find work travel to be exhausting, and I miss my family when I'm gone. At least Chicago is my hometown, and I'll see my friends, etc. that night. But a nondescript hotel room in Orlando? Bleh. At least there is a candy store nearby. And the flying one day and flying back the next...bleh bleh bleh. My father in law traveled one week a month when he still worked, and he loved it...but I think he liked getting away from his family, to be honest.

I realize that some people would probably love to travel for work, but I'm not one of them, so I apologize for my general negativity. Any ideas on how to reframe the experience in a more positive light? What have been your work travel experiences? What are some little things you can do to make it more tolerable?

message 2: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Next week I'll be in Denver for 3 days, then off to El Paso for one day. I have a love/hate relationship with business travel. I've developed a lot of little tricks to make it a little easier -- and I have a Hertz Gold account so I never have to stand in line for a rental car -- just get in the car and drive.

One of the hardest things is dealing with people who aren't frequent travelers.

message 3: by Dan (new)

Dan Schwent (akagunslinger) One of the hardest things is dealing with people who aren't frequent travelers.

I find this particularly true when I fly. It may be my impatient streak but I hate when people wait until the last possible moment to put their things into the plastic tub to be sent through the x-ray machine and thus hold up the line.

"What? You have to x-ray my stuff? I've never heard of that..."

message 4: by Sarah (last edited Feb 06, 2009 08:07AM) (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments When I used to tour full-time, it was a different city every night, and I loved it. The trick was giving yourself permission to stop and appreciate where you were: a meal in real local place, not Applebee's; a record store. Find a place that has local bands, or see if anybody you like is coming through that night. Since you've scoped out the candy store already, you're partway there.
Traveling by air sort of wrecks some of the fun - the actual getting there. It parcels everything off into blocks of waiting time (though they're good for catching up on reading) -- and let me tell you, nothing is as nerve-wracking as trying to fly with instruments post-911.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Most importantly is don't think of it as work, but another adventure that you get to partake in.

message 6: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments i travel much for work and the secret is a hotel with good internet (just saying hi-speed does not mean hi-speed), USA Today, wearing shoes you can get off easily in an airport, patience with everything and finding out where you can get good ice cream where ever you are (not DQ). I just got back from a 2 week trip on Saturday, left for Chicago on Monday, got home this evening and leave again for Chicago on Monday. I did eat at Bob Chinn's though and that was good.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I travel often enough to know to pack snacks, NOT to expect good food from a convention, to wear comfortable slip-on shoes, and to forget belts, metal hairclips, or even large earrings if I want to get through the metal detectors these days.

I've learned to get to the airport a couple of hours early, when the airline staff aren't worn out from dealing with people and are still cordial and happy to talk about exit-row seating with a polite passenger.

And I try to underpack, because I'm going to be bringing a lot of posters, bookmarks and advanced reader copies of books back with me, and I'll need the space in my suitcase.

I've watched colleagues have to leave books behind at the airport because they were over weight limits on their luggage. It's heart-wrenching.

message 8: by Lori (new)

Lori Richard has to travel a ton for work. Often overseas to what you'd think would be great places - China, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Greece, etc. But he hates it. He's too tired after working all day to really enjoy - he just wants a good meal and then relax in his hotel. If it's the first time he's been somewhere, if he can he likes to take at least one day for actually viewing the place he's in. As for US cities, he's been to so many he's bored by it. Except maybe NY, where we're from.

But here's what I know - he's gotten so spoiled by great hotels that the cos put him up with! 4 and 5 star, so if we ever travel as a family he expects that kind of stuff. SO not necessary for me. But most definitely a good hotel is crucial. Internet speed is essential. Slip on shoes, yes. Most airlines allow you to check-in from home within 24 hours, then you can breeze along to the gate.

He's so sick of it by. He just wants to be home.

message 9: by RandomAnthony (last edited Feb 06, 2009 04:40PM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I've traveled maybe half a dozen times a year for work over the past five years. About half the trips are within driving distance...those are a bit easier, I guess, because when I get bored with the meetings I just get the hell out of there.

The conventions are the fucking worst. I don't go if I'm not presenting. I'm not so much into the free swag anymore and every convention looks the same after a while. At least the Orlando one is a "fly out one day, fly back the next" deal. Last year I stayed four days, got very sick, and wanted to die.

message 10: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17360 comments Mod
I would LOVE to travel for work. Growing up my parents took my sister and me on many, many random adventures. Airplanes and airports are like my disneyland.

I agree with Jim - see it as an adventure! But really, RA, I don't know what advice I'd offer. Travel seems to be one of those love or leave it kind of issues.

message 11: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) I really get a lot of joy from traveling (why do I want to put 2 ls in that?). I like getting away from my office, eating in restaurants and using the corporate card, seeing the local sights wherever I go. I don't depend on getting wireless Internet anymore since I have a Sprint broadband card for my laptop (Internet anywhere!).

I always check a bag because I don't want to deal with finding room in the bins for a carry-on, and I don't want to deal with the 3 oz gels, liquids, creams in a quart-size ziptop bag.

People don't listen to anything. The continuous announcement at the screening says to hold onto your boarding pass. About every third person forgets and has to get their bag brought back so they can dig it out.

Old people really seem to have a hard time with the whole TSC screening thing. They just don't get why they have to take their shoes off.

I remember once at Phoenix (or was it Vegas?) before the shoe thing was mandatory. The guy told me he recommended I take them off. I said no, they'll be fine. Fine, he said. then go stand over there and we'll hand check you. Fuck you, you petty tyrant, I wanted to say but certainly didn't.

message 12: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments I just love being in airports. They either mean I am going somewhere or coming home. Both exciting to me

message 13: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17360 comments Mod
I always put two ells in travelling too, Larry! It is the British spelling! We were probably British in a past life...

message 14: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments do you spell it COLOUR also?

message 15: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) I most surely was a tailor, Sally. I bet we were good friends then -- when we were British.

I've been told I ride a horse as if I had been riding for a lifetime. I think there's something to that.

message 16: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments yeah and if you sometimes put milk in your tea for no reason that could mean something too

message 17: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Exactly!

message 18: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17360 comments Mod
Also: grey is gray and Marilyn was a blonde.

message 19: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments and you use jello moulds, say "spot on" when you mean correct, and use phrases like "well, isn't that a sticky wicket"

message 20: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17360 comments Mod
no, no. I'm not British. I just spell British! Get it straight!

*whacks Kevin with a dead trout*

message 21: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Ew! Mouldy jello!. I hadn't come to that realisation!

message 22: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments i refuse to spell things British. for now on i am only using Zimbabwe standard spelling rules.

message 23: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) I still like Lily Allen's speech patterns a whole bunch, though. I can't 'elp it, can I?

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments No, it's true, Larry. Those cute British accents are irrestistible.

message 25: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Yup.

message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Geez Larry, you'll probably put me on a Lily Allen marathon for another day like you did the last time you brought her up.

message 27: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) She's a damned temptress, I tell ya.

message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

:: ponders to succumb to the temptation or not ::
OK I give.

message 29: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Thanks for all the tips/ideas, people...I'm going to try to frame these trip positively...I think the general exhaustion of work combined with the trip have left me wanting to take it easy...but maybe I can do that on the road:)

message 30: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments one tip i guess i didn't see mentioned was bring at least one good book to read. i take two if i am just starting one of them in case it turns out to be not a good travel read (a travel read is one you can open and shut and start up easily). also my ipod is indispensable when traveling. i am due back in CHI again all of next week. i have only spent 3 nights in my own bed in the last 23. no place like home...

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments Speaking of travelling (I prefer two Ls as well, Sally), I just received a link to this complaint letter in regards to airplane food:

This is a letter recently received by the Virgin Atlantic customer complaints team and is currently being hailed on news blogs, such as this one on The Telegraph as possibly the funniest customer complaint letter ever.

We called the Virgin Atlantic press office and they confirmed they received the letter and that Richard Branson himself called the author to thank him for the feedback.

Dear Mr Branson

REF: Mumbai to Heathrow 7th December 2008

I love the Virgin brand, I really do which is why I continue to use it despite a series of unfortunate incidents over the last few years. This latest incident takes the biscuit.

Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at the hands of your corporation...


So, the first thought that crossed my mind after reading this was, Hey! What's HE complaining about?He actualy got served food! Not just a lousy bag of pretzels...

message 32: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I am SO drunk while traveling for work.

More tomorrow.

message 33: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Drunk. Got it.

message 34: by Lori (new)

Lori Jackie - I saw that letter a few weeks ago and died laughing! But REALLY, when we flew to O'Hare last November, not a short flight at all, we got nothing. NOTHInG! And O'Hare to Paris - one small meal, and a pathetic snack. This was United. Home was Lufthansa. Now they took care of us.

message 35: by Félix (last edited Feb 07, 2009 10:16PM) (new)

Félix (habitseven) Most of the airlines are selling food now. A pack of crackers for $3. Giant rip off.

On United now, you buy an "economy" ticket. When you check in, they start offering upgrades -- first class, another $200, economy plus (more legroom) for another $90. Then they pitch buying extra FF miles for your account for $50. I always decline all three. Then they charge $15 to check your bag.


message 36: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Larry's up late, man.

Ok, do they go seat to seat and give you the hard sell, or do they bundle the announcements into the safety instructions or whatever?

And ninety bucks for legroom?

I live near Milwaukee so Midwest Express (or what's left of ME) is our local airline. The local media are obsessed with the free cookies they give out on flights eventually becoming not free. The cookies are apparently a major ME symbol.

message 37: by Félix (last edited Feb 08, 2009 03:26AM) (new)

Félix (habitseven) Yeah well you're up really early!

The "bait & switch," as I call call it on the seats, happens when you check in on the self-service kiosks. They just keeping popping of these options on the screen and you have to keep saying no, thanks or put you card in to charge the upgrades.

Yup. $90 just to get a couple more inches of knee room. It sucks. And I think the way they got that room was to squeeze the cheap seats in a little.

Yeah ME is a real hold out on that stuff. I had a trip to DC on them last Thanksgiving. Those cookies were pretty good -- and when they bake them is sends the smell all through the plane.

I'll be on United to Denver tomorrow. It's only a little over an hour flight from here, so I can put up with it. I come back Thursday morning, then get another flight out Thursday night to El Paso, coming back late Friday night.

message 38: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments And you're up early, too!:)

Have a good trip, sir. I'm hoping to hustle home this afternoon to catch my son's piano recital....

message 39: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments i recently flew from Detroit to Frankfort and then Frankfort to Chennai with Lufthansa. i thought they fed us a lot and while the food was nothing to blog about it was acceptable. we got 2 meals and a snack on each leg of the flight along with cold drinks and tea at different times. not bad. as with the letter to Virgin i was not always sure what i was eating but it was okay. air france hooks you up when you fly with them too.

as for legroom, economy plus one united gives you like 4" of extra legroom and on a 12 hour flight it is totally worth the upgrade cost.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments Whenever I travel with Chris (who has very long legs) we ask for emergency exit row seating for the extra leg room. It's FREE, you just need to be able-bodied and not be accompanied by minors.

message 41: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) On United they charge extra for exit row.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments What? They didn't USE to. That sucks! Thanks for the warning, Larry.

message 43: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Next thing you know they'll put a credit card swipe on the lav door.

My last trip out west, I was seated next to a man who clearly needed 2 seats. I hate to be rude, and would never make a scene with that person -- but when you're stuck with only half a seat for over 2 hours it gets to be a bit much. Fortunately there was an aisle seat open up a couple of rows that I could move into.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I'm sure the airlines are tempted to charge passengers by weight, but it would be a public relations disaster.

message 45: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Maybe they should one of those things at the gate like they use for carry-ons. "If you can't fit into this, then you need to buy an extra ticket."

Yeah, it's a sensitive issue. No doubt about that.

message 46: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments i always try to get an exit aisle seat first, a first row bulkhead seat second and an aisle seat as a last resort. the last leg from Frankfort to Detroit i was in the middle seat of the middle section. worst possible

as for exit row seats: i have NO problem swinging the door open in the case of an emergency. my big beef is people who blatantly abuse the carry-on rules and bring several huge items on board and take up all the overhead bin space

message 47: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) On my last Midwest flight, as I was boarding and standing in the front waiting for everyone to move down the aisle, the attendant was making an announcement about how "you should put at least one of your items under the seat in front of you because the overhead space is limited."

After he said that on the PA, he turned to me and said, "They don't listen. Nobody listens."

I had to agree.

message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

I try to get the most uncomfortable, unsafe, pedestrian-heavy seat possible on a flight with lots of layovers. Cheap! And you should see the places I stay!

message 49: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I just read something about a passenger in Australia getting charged for two seats...here we go...


I hate people who try to jam too much stuff as carryons to avoid checking bags....

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments Randomanthony wrote: "I just read something about a passenger in Australia getting charged for two seats...here we go...


I hate people who try to ja..."

And then, after assuring her over and over that she didn't need to book two seats, only to make her do just that, the seats they gave her were nowhere near each other. Infuriating!

Yeah, I hate the folks who insist on bringing all their luggage on board. Which, sadly, includes my husband, but at least he just brings one largish bag. As I check MY luggage, it doesn't save us any time, but he is paranoid about the airlines losing his luggage.

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