Today is my first trip to DFW in 2016. Since the announcement in 2014 that my company would be relocating all of the headquarters locations to Plano, TX, I’ve logged thousands of air miles between LAX and DFW. These miles are on top of the annual business trips to JFK, CVG and Washington, D.C. to speak at or attend conferences. I think I’ve got my routine down and can get the most sleep before heading to the airport at 5:00am.
1 Pack only what you’ll need
2 You’ll need workout clothes
3 Plan your airplane outfit
4 Drink plenty of water
First of all, when I pack my clothes for a trip, I consider exactly what’s on my itinerary. For the most part, when I’m on a business trip to TX, every minute is scheduled. I don’t need to pack a cute outfit just in case I have an opportunity to check out a wine bar or lounge. Knowing my trip will consists of meetings and networking in offices or hotel ballrooms, I can focus my packing on that specific wardrobe. Also, I have a travel toiletries bag and make-up case with all my necessities that I keep stocked at all times. Because of this, I don’t forget my toothbrush, favorite moisturizer, or perfume when I travel. When I get home and unpack, I restock the toiletries bag so it is ready to go for my next trip. (Sometimes it takes several days for me to unpack but I get to it eventually.) In addition, I always pack workout clothes and stay at a hotel property that has a 24 hour on-site fitness center. The best cure for jet lag and most effective sleeping aid is rule #1 in the movie, “Zombieland. That is cardio. And while I’m packing, I lay out my airplane travel clothes for the next morning. It may seem a bit juvenile to lay out an outfit the night before but I promise you, it saves me five to ten minutes in the morning. Those five to ten minutes are relished under the covers instead of wasted staring bleery-eyed into my closet, trying to figure out what to wear.
And when it comes to what to wear, I have a fairly standard uniform for flying if I am going straight from airport to business meeting. Black slacks with stretch in the fabric, which translates to no wrinkles and more comfort sitting on the plane. On top, pullover knit tops are a necessity. Nicely pressed blouses never survive the crush of the airplane seatbelt. For a bit of professional polish, I wear a dress blazer and carry a coat that is appropriate for the weather in my destination. During warmer months, I will just bring my cashmere pashmina on the plane, as it functions as a blankie or a scarf. Airplane temperatures fluctuate between sweltering and frozen so I always need an extra layer to stay warm. For the ladies, if you wear shoes with a free standing heel, know that they will set off the metal detector. The heel has a small metal post inside, who knew? That was a fun fact I learned in 2015. For my footwear, I wear wedges or boots with low heels so I don’t need to remove them, even in the TSA pre-check line. Oh, and it goes without saying, if you travel often, apply to be PSA pre-check certified. Because of this, I’m able to get through security in 10 minutes instead of 20 – 45. Those extra minutes allow time to stop off for flight provisions.
Which leads me to the next tip, stay hydrated. Bring water and a snack for your time on the plane. Delays happen and if you’re trapped in your seat with no water or food, that can really kill your mood. Also, cabin pressure changes may cause headaches and dehydration will only exacerbate that. People sitting around you may be grouchy assholes when they travel but you don’t have to be. Of course, low blood sugar can really destroy a person’s day. If my blood sugar is low, I can’t follow the most important tip for business travel, smile.
You have no choice but to travel for work, make the most of it. Being in a new city sets you up for new adventures. Smile, live Aloha, and don’t f*ck up anyone else’s day just because you’re in a foul mood. Also, if you’re flying on an airplane, you are blessed and privileged compared to so many people on this planet. And consider what a miracle of science and technology it is to board an airplane in one city and step off of the plane across the country. Be happy and understand that you’re lucky to be gainfully employed and your company trusts you enough to pay you to travel.
Also, be sure to never forget to be nice to flight attendants. They are highly trained professionals, charged with your safety during flights. Follow the rules, smile, and use your manners with both flight attendants and passengers alike. So often I see people boarding flights looking like they’re sucking on a lemon, rolling their eyes, and impatiently clicking their tongue as if they are the only ones who need to get to DFW or JFK.
It is pretty simple: Plan what you will you pack. Be comfortable and stay satiated on the plane. Cardio helps you sleep. Stay hydrated. Smile. Oh, and pack your own entertainment. It might be a tablet with your favorite magazine or book downloaded. Or perhaps you’re like me and enjoy listening to your friends chatting it up on podcasts. If you’re able to sleep on a plane, grab a neck pillow, ear plugs and a sleeping mask. Do you, Travel Boo. Business travel is a privilege, not a burden. At least, that’s what I say when my alarm goes off at 4:00am before I head to LAX for a work trip.