Our CEO, Randy White, travels extensively for our projects. He's agreed to share a few of his travel tips with you our readers.
I'm no germophobe, but I still take a few precautions to avoid getting ill while traveling and can say as a result, I can't remember ever getting sick from my travels. Have you ever first gone into your hotel room and noticed how the Kleenex in the holder is creatively arranged? Have you ever thought about who did that? It's the cleaning staff, and possibly right after they finished cleaning the bathroom and I'm sure they didn't wash their hands before doing it. I throw those top Kleenex away and wash my hands.
Having the right pillow is important to getting a good night's sleep when you're on the road. I can pretty well guarantee you the ones in hotel rooms won't be a perfect match to yours at home. I travel with my own pillow.
Never check luggage unless absolutely necessary. With a carry-on you get in and out of the airport faster. And no matter where you end up landing (the travel gods don't always cooperate), you will have your luggage with you. I can travel for four days in the winter and five in the summer with just a carry-on and a clean change of clothes for everyday except for my jeans. Oh, and that includes my pillow (a feather pillow that scrunches down).
I rent cars from the same rental company and pick the same model cars all the time (National and an Altima or Maxima). That way I always know where all the controls are and how the car handles. Also, I prefer cars as I believe luggage and computer cases are safer locked in a trunk than sitting in the back of a SUV.
Okay you may now think I'm a germophobe, but have you ever thought about all the people that handled the pens the restaurants or hotels give you to sign receipts. I carry and always only use my own pen.
Get PreCheck and ideally Clear. It really makes a difference in getting through security faster and with less hassle. I always wash my hands as soon as possible after getting thru security when I have used the trays you put your belongings in to be x-rayed that 1,000s of people touched.
My computer case sits fully packed with every electric charger, cable, dongle and plug adapter I will ever need anywhere in the world, reading glasses, extra pens, passport, extra cash, etc. everything except my computer and any files or reading matters for that trip. That way I never need worry about forgetting anything.
The travel gods don't always cooperate. When they don't, there's real advantages to having elite status with airline and hotel memberships. Not only will you get the best possible treatment with problems or otherwise, but there are also perks. So, if you travel a lot, stick to one airline, one hotel chain and one car rental company to gain status. I'm diamond with Delta and Hilton and Executive status with National Car.
And speaking of Hilton, I can now choose my room and check-in the day before my arrival either on their website or on their app. So, I go first go to Google maps to check where any major highways and the airport and its runways are in relation to the hotel, and then pick a room on the opposite side from any busy highways and the airport runways. If near an airport, I don't pick the top floor as you hear more airplane noise if the flight paths are near or over the hotel. If not near an airport, I pick the top floor to avoid noise from some room above. I always pick rooms away from the elevator and soda and ice machines and as close to the end of the hall as possible to avoid the noise from late night, loud partiers returning to their rooms.
A cool thing about using the Hilton app is it can also become your digital key to the room. With it, if you picked your room and checked-in in advance, you don't even have to go to the front reception desk when you arrive. You can go straight to your room. This is also good for the environment as it cuts down on the plastic room card keys and the manufacture of the RFID chips that go into them.
Unless you live in some city with a major airport like Atlanta, you'll mostly end up taking a lot of flights with connections (two or more flights to get there). I very carefully pick the airports my flights hub through. Avoid Chicago at all cost. There are flight delays in the winter with snow. There are flight delays with rain. There are flight delays in Spring and Summer due to thunderstorms. The only time I use a Chicago airport is when I'm flying direct to Chicago and then I fly to Midway airport, not O'Hare , unless heading to the Western suburbs.
Airport hub choices depend on the season. Better to avoid airports in the north where there can be frequent snow, although I will say with Delta, I've never had a snow delay issue at their major hubs at Detroit or Minneapolis.
Tight connection times at hubs can be a problem, especially if your first flight has a delay. I'd rather have a longer layover to be safe. On international flights where you have to hub to connect with the international flight, I never allow less than a two-hour connection time and will go as long as four hours. With most international flights, if you miss your connection, you probably won't be leaving until at least the next day.
When you travel a lot, you learn that the travel gods don't always cooperate. There can be equipment problems with planes delaying or canceling the flight. Weather can be a culprit. I've flown enough to have experienced a lot of problems (I won't go into some of them as I don't want to scare you from flying. I worry when I land and get in a car. That's when things get dangerous). With flying, you need to manage your expectations so you don't get stressed out when things don't go as planned. My attitude about flying is, “I never expect to get there. Most times I do, and they exceed my expectations.”
Okay, possibly still thinking I'm germophobic? I don't go to the extreme some travelers do of carrying sanitation wipes for airplane trays and arm rests, remotes in hotel rooms, etc. Maybe I'm lucky as I ate dirt as a kid so developed a strong immunity system. If you have children, let them go outside, get dirty and even eat dirt. They'll thank you for it later in life.