As I had lunch with my daughter a couple of days ago and she excitedly described various trips she has coming up, and as I get ready for my own travel this week, I thought about the subtle and not so subtle travel adjustments I have made 18 months into my health recovery.
Think long and hard before you say yes to a trip
2.99 million Delta lifetime miles. 1200 lifetime Marriott lifetime nights. 7 years in row Southwest Companion Pass (100 Credits a year) and many expired miles and hotel credits on other travel companies are proof I said yes to many trips I should not have. Don’t even try to guilt me about my carbon footprint. Now I am much more careful before I say yes. Speaking engagements, must attend industry events, key dates on consulting projects are the only ones that make the cut.
Avoid multi-city weeks
4 cities in a day. Round the world in a week. Yes, done both a few times. Multi-city weeks are often unavoidable – April and May have a couple planned. You are really pushing the travel Gods to make so many moving parts go right in a tight interval. Besides, it often involves a lovely redeye flight:)
Avoid planes without wi-fi
Southwest used to be my preferred domestic airline. Their slow wi-fi rollout has taxed my loyalty. In the end their aisle seat (I mostly qualify for A seating), on-time performance and frequent non-stops still wins them the business, but my writing has increasingly become Web dependent for research and validation, so that dead time is annoying.
Avoid rental cars
People bitch about airport security as in TSA. Over the last decade, more frustrating is that airport security considerations have pushed car lots to remote spots. That additional shuttle time and hassle makes me much more loath to rent cars. Another subtle point – my doctor told me to be cautious about too much Bluetooth headset usage during my recovery. Rental cars without phone calls are even more dead time than planes without wi-fi. Wired headphones, you say? I lose them with alarming frequency. I may have to go back to a BlueAnt portable speakerphone. Or maybe not after you read the next point
Watch the expanding travel bag
So, I now pack some compression stockings and medications for each trip, but more vexing is the sprawl of travel electronics. Laptop (soon to be an UltraBook) and Android phone continue to deprive my iPad and Kindle of their frequent flyer miles. It’s not just the devices, its also the charging gear and accessories like MiFi and USB storage and speakerphone that makes travel planning more complex.
I saw a segment on how Mitt Romney is much more relaxed on the campaign trail since his wife Ann accompanies him. I have enjoyed Margaret joining me on several trips (advantage Southwest with their free companion perk). In reverse, I have loved the additional time i have had with my beagle, Peanuts with my reduced travel. Indeed, he has led me to open up my second office – on the deck under the oak tree. I wrote much of my new book in that space with Peanuts nearby chasing squirrels and birds.
This may be the year I break the Delta 3 million miler club. Like Clooney towards the end of Up in the Air, I am not sure I am proud of the accomplishment.