1. Go ahead and pay to join something like AA's Admirals Club.
With it you'll get assistance with reservations, seat selection, and boarding pass issuance; a quiet place to wait and work; complimentary snacks and beverages; private bar at most locations, and showers at some. At around $450/yr. for one person, it could be well worth it.
2. Use airport Conference Rooms and Executive Centers.
Saves everything from nerves to time to money. No membership required. Eliminates need for overnight stay, hotel or car rentals.
There are 22 available at O'Hare, for instance.
Executive Centers come equipped with everything you need to conduct business. Call 1-800-237-7971, option 3.
3. Keep all your luggage on wheels, use one carry-on, invest in good luggage.
According to the US Transportation Dept., about 1 in 200 bags are lost, misdirected, or stolen, which is about one person per flight. 87% of this happens at the curbside check-in station.
Advantages: don't have to tip porter; don't have to arrive as early; if you miss your connection, you can easily re-book yourself; you can easily volunteer to be bumped on a full flight; no wait once you land.
4. Take a book with you.
Better than TV in most hotel rooms, good for waits, also good to hide behind if you get next to someone in the plane who annoys you. Leave it behind for another traveler or tear off chapters as you go along and lighten you load. If you can find one that will make you laugh, all the better. Best stress reliever there is.
5. The travel wardrobe.
Coordinate to one color, like black. Many women, myself included, swear by Tencel®. Indestructible, always looks nice. Choose the right print blouses and it won't show stains. Gentlemen, consider microfiber fabrics. Choose something with inner pockets (that zip!) for important papers and cash.
6. Don't appear wealthy.
Especially important in third world countries. Wear a cheap-looking watch and jewelry and leave the diamonds at home. Makes you less of a target for pick pocketers and luggage theft. If you must take a camera, guard the lens; popular with pick pockets as well.
Remove luggage tags from other trips. Thieves consider it a tip-off that you're the cherished "rich frequent traveler".
Hide cash on different parts of your body. If traveling internationally, get new bills, as some countries won't take "dirty" money. In Africa, for instance, take new $100 bills. The exchange rate on anything lower is not good. Check with someone else who's been where you're going. i.e., in Russia, they aren't supposed to take US dollars, but they sure do.
8. If you get a rental car, write down all the information about it.
Just in case you forget what you're driving.
9. Stay alert.
Take a water bottle with you for dehydration and drink two glasses of water before you board. While on the plane, splash water on your face; when you get to the hotel, take a warm bath. Relieves stress and sore muscles. Plus dry membranes are more vulnerable to infection.
Try the Argonne Anti-Jet-Lag Diet.
10. Take measures to avoid developing deep vein thrombosis.
Drink lots of water, avoid beverages that dehydrate, avoid salty foods, wear support socks, get up and move around whenever you can, exercise your feet and legs 4-5 mins. every hour.
11. Check out some of the travel products at sites such as Magellan.com, i.e., "No Jet-Lag" tablets, head rests, foot cushions, travel wear, support hose, and things you didn't know you needed.
Susan Dunn, M.A., Clinical Psychology, The EQ Coach. Executive and individual coaching, EQ-culture programs for organizations, Internet courses and ebooks around emotional intelligence for your personal and professional success. Coach Certification Program -- fast, affordable, no-residency, training coaches worldwide. Visit her site at http://www.susandunn.cc, and mailto:email@example.com for FREE ezine, "EQ in the Workplace." Please put "EQ" for subject line. Increase your EQ and everyone benefits.© 2006 Susan Dunn, M.A.
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