Road Warrior Stuff
For everyone who has ever had an evaluation - just remember, it could have been worse. These are actual quotes taken from Federal Government employee performance evaluations. Just be glad that your annual evaluation never included terms like these!
PART 1 - Do's & Don't of Business Travel
Do say "Please" and "Thank You", like your Momma always told you. It opens a lot more doors than you might think.
Don't ever touch the contents of the "honor bar", including that $7.00 bar of candy, unless you've just returned from being shipwrecked for 5 years.
Do scrutinize your hotel bill at checkout for any extraneous charges the front desk may have placed there.
Don't run through the airport, ala the OJ commercials. You don't want to appear to be a 'last minute kind of unorganized jerk', do you?
Don't use your speakerphone or wireless headset in a public place like the airport. Why? You talk louder than you think you do and no one really cares about your business or personal life - or lack thereof.
Do ask for copies of the Hotel's General Manager and Front Desk Supervisor's business cards when checking in for the first time. You may need them someday.
Don't throw a fit at the airport when your flight is delayed or cancelled. There's a good chance that 100 - 120 other folks share the same fate as you. Plus, everybody who hears you chastise the gate agent thinks that you've lost your mind and are all primed to call security.
Do remember that even though you may have a fancy title with a salary and ego to match, away from your office you're just like everybody else. No one's special, not even you.
Don't sit next to a family with a crying baby on your flight. You'll thank me later.
Don't order a "Chicago-style" hot dog or pizza if you're not in Chicago. Same for 'Philly-style' cheesesteaks in LA and 'Vegas-style' entertainment in Boise.
Don't pack unnecessary items that all hotels routinely provide, namely hair dryers, soap, shampoo, etc. In many instances, their versions are better than what you own.
Don't whip out your laptop and do work on the airplane. Give it a rest. If you're that busy, you need a new line of work.
PART 2 - Tips for Travel Arrangements
Use an airline's or hotel's own web site for booking reservations. Frequently, the discounts are deeper, they have a 'best price' guarantee and they'll reward your loyalty with additional travel points.
If you frequently use one car rental company, get to know the desk staff and their manager. As a recognized regular customer, they'll frequently "comp" your reserved sub-compact to a full-sized or luxury-class car. Nice!
There's no need for using a Travel Agent to book your reservations unless you have no idea what a computer is or have no access to the Internet. They are helpful, however, in helping you select a vacation destination if you have no idea where you want to go.
Check with a resort property prior to checking in, for a list of their "nickel & dime" fees. This is so there's no surprises at the front desk when you've got luggage and family in tow. These can include fees for Valet parking, Local phone charges, Internet fees, Daily resort equipment fees and other items you'll be hit with whether you use them or not. There's nothing like a "free" trip when using your hotel loyalty points that still costs almost as much in daily fees.
PART 3 - Bits of Advice from A Road Warrior
Frequently check out user-to-user travel blogs, where you'll learn about "secret" promotions intended for road warriors and have access to unbiased ratings guaranteed to make your hotel stay choice more accommodating.
Stay loyal to one hotel chain (and their many properties) or car rental company.
Be extremely flexible when you travel - get to the airport with more than enough time to check baggage or breeze through security. Make sure you know the airport well enough to allow extra time for the shuttle bus or tram to take you from security to your terminal or gate.
Plan ahead for your journey, starting at the airport:
- Don't carry any metal in your pockets
- No carry on liquids or gels
- Wear a pair of shoes that are easily slipped on and off
If you're staying at a hotel for an extended period of time, purchase a portable DVD player and rent movies from a local video store for entertainment. It's a less expensive option than selecting movies via the hotel's system and the choices are significantly better.
Always ask the locals where they eat or shop. Only eat at "chain" restaurants when you've exhausted the list of locally recommended places.
If possible, arrive a day early or stay a day later to explore the city or area you're visiting. You're bound to find out something interesting to do from the local paper. By exploring the area on your own, you'll get an idea if you want to return with your significant other.
Sign up for every frequent flyer and hotel loyalty program you can think of, because you never know where you'll end up someday. Plus, you'll receive E-mails for discounted fares or free stays that you'd never receive any other way.
Make copies of both sides of your credit cards, along with your driver's license and place in a safe spot at home, just in case they're misplaced or stolen while you're on the road.
Never pay for extra liability or indemnification on your rental car. Frequently, your credit card will cover you. Check with them, along with your auto and homeowner's insurance policies for adequate coverage.
Never touch the hotel phone to make a long distance call unless your cell phone is dead and you misplaced the charger. The extra fees charged for this "revenue center" are outrageous and usury.
Just because you're not at home, don't do stupid things on the road:
- Don't do your nails while on the hotel room's new chaise lounge. You might spill the nail polish on the seat or the carpeting
- Don't break the desk chair or any other pieces of furniture
- Don't try to steal the television set just because, in your twisted mind, you've already 'paid for it'
- Don't put bubble bath in the jacuzzi
- Don't burn bacon or fry smelly fish in your efficiency hotel room
Why? Because I'll be in your room a few hours after you check out; experiencing your inconsiderateness gets my blood pressure up.
Don't think of the front desk staff as your personal indentured servants or willing participants in your dating pool. They're only there to help you and think of this solitary confinement as a job.
Call home at least once per night when you're away and on the road. Bedtime (theirs, not yours) is always the best time.
If you've got some kiddies at home, always - and I mean always - bring her, him or them something from your trip every time you go away. They'll remember the gesture long after you're gone. The thoughtful gift can be as simple as a pack of sugarless gum to a T-shirt for each one of them to something local that's indicative of where you traveled.
Remember - those with the most frequent flyer & hotel loyalty points wins.
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