Something unusual happened to me last week. What happened? Travel. In-person meetings. A quick stroll down Olvera Street. Digging out my COVID-19 vaccination record. I flew to LA on a one-day trip. I wanted to catch up with a couple of customers. Since travel in real life (IRL, as the cool kids say) is still a novelty for me (and maybe for you as well), I thought I would share some travel tips.
Set Two Alarms
My first travel tip is this. If you are starting your trip early in the morning, set two alarms. Set the times about five minutes apart. I got up before 5:00 AM for my trip. I was so worried about sleeping through my alarm that I woke up at 3:00 AM and could not go back to sleep.
Allow Extra Time, Even When Cutting the Line
CLEAR and TSA-Pre let you flex like some big shot when they walk you to the front of the security line. I first joined CLEAR ten years ago. I only know this because CLEAR sent me a note telling me I would need some extra time to re-qualify at the airport. The eye and fingerprint scans were not a problem. But they then asked me about my address from when I lived in Boston, and how old my youngest son was. Please do not ask me to do math problems in my head before coffee.
Here is another travel tip. Figure that you will not know what to do at the security checkpoint.
- Laptops in the bag or in their own container?
- Shoes off or on?
- Belt on or off?
And remember to tuck your glasses and phone under something heavy, so they don’t get swept out of the bin by the scanner and stuck on the belt there forever.
As you exit security, consider this travel tip. You can locate the nearest Starbucks by finding the 42 people standing in a line, checking their phones.
If you are flying early out of San Jose Airport, you will hear boarding announcements for flights going to Hawaii. Resist the temptation to show up at the gate pretending to be the person they are paging to board the plane.
Mask? Or no mask? You get to choose. I wore my mask most of the time I was waiting to board my flight. I also wore it on the plane until I knew the plane was circulating air.
My next travel tip is this. If you are headed to downtown LA (DTLA to insiders), plan to fly into BUR. Officially, Hollywood Burbank Airport. Formerly known as Bob Hope Airport. You may be interested to learn that Hollywood Burbank Airport is not in Hollywood. (At least it is in Burbank.) The naming is an LA thing, like calling a baseball team the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as if they played anywhere near the Los Angeles city limits. BUR is closer to downtown than LAX. Then again, everything in LA is “freeway close.”
And do not ask me why, but I get a kick out of stepping off the plane from the rear door. Front or rear, you walk down one of those portable loading ramps. I always want to stop and wave as I pretend the press is there to cover my arrival. (No tripping on the stairs!)
Confirm People are in the Office
Here is my COVID-related travel tip. These days, “working” does not always mean “in the office.” And it is easy for someone to accept your meeting invitation without noticing that the meeting is in person vs. over video. So, do as I say and not as I (did not) do. Confirm your appointment, yes. Even more important, confirm that the day of the appointment is one where staff (including your customer) actually go into the office. Otherwise, you may go to someone’s office and then meet with them—on the phone to their home office.
Remember Why You Went
Her is my last travel tip. Remember why you went there. We have figured out this meeting-over-video thing. However, as someone told me at a recent conference, we want to meet in person because, “we really like each other!” Enjoy the opportunity to sit across the table, share some stories, and catch up on what is new. It will make all the travel hardships worth the effort.