Stardate 1.0: Travel Lessons for the Sales Road Warrior

Are you a sales road warrior?

Every week I’m asked about travel tips, recommended hotels, airlines, and locations.

And so, rather than keep my conversations private this year, I’ve decided to write short blog posts designed to help road warriors like myself maximize their time on the road.

Please join the conversation, ask questions and contribute your own tips! My aim is for this series to share helpful ideas. Let’s get started!

Flight stress. Flying can be stressful and there 3 ways that I have found to reduce stress dramatically.

  1. Never book a flight which is the last flight to your destination. Always have a backup flight in mind should the weather delay you or the flight have mechanical issues. Stress increases when you don’t have options and if you are on the last flight before an important sales meeting, a cruise, or your wedding…well you can count on your blood pressure rising.  When delays look inevitable I quickly review my options online and screen capture the flights I want as backups. This way, when I’m speaking to the agent I can ask for my preference, rather than just taking what is given to me.
  2.  Never book a flight without a seat selection. Pay the few dollars extra ALWAYS. Without a seat, you are more likely to get bumped.
  3. Always book through a travel agent or the airline or the airline directly. A third party like Expedia gives you NO POWER when things go wrong. You are at the bottom of the list for seats, rebooking, and attention. If you do use a travel agent, make sure they have an after-hours helpline. Many airlines can’t alter tickets that were booked through an agency and so you want to have access to an agent 24 hours a day just in case something goes wrong.

Reducing stress while flying requires you to plan in advance for something going wrong.

Have your options ready, know what flights are available, investigate the hotels close by should you need to stay overnight.

It takes five minutes to plan for a contingency but it’s well worth it when the going does get tough…as they sometimes do!

One response to “Stardate 1.0: Travel Lessons for the Sales Road Warrior

  1. Great tips. I’d add a couple:

    Despite all your planning, things will frequently go wrong, so:

    1. Always, always, always, be friendly and polite to the agents at the airport. Politeness and a smile get far better action than anger. After all, the problem isn’t because of them.
    2. Pay to be a member of a few clubs. Even when things are going well, being able to go to the relative calm of a club, getting out of the gate areas is a huge stress reliever. Better, if the airport has a gym, get a quick workout.
    3. Always carry on. If you have to make mid-trip changes, it’s virtually impossible if you have checked baggage.
    4. Make sure you are TSA Pre, Global Entry, CLEAR. It saves hours of time and hassle. In many countries there is some reciprocation so you can use their fast lanes, as well.
    5. Keep the premier customer service numbers on your phone. If there is a problem, it’s faster, easier to call those support lines, than stand in line at the airport waiting for customer service.
    6. Leverage twitter, but positively. The airlines watch twitter closely, I’ve had agents reach out to me very quickly.

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