Managing the Insanity of Travel


Isn’t travel great? I just came back from the UK and everything on the trip went according to plan but nevertheless I was subjected to the following:

  • Enter all passport information from home only to be told that it was not available at check-in desks - grrrr!
  • take my shoes off at security even though they contain absolutely no metal
  • Remove my belt even though it’s obvious that it’s again, non-metallic
  • Be asked why I have 5 separate chargers (phone, laptop, camera, MP3, and GPS) — think about saying something about @#$%F&^% manufacturers who cannot choose one DC voltage for all equipment. Keep mouth shut, smile.
  • Have the inspector fully open my fountain pen and gets ink all over his hands - he asks “what is this black stuff in this pen”? Duh its, like, an old school pen. “Cool” says he.
  • The pilot decided to fly the plane in second gear, so it takes 1-1/4 hours longer. He saves a few bucks but cost the 300 people on board an hour out of their lives

Nonetheless I enjoy travel as a consultant (though I must admit that more recent travel is just painful with airline, airport, and security concerns). When our children (three) were younger we looked for opportunities to take them along. I was fortunate enough to have a job that occasionally allowed me time in far off places and ‘temporarily relocated’ our family there for weeks or months.

There was a point in our children’s lives (ages 13 - 15) that caused me to rethink the travel thing. It seemed that they were growing up and I was missing it. I eventually gave up a job that required heavy duty travel and found work that allowed me to be at home more often.

My rules for travel are as follows:

  1. Family vacations are sacred - no exceptions, and no work done,
  2. Important school (or kid & spousal events), birthdays and anniversaries were home times,
  3. All travel was arranged to depart after dinner on Sunday and return before Saturday morning. (this was often brutal - but worth it),
  4. Call home every day and talk to everyone as long as required,
  5. Be reachable at any time you are away (international mobile phones are easy to obtain now),
  6. Communicate early and often with family when travel plans change,
  7. Use an internationally knowledgeable travel agency with 24 hours coverage who can also communicate with your family in the event of an emergency.

With this set of rules I’ve just managed to keep some semblance of normality in my consulting and family life. While these rules are not cast in stone they may form the basis for your own travel management.

The above article was prompted by a Q&A I participated in online. I was honored to receive a  Best Answer . Read the discussion over at LinkedIn.

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