A travel pro’s travel routine

Since the recent movie “Up in the Air” has been in theaters, I have been asked several times how I got to look so much like George Clooney. Okay, that may not be the case, but I do spend a considerable amount of time at 30,000 feet and many of my friends, customers and associates have inquired about my travel routine after watching Mr. Clooney breeze in and out of airports on the big screen.

Since I have a good enough memory to know that I am forgetful, I do the same thing every time, mostly in an effort to save myself from myself. Every good road warrior has their idea of the best way to do things, and here is my rundown of the “best” way to travel for business. (P.S. There is a prize at the end if you keep reading!)

• I always leave home two hours prior to flight time. Admittedly I have received so many speeding tickets on Pena Boulevard that it may at any moment be renamed Polk Boulevard. If you live in my neighborhood down South, I recommend you leave home 2 1/2 hours prior to flight time.

• If I am checking luggage and traveling domestic I always check the luggage curb side first and then park the car. On the flip side, when I am headed home I will check luggage and then return the rental car if possible.

• I always try to park in the West side of the terminal on level one, that way if I do not do what follows I only have one section of the garage to search. I always write the row I am parked in and the number of the terminal door I enter in on the parking ticket stub. I know from first-hand experience that if I do not do these things I will have a long car search when I arrive back home.

• I do not like carrying my wallet in my pocket, so I remove my driver’s license and credit card from my wallet and put my wallet back in the same place in my briefcase. I also always place my car keys and parking stub in the same place in my briefcase, with my laptop and blackberry. All I have to keep in my pocket is my identification, credit card, and some cash.

• I am not a great packer and almost always bring more clothes than I need. My business partner, Andrea, on the other hand, can travel for three weeks using only one carry on bag. I am convinced it is some sort of magic act. I have learned that if I do not want my cramped suitcase to wrinkle my clothes, I should pack them in a plastic laundry bag. I promise your clothes will not wrinkle if they are in a plastic bag, no matter how you have to fold them to get them into your luggage.

• I like the window seat on the plane. If I am traveling alone, I hardly ever talk with the person in the next seat. If they strike up a conversation I keep my answers polite, short and sweet and begin working, especially on the departure flight. And I always have a briefcase full of things for me to do or read. Most times on the flight home I watch a movie that I bring with me. I very, very seldom watch the movie the airline is showing, unless it features my twin, George.

• I hate the fact that golf clubs are always the last piece of luggage delivered at baggage claim. If anyone has found a way to reverse this, please let me know.

• I am really not that picky about hotel rooms. I will like most any hotel room that is clean, quiet, dark and has a good shower. However, air conditioners/heaters that make a loud racket when they kick on can be a real problem. I have learned that if you turn the fan to “On” instead of “Auto” sleeping is much easier because the fan is always on and does not turn on and off all night. You do have to make sure you set the temperature correctly if you are going to leave the fan on because you could either bake or freeze if set incorrectly. Baking or freezing is not good for sleeping.

That is about it for my travel routine. My guess is that Denver is home to hundreds of road warriors that have this down to a science and will make my routine look like kindergarten. Please let us hear your Travel Routine by April 12. The most clever, most unusual, or most “something” will win a FREE coach class ticket good for travel in the 48 states. Yes, I get to pick the winner, but I will enlist Mr. Clooney and my business partner for help. I will announce the winner, and some of the best responses, in our May article.

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