You Know You Travel A Lot When...

Two years and seven months after becoming a software consultant I know a little more about business travel.

Some of my earlier international trips. You can tell because the dates are backwards (May 2012 and Sept/Oct 2011). 

Ten ways you know you travel a lot:

  1. You can guess airline carrier by connecting flights (or lack thereof). "Was that direct flight to the Bay Area on Southwest?"  "Oh so Phoenix was your hub, was it perhaps US Airways (now American Airlines)?" "Amsterdam? KLM!"
  2. You know which airport seats to sit at by looking for the power cord rather than just power outlets.
  3. You recognize airport personnel, or worse they recognize you (I've only experienced this once but the joke for serious travelers is when your local airport starts holding your mail).
  4. You have extra third-party phone chargers, headphones, and electrical adapters. The different brands remind you of where you got them.
  5. You have more gloves, cuff links, and other accessories than you really need.
  6. You have more 3oz (100ml) versions of toothpaste and other toiletries than the normal-sized versions.
  7. You've tried travel toiletry packs and re-usable containers but found they weren't worse the hassle (or maybe you did--I still have my first "men's travel" kit bag but the last "Free 3oz Bag!" died in two trips).
  8. You've lost or left behind at least a favorite jacket. :-(
  9. Airline tickets have little sentimental value
  10. And travel receipts are only good until reimbursed or otherwise claimed (but still hang around a lot longer)

After reading Great by Choice (great book, btw), I made my own travel SMaC (specific, methodoligical, and consistent) list. SMaC's are simple recipes that help guide good habits and avert the worse through simple lists that turn into habits.

Nivlong's Travel SMaC

This grew out of practice and I don't always follow this. But when I do these things, travel seems smoother.

  • Me:
    • Wallet and phone go in left pocket (mostly because I'm left handed)
    • Especially when traveling long distance wear comfortable clothing (jogging pants or sweats)
    • Arrive 2 hours prior to flights (still working on hitting this consistently, but my local airport's rarely that busy)
    • Avoid caffeine on late flights (especially as a West Coast "resource" with half of my clients on the other coast and some in Europe)
  • Pack:
    • Spare batteries
    • Enough pants, a shirt per day, and an extra set of undergarments and socks 
    • Clothes rolled up on the right and shoes on the left with socks inside
  • To Bring:
    • Something to read
    • Backup materials and code to the network
    • One-quart bag goes in the side pouch with the luggage
  • Shopping:
    • Leave toiletry items in their bags when at home and keep any "meds" (prescription, suppliements, and/or vitamins) in one spot (you might be more organized but I find leaving things mostly together makes the next trip easy to pack for)
    • Keep shopping simple: use the same brands, avoid gadgets, and remember replaceable items are replaceable
    • Invest in a little in quality luggage and a sturdy backpack (I never noticed luggage get worn and torn until I actually traveled enough to see wear and tear)
  • Don't buy from SkyMall

What did I miss? What's on your "You Know You Travel A Lot" list or Travel SMaC?

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