I’ve done more traveling in these first few years with BlogFrog (mostly to blogging and social media conferences) than I have with any previous company. Connecting with bloggers and brands face-to-face is key to creating lasting relationships.
Most people enjoy traveling and the adventure of handling each unfolding moment is part of the excitement. But being unprepared can ruin a trip. Packing the wrong clothes, forgetting chargers, skipping meals, and not having enough cash on hand are just a few examples of small things that can cause huge, time-sucking headaches during an agenda-packed trip.
While I’ve picked up dozens of travel tips over the years, below are eight of my favorites. I chose these for how they help solve my three biggest traveling challenges – saving time, keeping my physical and mental energy, and making sure I stay connected to the people I meet when I leave.
1. Remember where you parked
Even though I have been to Denver Int’l Airport a thousand times, I always forget where I parked. When you are tired, cold, hungry, road-weary and its 10 below, the last thing you want to do is spend hours wandering through 150 acres of cars. So now I text myself with a picture of where I parked as soon as I get out of the car. I look it up later and it saves me every time!
2. Save time by checking in early online
If you’re flying Southwest, check in online before you leave for the airport (or at midnight the night before) so you’ll get in the A line and spend less time waiting. Instead of assigned seating, Southwest assigns boarding groups (A, B and C), which is based on when you checked in so the earlier you check in, the less time you spend waiting.
3. Pack tech peripherals in a see-through travel pack
I take this kit on every trip and its stays packed on my office bookshelf. It includes chargers (phone, mi-fi, camera, Shuffle), flash drives, portable speakers, extra memory cards, camera battery, USB port splitter, and extra ear buds. I can see where something is at a glance and everything is in one convenient place instead of hidden in various pockets or bags I can’t see. Pack this with your carry-on!
4. Get a bigger room for free
When you make hotel reservations, tell them there are two of you, even if you are traveling alone, and ask for two beds. The room rate is usually the same but the rooms tend to be bigger, sometimes MUCH bigger. You’ll have more room to spread out and a nicer environment to relax in. P.S. Spend the extra money and stay in the hosting hotel instead of a cheaper place a few miles away. In the end, cab fare can eat into your savings and the convenience of being able to run up to your room to drop off things, change outfits, or recharge will save you time.
5. Keep your routine, keep your sanity
Its hard to have meaningful, intelligent conversations when you’re tired or feeling out of balance. Whether its exercise, vitamins, or writing in a journal, pick a few key daily routines that keep you healthy and grounded and don’t skip them when traveling. I go to the hotel gym in the morning, even if I have to get up super early. I carry instant hot chocolate with me (it’s my morning drink) and I have eggs for breakfast, even if I have to order room service. Extra bonus – knowing I plan to hit the gym in the morning keeps me from staying out late. If I do those three simple things, I feel better all day.
6. Brush your teeth often or carry mints/gum
People drink a LOT of coffee at conferences, are talking all day, and probably aren’t drinking much water. By mid-day, you could have pasty breath and never even know it. Do people take a friendly step back during your chat? Carry a travel toothbrush and brush your teeth in the bathroom a few times during the day – just in case!
7. Don’t lose the personal connection once you leave
I often leave a blogging conference with over a hundred new connections and I want to remember exactly where, when and under what circumstances I met a person. It matters to me if it was in the buffet line, the elevator, after a session, or in a cab. I don’t want to be one of those people who sends a generic “nice to have met you” email to a huge list they pulled off their stack of business cards. So how do you remember those details? Jot down notes on the back of their business card as soon as the conversation is over. Trust me, it’s worth it. When you can reach out to someone and recall exactly where you met and what you talked about, that leaves that person with the impression that they are special and memorable – because they are! I also keep cards in ziplock bags – one marked for bloggers, and one for brands.
8. Skip the shiny, odd-shaped business cards
Laminated business cards may look nice, but you can’t write on them! And the odd-shaped cards are the first ones to get lost in my stacks, especially round ones, those tiny rectangular ones (I still don’t know why they are so popular), and ones shaped like bookmarks that I have to fold. P.S. I LOVE the ones with profile pics.
I hope these tips make your travels just a bit more efficient. This blog post has been sponsored by CLEAR, the service that speeds you through airport security. CLEAR members save so much time at the airport, it’s like having Daylight Savings every time you travel! CLEAR, the (self-proclaimed) Official Sponsor of Daylight Saving Time, is celebrating the extra hour we get on Nov 6th with a series of travel and time-savings posts on their blog – and here, on my blog too.
To help you see what CLEAR is all about, they are offering my readers a special 3-month FREE trial! Don’t settle for just one extra hour this Daylight Savings. No need to deal with unpredictable security lines, the stress of rushing to your gate, or the time you waste getting to DEN extra early. Click here to get your pass and try CLEAR’s enhanced travel experience for yourself. Just enter my code (CMNDST04) in the promo code field on the payment page.