Practical Tips for Road Warriors

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” — Bruce Lee

Business travelers and salespeople who spend a lot of time on the road know that despite the exotic locations and events they attend, traveling is no piece of cake. The hilarious Planes, Trains & Automobiles, starring Steve Martin and the late John Candy, gives a pretty good glimpse, albeit over-the-top, of the kinds of situations you have to be prepared for when you travel, missed connections and lost luggage being just the tip of the iceberg.

In my three decades of business travel I learned a number of tricks that helped reduce my stress and enabled me to get the most out of my business trips.

Travel is all about efficiency, since you cannot carry your whole office with you. You’ll have to make decisions that encompass what you pack and what to leave behind. It’s a bit like editing. You may wish to amplify all your ideas, but there’s just not enough space. Movie directors, too, shoot far more footage than what appears in the film. There are some pretty good moment that end up on the cutting room floor. So it is with packing for a trip. Bring along only what you need. For sure, don’t leave your cell phone recharger behind.

I always keep the purpose of the trip in the forefront of my mind. Everything else, from how I spend my time to what I bring along, ties in directly to this.

Airline Security
Please stop complaining about the way we are treated like cattle by the TSA. Yes, many of them could use some basic customer service training, but when all is said and done it doesn’t change anything to get red-faced and agitated. Keep the sage wisdom of St. Francis in mind: Accept what you can’t change. One more tip: wear slip on shoes and socks that don’t have holes in the toes. Sometimes, though, if I have to wear lace up shoes I always carry the bottom half of a broken plastic shoehorn in my back pocket to more easily get my shoes back on.

It’s very important that you get the sleep you need, especially if you are going to a week-long trade show like SEMA or CES in Las Vegas. Be sure to plan in your down time ahead of time. If you need to bring sleeping pills, do it.

The SEMA Show has somewhere between ten and fifteen miles of aisles now. Even the parking lots offer miles of trekking, I recommend a second pair of shoes. I would rotate my shoes every day so that any rubbing that occurs happens to be in a different place each day. I have seen people get blisters on their feet from all the walking and it is definitely not something you want to experience, not with two more days of walking ahead of you.

Trip Reports
Make notes on the business cards you receive so you remember follow up items. Take time each day to record your notes from the day before. It is the detail that makes the report interesting and gives it value, assuming that the details are relevant to the purpose of your trip in some way. And personally, I like to finish writing the first draft before my plane touches down at home because my next day in the office will already have a backlog of work awaiting me. Getting that trip report out of the way is one less thing to worry about so you can hit the ground (office) running.

Bring a Little of Home with You
I like to bring a few CDs to play in the rental car while I am travelling. In my case it’s nearly always Dylan. I often had a card or something sentimental from my wife or kids in my briefcase… or something related to home on the wallpaper of my desktop.

Here’s a link to some other tips from a real road warrior. This guy is obviously a veteran and his notes are practical.

Any tips you wish to share?

Originally published at
Illustration and photo by the author.

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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