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post #874
bio: rich
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4/15/2013
08:18

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What I've Learned After Two Years of Full-Time Travel

Snowy in the middle of the country
Travel Amateur
I’ve been in my new-ish job at Cubicle World for about two years. It’s been a huge lifestyle and work change as I went from a 9-5 desk job to basically never being in the office anymore. I went from hiding behind a computer screen to standing in front of people.
It’s been crazy.

Here are things I’ve learned.




Packing
As far as packing, my most valuable tools are a snazzy bathroom kit and two “packing system” items (I use the Eagle Creek ones). One is just small-ish (maybe 8x10 inches) rectangle that is perfect for packing t-shirts, underpanties, and socks. This way I don’t have random socks or underwear floating around in my luggage.

The other item is a flat pack for dress shirts. You fold them up nicely and then the pack kind of flattens them a bit. Yes, they can sometimes come out a tad wrinkly, but if you…


Turn the light out
If you need to get wrinkles out of your clothes, a good 5-10 minutes spent in the bathroom with the shower on hot should steam them right out. The trick, in most hotels, is that you need to turn the light off because the light controls the vent and the vent works well enough that your clothes don’t get as steamy as they need to be (learned from the much wiser Mark).
My strategy is to steam my shirts or whatnot for five minutes, turn off the shower and let them stay there for as long as possible (with the light out of course). Overnight works well. I try to do this way in advance of wearing them so they aren’t damp.

Oh, and staying in a Marriott where the coat hangers are tiny and won't fit on the curtain rod? Just un-do a few of the shower curtain clips and use those to hold the hangers. That's what I do.



Suit
Speaking of suits, I love the Ted Baker suits they make that are somewhat wrinkle free and I think stain proof. I think they call them their Endurance suit. Perfect for travel. Comfortable and modern and fairly handsome.
(uber-fashion folks don't like these suits because they are apparently cheaply constructed - I've never had an issue)


Luggage
I've gone through one or two pieces of luggage and finally seem to have consistently carried the Tumi T-Tech Presido. We had some made at work and I was very thoughtfully given one (after I pouted for a while). Mine is black.
It's a tough little bag.




Bathroom Kit
Years ago I got a snazzy hanging little bathroom kit that I would carry with me and the issue always was (and this was back when I only traveled for fun) that I’d invariably forget something. Now, I just keep a duplicate of whatever deodorant, shaving cream, hair mucky gel, and teeths brush in there at all times. This is great. I can just now grab the kit from the closet and go. In the case of a zombie apocalypse I’m good to go.

Oh, and I never pull it out of my bag or put liquids in a Ziploc when going through security - not even the full sized deodorant. I'll get stopped for that about every six months, but I've never had anything taken away.



Why does my room have two televisions?
Rewards & Miles
Everyone will tell you to quickly identify an airline, hotel, and rental car company that you like and try to use them all the time for your travel. So, I’ve done that (Delta, Marriott or Starwood, Hertz) but I also got a Delta Amex card which will replace my Amex “Blue” card (remember how that card was supposed to do… stuff?) and for every purchase I get miles on Delta. The Amex helps to speed up your movement up their tiers. I’m currently “Delta Mauve”.

(I have all these Marriott points, but I get so annoyed with them sometimes. Slowly trying to move to all Starwood hotels (W, Westin, etc))



Travel Agent
Crikey. Especially since I travel for work, I have access to a travel agent. I don’t use them that much, but when you are stuck somewhere because of a cancelled flight, they are invaluable. I often want to hug them. The woman who I work with has been with me through some stressful times.
“I can get you on the next flight if you can get to the other terminal”
“I can’t! I won’t make!”
“You can! I have faith in you! Run Forest! Run!”



Walk
It seems like I do a lot of eating and drinking and riding around in cars when traveling for work – so one goal I have is to always walk.
Walk in airport terminals.
Take the stairs in the hotel.
Never sit down.


Dollars
I always forget to have cash with me, but small bills are awfully handy as I often find myself in situations where tips are needed. Cash is still necessary.


Internets Phone
On the ol’ phone, I live and die by...
- The Delta App: where I can check in and get my boarding pass and see if I can steal an upgrade.
- TripIt: Keeps all the hotel, flight, and car rental all nice and organized. One stop!
- The United App: ugly but works for when I fly them
- Flight Tracker: Will give me updates sooner on flight delays and cancellations than others
- Gate Guru: Kind of a funny Yelp-esque app that list services and restaurants at various airports by terminal
- Twitter: If you fly Delta, they are one of the few brands that actually helps customers via Twitter
- Lodgenet: There is a LodgeNet app for the iPad that allows you to control the television in your room! No more handling the creepy dirty remote. It also has a nice channel guide (for when I want to watch Family Guy (the only thing I ever seem to watch)).


Global Entry
Finally, I signed up for Global Entry which is a fancy little card that allows me to skip a lot of the customs lines when flying back into the USA. I don’t fly international that often, but in theory it also gets me through the Pre-Check lines here. The photo on my Global Entry card is hilarious. I’ll show it to you.



Is is carry-on suitcase only for you? I discovered the carry-on roller and I'll never check another bag again.
»j ||  4/15/2013 ||  2:41:27 PM
Yea, I have a smallish Tumi bag that I can usually get about 4-5 days of stuff in and still be able to carry it on. I try to not ever have to check it mainly because I'm often being picked up at the airport and we have to get somewhere quickly.
»:r ||  4/15/2013 ||  10:19:52 PM
(just updated this post with the luggage I have)
»:r ||  4/15/2013 ||  10:27:01 PM



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