Realistic Travel Tips for The Rest of Us – Introduction

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For the last thirty years I have traveled for business through every state in the United States plus visits to British Columbia and Ontario. One insane year I visited 35 states and was away from home for 250 days and nights. I belong to every frequent flier program and carry cards for all of the major hotel chains.

The Imperfect Traveler

Siera Travel Blog Luggage ImageHave worn out at least a dozen pieces of luggage and have given away that many when they did not live up to the promise of online blurb, or when my travel tactics changed. I have learned a little bit about surviving on the road and traveling for work rather than vacations or retirement. I used to read all of the books and articles about traveling that I could find, but I realized they were not written for me.


Siera Travel Blog Spaghetti ImageThey were written for people who vacation and have what the airlines call “flexibility in their travel plans”. I have 150 people waiting for me in Omaha at 8 am. Tomorrow. They were written for people who never spill spaghetti sauce on their clothing, always stay in towns where food is available after 8pm from something other than a gas station or vending machine, where the nearest department store (meaning Wal-Mart) is not 100 miles away, and never find themselves in a community too small or remote to have a wi-fi signal.


Whose luggage was not left to soak on a runway in a monsoon.

They visit places only where the online maps and GPS readings are always accurate.

Those articles are for people never get food poisoning or mystery rashes in a town with no emergency clinic, whose clients never forget to make hotel reservations in New York City during a major convention, and who never have to stay in a town where every available room is booked by high school softball teams, (whose members have never been away from home before).

Siera Travel Blog Image Snow broken treesAnd definitely they are written for people who never have to contend with hurricanes, tornado warnings, bridge collapses, Presidential visits, squalls, lake effect blizzards, ice storms, airline personnel strikes, computer breakdowns, lightning storms, power outages, squalls, wind shears, or floods.



So, although this blog mostly is about adult education and issues impacting our clients’ workplaces and careers, from time to time I thought I might indulge myself in sharing tips for people who have to travel on a budget, show up places on time, and who are not superhuman at organization and self-discipline.

Love hearing from you. Have questions or comments?

By the way, sometimes, I will mention by name specific products or services. I will never accept commissions, payments, or solicit free samples. These are things I already buy or use with my own money.

Upcoming travel topics

My favorite things to pack
Travel etiquette
Working in small towns
Eating on the road
When you are lost:
Car Trouble: My favorite tips for renting cars

4 thoughts on “Realistic Travel Tips for The Rest of Us – Introduction

  1. I certainly related to and enjoyed the post….it reminded me of a little hotel in the tropics with romantic, fully enclosed mosquito-netted single beds in a place where showing up fresh and crisp was a challenge. The AC was shut down at 5 pm so we could listen to night noises. They didn’t mention that in the brochure. A lucky overnight going down range.

    I’ll look forward to learning more.

  2. As always, enjoy the quick-step pace of your writing, the humor, and even though I don’t travel for work any more, I’ll most likely indulge in reading all your posts. Your no-nonsense approach to what works & what doesn’t, with just that dash of wit to spice things up, should prove to be as practical as I know you are. Good job.

  3. Looking forward to your words of wisdom and enjoy anything you write! And plan to listen to your tips — I have traveled well but not nearly as much as you!

  4. Great article Pat I love to read anything travel related too…. First of all, after travelling to your hometown for the past 20 years to the tradeshow, i know a thing or two about high school softball teams taking over everything!!!

    These are just some really dumb little things I use to make my life easier on a business trip:

    – Even in this day and age of the paperless travel, I still carry paper documents! And, I put then in order as to use. For example, Flight docs, car rental, hotel docs. This has saved me a lot of hassle, when I can just show the information…not everyone always does their job right as to your arrival plans; however, if you can put a piece of paper in front of them, no problem!

    – I carry zip lock bags… great for receipts all in one place, I put the TV remote in one because the remote is one of the most germ laden things in the room.

    – I carry some little packs of utensils….

    – I like rooms with a fridge and micro wave, and if not in the room, I ask for them…..

    – I try to fly in a day early….. This so funny I am writing this here, Pat. On my first tradeshow ever, San Diego in 1996, I arranged to fly in 1 hour before my class with you!! lol I made it ….. but with a lot of stress to get to class! Not to mention with a 3 hour time difference, the starvation factor!!! After that… never again did I make plans like that.

    I don’t know if it’s me or not, but air travel has been so difficult lately, my last two trips to Denver, had me getting in late (plane delays), paid for hotel rooms being given up (they did put me up in another hotel), missed connections due to weather and mechanical problems (I lived out my bum fantasies by “sleeping” on a bench at the Baltimore airport!)

    All in all, when traveling, especially for business, I’ve learned to go with the flow, expect the unexpected and be prepared to make alternate plans.

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