And then … your daughter sees you packing … and she grabs William the Bear and she tries to climb into your suitcase to go with you.
And it breaks your heart. But you go, dude. You go.
Here are nine things I do to make road trips more productive and bearable.
Yep. I sure did. Sorry.
1. Be kind. Be kind to airline folks. Be kind to hotel personnel. Be kind to your hosts. Be kind to your guests. Go out of your way to do unto others on the road. This may sound nuts until you realize how easy it is to play the victim and ruin not only your day but at least one other person’s. Don’t. You haven’t grabbed a rifle and been asked to man a post. You’re flying to a city and staying in a hotel. Shut up about your inconvenience and be kind.
2. Keep the TV off in your hotel room. This has changed my life the last 18 months. I’ve written a book largely in hotel rooms as a result of keeping the TV off. I keep up with work. I read. I get to bed earlier, and I’m not watching absolute CRAP. Isn’t that what you watch in hotel rooms anyway? There’s typically no guide, so you end up watching the latest stretch-of-reality show, and then another, and then another. Then it’s 3 a.m. Oops.
3. Hydrate. If you’re going to be at a place for more than a couple days, go to a neighborhood store and buy water. Drink at least eight glasses a day. You should be doing this every day, but even more so when you’re on the road – where soda (and booze for the drinkers reading this) lurks around every corner.
4. Noise machine. Use a white noise app or machine to lull yourself to sleep at night. Also asking for a room away from the elevator helps if you’re a light sleeper. All-natural melatonin spray or time-release capsules can help, too.
5. Make a packing list by day. Check the weather channel, then plan out what you’re going to wear each day – including shoes. It’ll help you minimize the amount of junk you pack. I’m not a wash my underwear in the sink kinda guy, but I do like packing minimally. Preparing means you can trim any excess. Traveling light means traveling with freedom. It makes traveling 10000% more bearable.
6. Exercise. This is a new one for me, but it’s an important one. Make space for a pair of running shoes. Use the fitness center – or better yet – go for a walk on the Willamette or the Charles. But walk. You don’t need to run ten miles. Walk two. But do it.
7. Take a picture of where you parked and your room number with your phone. Especially if you travel bunches and you get confused. You laugh at the ‘wait – what day is this and what city is this’ jokes, until you’re in your 25th airport in 45 days. Take the picture.
8. Unpack. Don’t live out of your suitcase. Take time to put stuff in closets and drawers. Put away your suitcase. It makes things a little more orderly and bearable.
9. Schedule times for FaceTime or Skype before you leave. Make time. Keep these appointments sacred. These supersede last-minute client invitations to dinners, shows or clubs. Remember the real reason you’re on the road and honor your family. They miss you. You miss them.
Bye, Choo Choo. Be kind to Bubs. See you soon. Luhz you.
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