7 Tips to Keep Extensive Travel From Killing You

Remember when you were a kid and you put pins in a map to show the places you’ve traveled? When I was young I pinned each location religiously and, to date, I have successfully placed pins in 49 of the 50 states! As an adult, extensive travel tends to create a lackluster sense of excitement experienced as a kid. In fact, there are times when travel becomes chaotic at best and downright dreadful at worst.

As I have grown into quite the road warrior, I have developed several rules I believe are key to survival on the road.  Rather than learning from my mistakes, I encourage you to adopt the following rules to save you tons of anxiety, frustration and money:

1) Commit to one airline, one hotel chain and one rental car company.

swaTraveling out of St. Louis, Missouri has limitations as to airlines that have consistent and direct flights nationwide.  Southwest Airlines has successfully and consistently exceeded my expectations – changing flights is as easy as clicking on my cell phone and tracking my miles is easier than ever.  The Marriott chain of hotels and Budget Rent-a-Car are my go-to vendors as well.  Using the same companies comes with great advantages such as ensuring your reward points add up quickly and you get the best service possible. You can earn free flights, nights, and rides!

Obtain a credit card that doubles, triples or quadruples points with the airline, hotel or rental car chain you frequent.  I’ll use both my Southwest Airlines and Marriott Credit Cards as examples. I get Airlines miles when I book a flight and I also get double airline miles for every dollar I spend purchasing flights on Southwest.  For every dollar I spend at a Marriott with my Marriott card, I get 5 points.  It’s amazing how fast these points add up when you’re traveling extensively. They are great for those well earned vacations and for personal use.

2) Book travel as soon as you know your travel dates!

While it isn’t always possible to book early, the best available flights and rates are available if booking can be done as much as 30 days in advance. For hotels, booking even earlier than 30 days out is even better. It is also wise to learn of upcoming events in destination cities and be prepared for possible shortages of rooms, cars, and ideal flight times.

3) Only pack what you need! 

And, if you need anything else, just purchase it. This may sound less than frugal but, trust me, it is worth it to keep bags as light as possible. In most cities Target, Walmart, Walgreens or TJ Maxx are located on every corner. Personal items add weight and take up a lot of space. It is also no fun lugging an umbrella or other items for those “just in case” scenarios if these things can be purchased inexpensively only when needed.

4) Avoid the chain restaurants.

Mom and Pop Restaurants are the best! Even when traveling for business, enjoying fresh home-style cooking or cuisine unique to the location is fun and it can leave a memorable impression of the destination. If you are a foodie, like me, you will find yourself talking about the best restaurant experiences when recounting the trip and recommending those places to others traveling to those cities.  Who knows, I may open a restaurant one day with the best dishes from everywhere I’ve traveled!

5) Quickly, get over the fact that you’re going to eat by yourself.

Think about it as a great opportunity to unwind and relax from the day’s business without pressures to discuss it with someone. Depending on the location and purpose of your trip, it can be an ideal time to approach and speak to someone new and make new business connections.

6) Strategically plan to avoid impulse buys or excessive tourism on your trips.

Chris KubanI will, on occasion, break this rule and encourage you to do the same if time allows. If you are interested pick one or two touristy places to go.  You might want to take in a ball game, visit a retailer or restaurant unique to the area, or take in a cultural experience if time allows. I recently extended a New York business trip by 1 day. It was pretty therapeutic! I walked through Times Square aimlessly just taking in the view.

I perched myself on a concrete barrier for a little over 2 hours just watching people. It seemed like time actually stopped and I stayed until 12:30 am! I was aware of the smells, the sounds and the craziness of tens of thousands of people in the same place.

IMG_0090On my ‘free day,’ I explored Central Park – I had walked through a small portion of the park before, but I never ‘walked the entire park.’  I thought I was accomplishing this but after 17,000+ steps and following the paths, I got mesmerized with the beauty in the park. I began exploring the lakes, the City Park Zoo, the community events, and witnessing baseball games played by sluggers from 4-year-olds to grown co-ed teams. It almost seemed surreal watching the tens of thousands of people enjoying horse-drawn carriages, exercising, biking, running, jogging, doing yoga and cross-fit. While taking everything in, I was able to get my exercise as well.  I think 17k steps in Central Park alone was great for one day.  However, because I got turned around by the beauty, I, ironically, only explored a little more than half the park. 


7) Take the first flight back home!

Allow enough time to get to the airport but attempt to take the earliest possible flight back. Excessive wait time leads to anxiety over tasks that aren’t getting done or even impulsive shopping or tourism activities you didn’t plan for.

I hope the rules I shared here are helpful for you. If you have a list of Travel Survival Rules like mine, you’ll have to consider breaking one of your rules, so you can actually get reacquainted with enjoying travel. Now, I’ll have another excuse to go back New York and spend a few extra days exploring!  


Chris Kuban Public Relations Consultant

More about Chris Kuban: 
Chris Kuban started Chemistry PR and Multimedia with a vision to effectively formulate corporate and non-profit brands across the country. In doing so, he has become an expert in Media Relations, Event Management, Social Media implementation and video production. He engages, coordinates and oversees a diverse team of local and national suppliers, vendors, employees and consultants, allowing him to successfully coordinate over 120 national events focusing on overall logistics, media relations and his clients’ expected ROI. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.