A frequent travelers tip – don’t hurry

Categories: Business Life

I travel a lot – think 100,000 miles every six or seven months, on tons of different flights. My method of travel used to be as follows:

Budget for 1 hour at the airport, assume they will still let me on the flight if I get to the gate 20 minutes before the plane leaves, keep yapping in a client meeting, and then run like hell through the underground (T, U-bahn) or hire an Indi 500 cab driver and scoot to the airport. This was an excellent method, and I am proud to say that in four years of operating like this I only missed two flights.

The problem was that is was a high-stress method of travel. The chance of something going wrong was around 20% (i.e. 1 in 5 trips has a problem somewhere along the line). I had to make emergency decisions. I would forget things (I left a notepad in Germany, a new computer gadget in a BA 747, etc). Travel was just not a nice thing.

And then one day it all got better. I started to arrive at the airport 1.5 hours before the flight. I built in more wiggle room to get to the airport. Travel is not blissful, but it is a damn sight better than before. I have plenty of time to make phone calls, I can read a paper, have a beer, buy premium chocolate for the wife, and a tiny toy-thing for my toddler son.

So, in return for leaving a client meeting 30 minutes earlier than I used to, I have my quality of live back again. I will always need to travel, now I can do it in (relative) peace.


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