Business travel can be a drag, even if it’s an opportunity to see and experience new places. So how can a frequent jetsetter bring some joy back into traveling? For answers, we went to travel connoisseur Cynthia Drescher, editor of Jaunted and contributing editor of HotelChatter. Drescher — who works, breathes, and lives almost exclusively on the road — says it’s about finding pleasure in the small things. Below are her three simple business travel tips. Got a tip of your own? Please share them with us in the comments section.
1. Love your luggage: Every single time I finish re-packing my rolling carry-on at the end of a trip, when everything fits just so and I can shove last-minute purchases in without endangering the safety of my gadgets, I step back and look down at my bag and say, “I love this bag.”
There is no excuse for traveling with bad or mediocre luggage. This is of one of my little missions, to educate travelers on the importance of having the right travel accessories.
You need to get to a point with your luggage (preferably always carry-on), where you’re in awe of its pure awesomeness. It should be a bag that says “you,” like a well-worn leather Tumi pilot bag or a piece that can stand up to the worst punishment, and still be stylish enough to complement your personality. One of my favorite luggage brands is Rimowa. I’ve been traveling hardcore with a silver polycarbonate 20″ 2-wheeler from their Salsa collection for the last four years, and it has never let me down. It also helps that it looks super slick.
2. Stretch It: I’m so far from being a yoga person, but it’s true: yoga really does aid in your flexibility and general health. Most importantly, yoga jump starts relaxation and those lovely happy endorphins you get from exercising.
I’ve never done any more advanced yoga than what you can find on a Wii Fit, but enough repetition of those basic positions and I’ve memorized them enough to have a quick 20-minute hotel room routine.
For business travelers, the freedom to take a few minutes to focus on just your balance or just your breathing can make all the difference, not to mention that it leaves you feeling limber and more confident. I don’t even take workout clothes or study up on hotel gyms anymore — I just strike a pose in the comfort of my hotel room. I do some downwards dogs and sun salutations in my pajamas while the coffee machine is percolating, and I’m more than good.
3. Find the Freebies: Encountering hotels with unexpected freebies makes me almost irrationally happy. Look for hotels that offer little bonuses. Omni Hotels will press your shirt and give you breakfast beverage service for free if you join their loyalty program. Kimpton’s InTouch rewards program gives you two free items from the minibar, a “welcome gift” (which was a whole bottle of red wine once for me) and an evening wine hour. Or, without joining a free loyalty program at all, the Park Hyatt Chicago will drive you around town in one of their black Mercedes and all you have to do is tell them when and where.
It’s the allure of the word “free” combined with the above and beyond service that puts the cherry on top of my sundae. In other words, freebies bring the fun.
I’m that girl who, even before hitting puberty, was hitting the stack of pamphlets at the travel agency. After getting a degree in International Studies with a focus on the Anthropology of Tourism, I traded the asphalt freeways of the Midwest for the cobblestones of Rome and southern Germany, where I interned with the International Organization for Migration and hit the Eurostar ticket counter as often as possible.
I’m now headquartered in New York for the benefit of having the big three airports within easy reach–JFK, LGA and EWR. While it’s very possible that I’m out gathering fodder for stories most of the time, you may also run into me 100′ underwater on a scuba dive, 33,000′ above the arctic on a direct to Hong Kong or doing a crossword in a greasy spoon at sea level. And, even though I’m technically a travel writer, you may be shocked to hear that I spend almost all of the money not taken by NYC rent on my own travels. Each day is a struggle between sitting down to work (I am the Editor of Jaunted.com, and also Contributing Editor at HotelChatter.com, Racked New York and Racked National) or heading out on an impromptu journey.