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Its been a fun year from the travel perspective… In the past 12 months, I’ve been in:

Cincinnati, Columbus & Bryan (tiny town – big company), Chicago, Atlanta (rode the Dragon’s Tail twice – video), Austin & San Antoni, Boston, Indianapolis, Newark, New York, Denver, Washington DC, Toronto, Sussex NB, Vancouver and London, England – most of those – multiple times.

Coming up in July and August alone – Chicago, Washington DC (2x), Toronto, Boston and Munich Germany.

Almost all of this travel has been with OSTraining – a fantastic training company for WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, of which I’m really pleased to be a part. Over the past two years, I’ve produced almost 250 training videos and now I’m a part owner in the company. Pretty exciting stuff.

Some of my personal travel tips:

Never check a bag unless you have to. On one trip to New Brunswick Canada, the trunk with $10,000 worth of equipment made it, but my suitcase didn’t. For 28 hours I had nothing – not even a case/solution for my contacts – and Walmart didn’t open until noon on Sunday. If you have to check your bags, at least have one day’s worth of everything in a carry-on.

Carry some snacks and water onto the plane. With the number of delays where planes sit on the tarmac for way too long, you’ll be thankful to have something to nibble on and a way to stay hydrated. Airlines rarely serve food/water in those cases.

Always be polite and friendly to airline staff. Though I’m not always good at it – my #1 rule is “Be Kind” (comes from the Bible). That said – I’m always kind to airline staff…
They appreciate that you’re flight is delayed, your bag is lost, you’re tired, had a long day… blah blah blah… and yes they’re there to “serve” you… but getting angry helps no-one and usually gets you sent to the back of the line – at least in their minds.
Its amazing what a smile and kind word from a customer can do for a stressed out employee’s demeanor (and your situation).

If you can’t “control” it – don’t stress over it. I get sent to the secondary interview room pretty much every time I fly back in to the US. (long story – and no – I’ve never been arrested – haven’t had even a traffic ticket in over 20 years). So I always arrive a little early and plan on a 45-60 minute delay in customs. My last trip back from Vancouver – I was sitting in the room next to a 22 year old who was trying to get to Miami for some training. She was stressed to the point of tears. I tried to convey this point to her… reminding her that life was an adventure and that everything is a learning experience. She didn’t take that very well. :) But life IS an adventure and everything IS a learning experience. Why get stressed over what you can’t control? I love the line from the movie “Point of No Return” – “I never did worry about the little things…” There’s always another flight, another path, another opportunity. Don’t stress, just keep your eyes open and your heart pure.

Find you’re own “way” of staying relaxed at the airport. For me – this is finding a quiet corner in the sky lounge, putting headphones on and closing my eyes to some good music (and setting an alarm that will ring in my headphones just in case…) A lot of airports now are really making an effort to help you. Atlanta has a live jazz band playing near the main food court. Other airports are displaying art, have children’s play areas (Minneapolis), really nice massage areas (LaGuardia) etc… Its an adventure! Enjoy it!
Take pictures – of everything! Your iPhone/Smartphone is now a pretty good camera. I take pictures of as much as I can before a presentation – especially in a new city – and I include some of those images in the introduction each time. It helps connect with my audience and lets them know I’m interested in their particular culture/situation.

Text your significant other as soon as you land – on every hop. My wife appreciates it when she knows I’m back on the ground… I’m sure your spouse would too.