Travel Notes

As someone who travels extensively for work, I have a few habits that are “odd”.

  1. I never watch TV in my hotel. I can’t remember the last time I turned on a TV in the hotel room. Probably early 2002 or so. I don’t watch much live TV at home, so it is pretty easy to just leave the telly off. Additionally, since I am not a huge sports fan (except for MotoGP and WSBK), I don’t find that I miss it.
  2. I don’t watch movies in airplanes. Even with the advent of personal video/entertainment systems, I just read or sleep. Old habits are hard to kick, and I got out of the habit of watching the in-flight entertainment a long time ago.
  3. I try to not rent cars. Unless I need to go significant distance in a location, even in the US, I usually just cab it. Internationally? No brainer. Cab, train, subway is the way to go.
  4. I never read the newspapers that they hang on the door. I swear that USA Today pretty much exists to be tossed at hotel room doors. But even overseas I just leave the paper on the ground. What I want to read, I get from the web (I subscribe to The Economist and the NY Times, so I am not starved for content).
  5. If breakfast costs money in the hotel, I will go out. I find it astounding how much hotels charge for breakfast. $25 – $30 is not uncommon. Unless they are serving shaved truffles, and beluga caviar omelettes, there is no way I can eat that much worth of food. Just about anywhere in the world I have stayed will have a small coffee shop/bakery within walking distance. They get my custom. Of course, in the US at least, most business hotels include a small breakfast service. That is still catching on worldwide.
  6. Kitsh and gifts – long ago I stopped buying stuff on the road. I know my wife likes the trinkets, but really, how many “Hello Kitty” keychains does one need? I do still buy chocolate to bring back though. Yummy
  7. I rarely try to upgrade to business or first class. I just don’t care that much about the uplift. I have many peers who get visibly agitated when they can’t get an upgrade. I would rather keep the miles and use it to take the wife on a real vacation (and then I prefer to use the miles to upgrade to business class). Of course, upgrades are rarer than ever with airlines doing their best to overbook their seats.
  8. I hate airlines. All airlines. Yes, some are better than others (Singapore or Thai), but all of them are working towards treating their patrons as steerage. For small vacations, I far prefer to drive than to book rewards tickets. Besides the hassle of trying to get a seat with your rewards (and since all airlines are running near capacity, that becomes ever more difficult), I find that I just prefer driving.

A lot of people hear that I travel a lot for work and instantly assume that it is all glamorous. It isn’t. Hotels aren’t ever as comfortable as your own bed. You can eat some great food, but equally often you are grabbing packaged sandwiches at gas stations. High cuisine indeed.

I do drink too much on the road though. Spending long hours in hotel bars, or local watering holes that I have found over the years can erase some of the pain of traveling.

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