5 More Travel Secrets that will Help You Live Long and Prosper

Last week I wrote about the trials and tribulations as a traveling consultant, particularly the commute. If you missed last week’s post, you can find it here: 5 Travel Secrets that will Impress Your Friends. As mentioned, I was inspired by my teammates who are rookies in independent consulting. They took care of their own travel arrangements and made some pretty appalling choices. It seems like such an afterthought when it comes to working in consulting. People just assume that because you’re a consultant, you have no boss. You control everything, and everything about your life is somehow glamorous.

Photo Credit: hbo.com via http://quotesgram.com/entourage-ari-gold-quotes/

Not to say that consulting is hell. But the conception is that you make a bunch of money, and more than likely, your travel arrangements are magically handled. I had this exact misconception myself when I was an employee on the client side, watching these high priced consultants waltz in with their expensive suits, staying at fancy hotels. While some of it might be true, I didn’t know about sacrifices that they had for their personal time, which was now spent waiting for flights at airports, missing their spouses and children. I didn’t know about their almost ‘dual’ lifestyle: one on the road, and the other at home. I didn’t know this, of course, until I got into the game. Living well has always been important to me: eating healthy, keeping my body in good shape. I learned a lot about what my body likes and what it doesn’t when I started traveling. I started to design my life on the road to support it.

 

Accommodations

The first thing people think of when they book travel is the hotel where they will stay. I’m telling you nothing new here. You get a room with a bed and a bathroom.

Photo Credit: https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g188064-d575866-i67549020-Hotel_Royal_Lucerne-Lucerne.html

Nowadays, business and family travel has created the demand for hotels to offer little kitchenettes. Some offer suites to cater to families with small children and business travelers. In the few times I choose to book a hotel, these are the minimum standards (among others) that I seek. Suite hotels will likely have a fridge, a double burner cooktop, maybe even a full on mini kitchen, in the likes of Marriott’s Residence Inn’s. Often these same hotel chains will include breakfast as part of the room rate, or for a nominal fee. Over the years I’ve become quite a princess when it comes to booking accommodations. I’m VERY particular about the places where I hang my proverbial hat at night. No one’s going to take care of you better than you, especially on the road. I suppose that applies to life in general, but this post is purely about travel, so I stay on topic.

 

Airbnb for Business (and Family)

Photo Credit: https://techcrunch.com/2016/04/18/airbnb-focuses-on-indias-growing-travel-market/

In the last few years, Airbnb has really changed the landscape for travelers looking for extended stay. Before the likes of Airbnb, there was Premiere Suites, and Oakwood Corporate Housing, or just private furnished rentals. There still are, but Airbnb has really expanded the choices for us. I would have to say that Airbnb has an edge over all of the rest of them. There are various reasons.

First Impressions are Meaningful

The first time I visited Airbnb years ago, I noticed that the images of all the properties were clearly a grade above anything that I found on a regular rental site. The properties all looked bright, airy, well-lit. They were so appealing that I would often peruse the site, and create wish lists for places that I would one day like to visit. I’d never done this on any other rental site before.

Second, they had a handy-dandy app, which I’m sure I’m not the only one who uses it. It took even Home Away, a long time competitor of Airbnb, a long time to follow suit.

 

Social Proof

Most importantly, the social proof and review system is what continues to put Airbnb at the top of my go-to list for accommodations. Whereas you would have to actually google reviews of the other places (if they are even available), Airbnb (and Home Away, which is owned by Expedia) has their own review system, where you can see two important factors in your decision-making process to select a place: the actual reviews of the property itself, and what the owner is like. Although less of a factor, it personifies the property somewhat, making it less anonymous than the faceless hotel that I’d been used to staying. I noticed recently that Airbnb now is playing in the business travel space. According to the Economist.com, business users had essentially sprouted 250% year over year using Airbnb over a traditional hotel.  I’m glad that people are starting to catch on.

Photo Credit: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/airbnb-business-travel-launches-new-upgrade-2015-7

If I were traveling once again for consulting, I would definitely do this. If you are a family, traveling with small children, you should definitely do this. I remember when we went to Orlando this past January, my sister booked a hotel suite for $250 USD / night. She did this, months in advance. When I went to book (weeks before our trip), the same suites were now in excess of $300 / night. Hence I turned to Airbnb. Like the princess that I am, I browsed through all possible properties, roomy enough for two families (my parents were coming with us), new, with laundry, kitchen, the whole thing. Within minutes I landed on the Wyndham Bonnet Creek resort and booked the brand-new two bedroom condo for $260 / night.

Long story short? If you’re going to be away on a client site for a long time, for the love of God, get a furnished condo, rather than a hotel. Get a furnished condo, rather than an unfurnished one for which you then need to buy bed and desk.

Wyndham Bonnet Creek

Uber for Business travel

Yep. Taxis are now officially old school. According to Certify (a travel expenses app, which integrates with Quickbooks or other ERP’s), 55% of all rides expensed by employees were via Uber. In fact, Uber edged out traditional taxi services, which accounted for a trailing 43%. Impressive, isn’t it? It floors me, actually. It floors me because both Airbnb and Uber are companies which own no physical assets in terms of hotelling properties or fleets of cars. What they sell, is the access to an already existing network of people’s properties, who are willing to capitalize on their free space.

Uber? same thing. The magic of Uber, as you know, is in the access to a network of vehicles already in close proximity to you, and offering the average driver a chance to make a few bucks while giving someone else a ride. And yet, the response is that consumers are now conveying that they would rather use these meshy companies over the traditional hotelling, or taxi service. That, to me, is awesome. What I love about companies like Airbnb and Uber is that they allow everyone to participate. Anyone with a decent place to live, in a desirable neighborhood, can put up their sofa for a place to sleep on Airbnb. Anyone with free space in their car going that way anyway can respond to a request for a ride.

A couple years ago (if that) Uber was sadly pushed out of Edmonton. But the good news is that they are back! We’ve already seen Uber Eats, using the original Uber concept for delivering food. This to me, is another fabulous service especially for families where on a Friday night, instead of packing up the kids to head downtown to pick up dinner, have it delivered. If you’re working late one night at the office, you can order food via the Uber eats app, and 35 minutes later, it magically appears at your door!

 

Fitness on the Road

Photo Credit: http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/on-the-road-fitness

Ok. Let’s move onto the next most important area when it comes to being on the road: how to keep up your fitness. Lawrence and I have been working out 4 – 5 times a week since we started dating in 2000. It’s ingrained in our lifestyle. Everywhere we go, be it for business or pleasure must have adequate fitness facilities. For this reason, I spend weeks researching all the available options for accommodations because the ‘chosen one’ must have a good gym or access to a good fitness facility.

When I first got to LA years ago, hotel gyms were a sad reality. (still are for many hotel chains, offering little more than a treadmill, an elliptical and a Stairmaster in a dimly lit, carpeted room without windows and only a wall mounted TV to keep you motivated.

Photo Credit: http://hamptoninn3.hilton.com Sadly this is still a reality at the Hampton Inn in New Jersey

(Usually the TV has CNN playing, so I would doubt exactly how ‘motivating’ it actually could be.) By week number 4, I caved, and dropped in at the nearest 24hr Fitness in Pasadena. It cost me $20 per drop in. Guess what? A monthly gym membership was only $60/month. Working out 4 times a week, it would more than pay for itself in a week. My recommendation? Join a gym at whatever client site you’re placed. It’s way cheaper than paying the drop-in fee. In my case, I was required to travel to other parts of the US and Canada to deliver training, or host a UAT (User Acceptance testing). I made sure that I joined a gym that had a national presence: L.A. Fitness was the one that I selected.

 

MindBodyOnline

Photo Credit: http://mindbodyonline.com

Years later, when I moved back to Canada, I again found myself in Montreal on business. By then I was heavily into barre fitness (teaching it, but I always like to attend fitness classes in other cities where I could learn and get ideas for my own classes). I found an app called MindBodyOnline.

It’s an app which tells you where the closest desired fitness class or gym anywhere in North America, whatever it may be: CrossFit, Barre, Pilates, Yoga, any other type of class). You can even register and pay directly on the app for the class, and just show up for it at class time. It’s beautiful.

 

Weightless Workouts

Photo Credit: http://harvestheart.tumblr.com/post/34205800302

Before you get excited, it isn’t that the workout is light and weightless. What I mean is, these are workouts where you don’t need any weights, or any equipment, for that matter. You’ll still get a wicked workout.

One of my specialties is a weightless Tabata. I use only body weight as resistance. If you ever attend one of my classes, you’ll know that my mission is to help you get your money’s worth. I always live up to my promise. One thing about teaching fitness is that the more you kick their asses, the more they respect you. It’s funny how the human psyche works. But I digress. Some of the places in which I got inspiration for body weight movements is on Youtube, where Zuzka Light delivers a workout of the week that requires little to no weight. And all of the workouts last around 20 minutes.

Photo Credit: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/zuzka-lights-15-minute-lower-body-workout

Oh.. did I just take away that ‘no time’ excuse? You can check out one of her workouts at the bottom of the post. The newest gal I recently discovered is Kaisa Keranen. What caught my eye about this particular workout is that she completes the entire workout in less than 2 square meters. She uses nothing but the foot of her bed as her ‘equipment.’ I’ve incorporated a few of her inspirations in some of my classes before. Trust me, this lady does not disappoint. I guess my point is, even if you are in a place where there is absolutely no gym, no outdoor space that is safe to move about for a workout, you can still get it done with just your hotel bed.

Photo Credit: http://www.shape.com/fitness/videos/push-punch-and-plank-your-way-stronger-body-just-4-minutes

Trying New Styles of Fitness

Photo Credit: http://www.adventureout.com/rock-climb/rock-climbing-ii-beyond-the-basics/

The final idea I want to plant in your head when you’re away from home is the opportunity you have to try out a new form of fitness. Often it takes a brand new environment, where you know no one, that you can come out of your shell and attend a new type of fitness class. I remember going rock-climbing with my friend (and then client) Doug in Pasadena when he was there for Conference Room Pilots.

It was also in L.A. where I picked up Capoeira, which I then studied for the next 10 – 12 months. Not only does trying out a new style of fitness benefit you physically, as with any new changes to a fitness regimen, but you get to make new friends as well! It was via L.A. Fitness that I developed community with the other gym rats there. I met a lot of body builders, and fitness competitors.

Through Capoeira, I met Janae and Russell Ali, with whom I spent many a summer evening chatting on their porch contemplating life and business. It got to the point where I would even skip out on corporate dinners with my clients because I had developed such a full social schedule with the community I had formed outside of work. As the years rolled on, I attended many of their weddings, visited them when they had their first-borns, and still keep in touch with them to this day.

Photo Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwG7JwXtUSI

 

Travel is fun with loved ones. Of course! But if you have to travel for work, you might as well make it enjoyable and make as solid a life as you can. Especially if you’re away from home, you’re the only one who can take care of you. There are now so many companies, tools and services that will help support you stay aligned with our values and that which your body thrives.

In next week’s post, we’ll talk about eating well on the road. Until then, I wish you enough health, wealth, and opportunities to travel and share with family and friends. May you live long and prosper. With these travel tools, you likely will.

 

As promised, here are two (of many) video’s that inspired me in my own fitness classes. This is my favourite one. Enjoy! (but remember to take it to your own level. Everyone’s fitness level is different, and her job (as well as mine) is to illustrate the max, and inspire you to work hard.)

And here is the one from Kaisa Keranen:

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field