Business Travelers’ Pet Peeves

According to a survey published in USA Today, what irks business travelers’ the most when they are on the road are:

* Flight delays 51%
* Being away from loved ones 33%
* Not getting a restful sleep 30%
* Airport security 27%

The USA Today survey was taken before the Christmas Day 2009 ‘underwear bomber’ incident, so airport security may rate a lot higher now, but the overall pet peeves will probably remain the same.

Our own survey taken at SmartWomenTravelers.com showed similar complaints; balancing home with work and travel as women’s biggest complaint and flight delays as the next highest travel issue.

What are some ways to help alleviate these pet peeves so you can enjoy your journey more?

Flight delays

Book flights for early in the day as much as possible. Planes are usually at their starting airport for the day and the crew has had sufficient hours between trips. As the day progresses, any earlier flight delay can cascade down to the next flight, which may be yours. In the summer, afternoon showers in the south can delay flights and affect the entire system.

Before booking a flight, use FlightStats.com to see the on-time percentages. Follow Vegas odds in this case…the higher the on-time percentage, the better a chance your specific flight will arrive on schedule.

Being Away from Loved Ones

Before leaving home, involve your kids in your upcoming trip so that you can share in the experience of your travels together. This will help relieve some of the guilt about being away from home, but also make it a fun learning experience for your kids as well.

Tips for involving your kids in your travels:

* Bring along one of their favorite stuffed animals (something small!) or their Flat Stanley and take a photo of their toy in the city you’re visiting.
* Cook foods together that reflect the culture of where you’re traveling to, and research online for interesting facts about the city’s customs that are fun to share with your kids.
* Have each child do daily writings in a journal and you do the same. Share your writings upon your return home.

When it comes to your spouse, touch base daily. If you say you’re going to call home at a certain time, do it. Even if something comes up, at least call at the designated time, explain what’s come up, and set a later time to talk. When the dependablepart is an issue, then wondering, doubt and assumptions start. Talk about their day and the events at home rather than sensationalizing your trip. Use video cameras (Skype video is great!) to feel more connected to your loved ones.

Email or phone your friends to keep these relationships strong. Create a plan to reach out to at least one friend a day to say Hi and see what’s new with them.

Later in the week, I will offer my tips for surviving the last two pet peeves, Not Getting a Restful Sleep and Airport Security.

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