Air Travel Tips
If you meet a woman in an airport wearing shoes one size too big, holding an airport map in one hand and a water bottle in the other, it could be Alticor's Ania Waszkiewicz.
Waszkiewicz is a senior advisor in corporate communications for the Ada-based company. She travels several times a year on business to Europe and Asia, and also returns to her native
During long flights, Waszkiewicz said, she's discovered that her feet tend to swell. So she bought one pair of too-big shoes that she reserves strictly for air travel.
If her itinerary takes her to an airport she doesn't know, she'll go online and print out a map to make sure she doesn't get waylaid on her way to a connecting gate or ground transportation.
And "drinking plenty of water" helps with jet lag, Waszkiewicz added.
Alticor is one example of a big local company that sends its employees packing for business travel, but dozens of West Michigan companies of all sizes require their workers to travel, both throughout the
Being on the road requires a set of personal and practical skills that no business school can teach. The Business Journal talked to Grand Rapids-based business travelers to find out what they've learned after logging thousands of miles.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel in
- Arrive more than 30 minutes before your scheduled flight (longer for international flights) to avoid having the airline give away your seat to a stand-by passenger. Fewer scheduled flights mean planes usually are flying at capacity.
- When you are packing, put your liquid toiletries in a clear, re-closable plastic bag in an easily accessible location in your carry-on for ease at security points.
- Ask for a hotel room with Internet access when you are making a reservation. Otherwise, there is no assurance your room will have it.
- Use the express parking lot at the
in Gerald R. Ford International Airport . Shuttle vans run frequently and get you to the terminal in minutes. Kent County
Herman Miller's Cal Lubbers said business travel is a game of minutes. As director of dealer network operations, Lubbers travels throughout the U.S. 20 to 25 times per year for the
"The education of the traveler is as big an issue as anything," Lubbers said.
"A lot of peeves come from waiting in airports, and a lot of the waits have to do with people not knowing the rules. People are coming with things in their luggage that shouldn't be there, they're not prepared at the front to pass through screening points as they are supposed to be. I just think it's important for one to plan ahead a little bit."
John Fynewever, senior vice president and director of operations for Irwin Seating, said waiting time at airports is the necessary nemesis of business travelers.
"You might as well plan on it," said Fynewever, who travels mostly overseas. "I plan to have something to do. I have paperwork with me, projects with me, or I'm reading a book. You will have the time, and there's not a whole lot you're going to do to change that."
Fynewever, who counts
Steve Tuzzolino also works at Irwin Seating, but his travels are within the
Tuzzolino said he spends 75 to 100 nights a year in hotels, and his top criteria is cleanliness. "You can get a nice hotel in a place like
Warner Norcross & Judd litigator Janet Ramsey said she relies on hotels to supply hair dryers, shampoo and other personal care items so that she doesn't have to pack them. "Certain chains do a good job in providing personal care products, so I try to use them so I don't have to carry half my medicine cabinet," she said.
Ramsey said one night in an
With cases in
On business trips, time must be managed, not just in using it well but in adjusting to a new time zone.
In addition to drinking lots of water, Waszkiewicz said she tries to immediately do as the locals do. "When I arrive in the market, whether in the morning or afternoon of their time, I try to adjust immediately to the time change. I try not to take naps and to survive until the evening, and go to bed at the right time in the time zone."
Another frequent traveler for Irwin Seating, John Eichinger, vice president, international, changes his watch to his destination's time as soon as he gets on the plane.
"I try to get my eating schedule and my sleeping schedule in synch with where I'm going, even while I'm on the plane," said Eichinger, whose job requires about 60 percent travel, mostly to plants in Spain, Brazil and China. "When I get to my destination, I try to spend as much time as I can in daylight, because it just helps you speed the process of adjusting your body to the new time zones."
Eichinger said he makes use of downtime while waiting at airports by keeping his briefcase filled with work, as well as the necessary technology — laptop computer, two cell phones, and a bag of wires, plugs and connectors to make sure he can stay connected anywhere in the world. Of course, he prefers wireless.
Here are some Web sites for business travelers, recommended by Carlson Wagonlit's Meeuwsen:
www.btnonline.com (Business Travel News Online)
www.state.gov/travelandbusiness (U.S. Department of State)
www.buzzle.com (click on Travel & Tourism, then Business & Executive Travel and Business Travel Etiquette)
news.airwise.com/index.html (AirWise News)