President of Financial Examinations & Evaluations, Inc.
I Am Arriving at 8:15 PM - in theory - aka The Romance of Travel.
In a year I will fly over 100,000 miles and visit over 12 countries and many-many states. As a point of reference, this article is currently being scribbled from Ronda, Spain.
Travel is not easy. It is hard. Yes, I can her the violins playing for my suffering in Spain. OK, I am not suffering and in fact I have become very fond of Spain. After the many visits, it still has its pains. I try to get work done between 12:30pm and 3:00pm.
Lets begin with the basis. It is an 8-hour time change and jet lag or jet advance is always an issue. I find it more of an issue traveling east as opposed to west. The second is packing. What must I have for clothing and toiletries that I cannot buy where I am going? The list gets shorter with each trip. Currently I have Spanish tooth paste, Mexican deodorant, a multi-tool from Canada, and razors from I think Jordan. Most of these little items can be purchased at the local store.
Suits are not my favorite. I have to dress like an adult and arrive in a tie, cufflinks, long pants and a jacket. They need to look fresh and smell good. Steaming helps and if you have been on the road too long without a dry cleaner in sight, Febreze is not a bad option. One must still wash their clothes on a regular basis. I know I have to use hotel laundry facilities from time to time - but their prices are worse than the in room mini-bar. Thus, one can either suck it up at the hotel or dive into the local language barrier to get a decent price. I choose the later not that the savings are so great factoring in time and effort - but it pushes me out of my comfort zone and I need to do that. We all need to do that.
Food - I am not a picky eater, yes me. I also actually enjoy street food. A week ago, I had kebabs and dates at a street bazaar in Tangiers. Oh that was good with mint tea and sitting on a curb watching the goings on at the market place. It was great people watching. If you are a picky eater, loosen up and enjoy the bounty each place has to offer or find the local store to buy what you wish to eat. Never sneer or turn your nose up at the local food.
Health - It is always a concern. What if I get sick? It has happened. I got scombroid poisoning in the Caribbean and the flu in China. It is life and the locals took very good care of me. I have also had Norwalk virus a few times, wow it is better than the Hollywood diet and salmonella that I got from a dear friend's spouse who thought the turkey was okay. You can get sick at home as well as on the road but you have to get over it. Always be prepared with antihistamines, antibiotics - broad spectrum, and anti diarrhea medicine. That will cover most of the things you as an amateur MD can treat. After that go see a real MD. Remember for about $200 dollars a year you can buy travel insurance to cover incidents like this and more.
Travel arrangements are very important. If you think you are beating the system and booking on line for this forget it. Don't be pound foolish and penny wise. Pay for an expert travel agent to help you. The extra money is worth every penny. The travel business has become more complex. The airlines, hotels, tours, etc, are banking on it.
Make sure you use a real travel agent. Why is it so important? I had a flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles cancel. The happy gate agent smiled and said no problem we will have you in LA at blah blah blah - 4 hours late. "Great. I missed my flight to China!" - blurts out of my face. Do you have any workable options? "No" is the blank-faced response. I tell him â"No problem - enter this code into your computer and you will see you have already booked me on a flight that works." I just smiled. It was my travel agent who I called at the moment there was a problem and the miracle workers of Sue and Leah fixed it in less than 2 minutes when the airline could not help. I had one of many saves by those two. Just try that with www.bookthis or seemslegitamate.com.
Expectations - It is the key to tolerating and enjoying travel for work and pleasure. Remember it is not your bat, ball, glove or field. You are a guest though a paying one and you need to act like one. Yes, manners are important even in NYC. I have missed flights because I was clueless and had the wrong time on my watch, many hurricanes, two volcanic eruptions and a small civil war. I have landed in cities that were not on my itinerary due to weather, mechanical malfunctions, a fight between a husband and wife where she started beating him, the city of a flight's origination had no fuel so we had to take off and land at another location to get fuel to continue on the journey. Folks, this cannot be made up. Expect the unexpected and always use your manners. Be kind. Good manners has usually moved my solutions ahead of those screaming or having a travel tantrum.
The hardest part of traveling is leaving my family behind.
As I was finishing the sentence above I got a call from home. Appliances are turning on and off and some things are working and some not. Grumble, grumble. (Not really grumble - but it is better not to share with the more polite readers the colorful comments from home.) So thousands of miles away I call our electrician and he finds the problem to the house's electrical issues. It is the utilities main line into the house. The electrician calls the utility company and either I have to authorize or my wife does in person to dig up our yard and part of our neighbors yard. My wife cannot leave work. So I call a friend to stop by the house and pretend to be me. The works starts to begin and the digging starts. It is deep. I go to sleep at midnight and I call home at 3:45 AM in Ronda. All is well on the home front and the electricity is working.
It is very hard to leave family. When things happen and there is not a team to deal with the kids and repairs it makes it harder on the one at home and the one doing his best to help from afar. It also does not help that I am in places my wife may never visit and exploring sites we will not be able to share. Coming home and saying don't worry we will go and see the others place soon is a lie. So why say that? As a workable option she has my frequent flyer miles and can choose to join me on any of the conferences or destinations. Over the years she has become a seasoned European traveler and pretty good explorer in Mexico and the Caribbean.
I suppose this all goes back to the ancient maxim; For every opportunity there is a commensurate responsibility. Having the opportunity of traveling and working where one is called you must have the responsibility to take care of house and home as well and behaving on the road especially when tired and frustrated. One is called to exercise this responsibility when walking through a snow bank at the Philly Airport in shorts at midnight and remembering the plan was in theory to be home in Phoenix at 8:15 earlier that evening for your wife's birthday. Still not sure how I got to Philly when I was flying from San Juan to Miami to Phoenix.
Mr. Files is a published author of five books, in particular "Due Diligence for the Financial Professional, 2nd edition 2010" and "Money and Budgets." Other writing and material can be found at https://www.feeinc.com/media.php. Mr. Files is an international speaker on these topics.
FE&E, Inc. is an international investigative firm specializing in fraud prevention, asset recovery, due diligence, anti-money laundering and intellectual property.
As a financial industry insider for over 30 years, he is keenly aware of the type, and accuracy of the information required to make decisions. Mr. Files has been the case manager on fraud investigations ranging from tens of thousands of dollars to over $3 billion. As an international expert on due diligence and Intellectual Property and Critical Information (IPCI), he is regularly sought for those cases that bedevil the desktop practitioners.
This article is courtesy of the Top 1% Club and the Top 1% Club Mentor Gail Kasper. For additional information on Gail Kasper, her television appearances and speaking engagements, please visit gailkasper.com.