Wall Street investment guru and author Phil Town travels the U.S. regularly. An ex-Green Beret and former river guide, he is a self-made investor, motivational speaker, and author of the New York Times bestseller, Rule #1. He regularly appears on the same stage with Bill Clinton and Rudy Giuliani as part of the “Get Motivated” success conference, and is a frequent guest on CNBC and MSNBC.
So, Mr. Town travels a lot. Here are some of his tips to help you survive – and thrive – on your next business trip.
Flying: “Never check luggage. I once broke my own rule because I was going to Italy, so I checked one bag. One. One time. It was the size of a house. It didn't matter. They lost it. I carry on a loose, single-fold, single-suit bag. It keeps a suit and several shirts wrinkle-free. No ironing or shower steam required. I also carry on a small roller bag for shoes, toiletries and computer. My iPhone doubles as a book reader, but I bring a paperback for those long sits on the tarmac when I can't use electronics. I'm 6-foot-2. I pay for first class so I can work comfortably and I avoid small regional jets for the same reason.”
Hotels: “The difference between a good business hotel like Marriott or even Hampton Inn and something like the Four Seasons isn't much if you're working in your room. If, on the other hand, you need the hotel staff to help (valet, concierge, doormen, business office, impressive space) with arrangements and clients, paying up for the best hotel will make life a lot easier – and it separates you from the herd of middle managers and salesmen, and puts you with the CEOs. Quality is a tool. Use it when you need it.”
Ground transportation: “In large cities, a good [Lincoln]Town Car airport pickup and drop off is only a tad more expensive than a smelly taxi. In smaller cities, it can be worth it in wear and tear to hire a car and driver rather than renting and parking. If you rent a car, I think Hertz Gold is the fastest to get you on and off the road.”
Wardrobe: “Two well-made black or dark blue suits, a few shirts and a pair of good jeans. Wear a suit coat with jeans to travel. Get good travel fabric for the suits. Do the twist test when looking for a travel suit. Ignore the horrified look on the salesman's face and twist the sleeve about five twists as hard as you can and let it go. If it's wrinkled, look for a different material. Shoes are tricky for the road. You must have a shoe for your suits and a shoe to work out in. But also a shoe to hang out in. You wear one pair to travel and carry one pair. Carrying two in a carry-on is too many. I usually choose a quality black loafer that can work with jeans and a suit. Not perfect for either, but hey, it's life on the road. I've gone 45 days with the same clothes, supplementing underwear by tossing it and buying new. Buy it at [the discount retailer]Ross and it’s cheaper than hotel laundry. Try washing your underwear in the sink a few times and, believe me, buying new underwear starts to look really good.”
Backup plan: “You'll lose stuff on the road. It's the way it is. So back it all up. Extra credit cards and cash. Computer files on a portable hard drive or on the Web. I carry a passport and a birth certificate as backup ID. Anything you must have, carry two of – and don't put them all in the same bag.”
Getting through an airport fast: “Get dropped off. Go first class and use the first class line through security. Package your liquids correctly and be ready when your turn comes to put your stuff through the machine. Don't wear beepy stuff through the metal detector. Don't be mean to the TSA staff. You'd get crazy from time to time, too, if you had their job, and trust me, they can really slow you up if they feel like it. If you're late, kind people will take pity on your stupidity and let you in front if you ask nicely. But you owe them dinner. I did this once – bought the guy dinner, signed a book and still stay in touch.”
Travel experts: “Get some. They will save you when your flight cancels. Mine charge me $20 a change. Best money I ever spend. You can duplicate their effort online, if you can get online and if online covers every possible airline, which it does not. Real travel people beat computers every time. And when your Town Car isn't there and it’s midnight and the taxi stand is closed, you have someone who'll fix it.”
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