Taking to the Skies in 2022? See 5 Travel Tips From Executive Road Warriors - Senior Executive
Executive Life 3 min

Taking to the Skies in 2022? See 5 Travel Tips From Executive Road Warriors

Executives from TerraCycle, Priceline.com, Michelin and more share their must-know travel tips. That includes how to pack and navigate the airport.

by Kaitlin Milliken on December 30, 2021

QUICK TAKE

  • Always have a bag pre-packed with essentials to prepare for back-to-back trips

  • Disconnect from WiFi when you’re in flight, and use the time for professional development

  • Find ways to learn about and connect with the culture of your destination

Even with uncertainty caused by the omicron COVID variant, travel has slowly crawled back in 2021 — a trend expected to continue in 2022. 

A business travel surge of 38% year-over-year is expected in 2022, according to the Global Business Travel Association. An April 2021 PwC survey also found that the majority of its 1,300 U.S. respondents had planned either personal or business trips within the next 12 months. 

Whether you’re taking to the skies for business or for a vacation, here are travel tips from other executives to consider. 

Always Have Two Bags Ready to Go

“I have two bags packed, always. If I come home, I can throw one in the laundry and then I can…[grab the second bag] if I have to leave the next week…”

— Bradford Wilkins, chief people officer of Loadsmart, a shipping and logistics platform. 

Avoid Checking a Bag, or Swap to One Small Backpack

“I have a backpack that’s ready to go. I never checked baggage…[for trips ranging from a couple of days to eight days]… I just had a roll-on and my backpack. I’m always ready to go quickly.”

Paul English, founder of Lola.com, a fintech platform acquired by Capital One. 

“No matter how long my trip was — could be a day, or could be two weeks — the only bag I travel with is this backpack. That’s it. Nothing else. And the benefit is that…it goes under the chair in front of you [on a plane]. You don’t have to worry about overhead or anything. 

It’s a very, very small bag. [So you have to] be incredibly demanding on what you allow to be put in the backpack. I would inventory everything, like ‘Do I really need that…object?’ I would check my bag once a quarter. If [there was] anything I didn’t use, it goes out of the kit.”

Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle, which focuses on recycling materials that typically become waste. 

Get to the Airport Early 

“I am a…‘get to wherever you’re going super early’ kind of person. Nothing can go bad by doing that. Everything can go bad by not doing it. … You can work in most of those places [like the airport] once you get there.”

Scott Hagen, CEO of Victrola, which produces audio equipment and record players. 

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Disconnect While You’re In Flight (and Read Instead) 

“When I’m on a plane, I do not log on to the internet. And I do not do work on the plane, which probably sounds crazy. But I really try to use that time to unplug… It’s the one place in the world where you sign up to be distracted, like you have to log in…to the WiFi. If you don’t, then no one will bother you. You won’t get any notifications. That time is sacred. 

I get a lot of reading done. It could be business books. … I find that to be such a better use of time for myself than just doing email or working for the four or five hours that a cross-country flight takes.”

Dewayne Hankins, president of business operations of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Take the Time to Explore Your Destination

“If you travel for work, make sure that you make the best of the trip. Learn about the area. Learn about the people and the culture. Take the time to invest, even if you’re there for a short period of time. … Eat at local restaurants.”

— Felicia Sanders, chief human resource officer of Michelin, a tire manufacturer and mobility company.


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