As a true road warrior, I’ve logged miles (and kilometers!) all over the globe, and my treks to places as diverse as Thailand, Morocco, Spain, Egypt, Germany, the Caribbean, Croatia, and so on have taught me many tricks for thriving on the road. I’ve learned to survive for weeks at a time out of a single 20” suitcase – or no suitcase at all, as happened on a month-long trip to Iceland back in 1995 (buy me a drink at Sapphire and I’ll tell you THAT story).
However, it was on one very local trip that I had a revelation. I was visiting an attraction in my home state with a friend, and he opened the trunk of his car to reveal all manner of survival equipment. He had everything from a gas mask to a medical encyclopedia to medications and a three-day supply of food in there – you know, just in case of nuclear war, natural disaster, or the Apocalypse. As we reviewed the contents of his bunker of a car trunk, one item that flummoxed me was the clothespins. Well, they were for clipping together the curtains in the hotel room so the light would not peek in and wake him up in the morning. I looked at him completely baffled – why didn’t he just use the clips on the clothes hangers in the hotel closet? He was stricken. For years he had been carrying unnecessary clothespins, and he realized that my method would have saved him precious space for extra iodine pills.
It was then that I realized that I knew lots of little tips like that, that could help my friends and colleagues survive the trials and tribulations of travel. Nuclear disaster? Sorry, for that you’re on your own. Like many of you, I’ve read dozens of articles on travel tips – how best to pack your suitcase, how to get the best seat on a plane, how to sweet-talk your way into an upgrade, how to manage when you’re put on the do-not-fly list (oh, wait…..that is actually another blog post. Because that happened to me.) With Sapphire NOW rapidly approaching, the time has come to unveil a handful of my super-secret travel tips, which I have not yet seen published elsewhere. For this blog, I’ll focus on some “steamy” ones:
- “Tea Breathing”. Airplanes are notoriously dry, and if you’re on a multi-hour flight across the Pacific, your sinuses will feel as parched as the Sahara. You could buy one of those little spray bottles of saline, thus sacrificing a precious half inch in your 20” carryon as well as a precious few ounces of your “liquid allowance” for security. Or, you could ask for a cup of hot water from the flight attendant, claiming you’ll use your own tea bag. Inhale the steam from the hot water until it disappears. Then use the remainder of the warm water to wash up a bit in the lavatory. You’ll smell better, and you’ll know it because your sinuses are so very very happy.
- “The Steam Closet”. You know the drill: You arrive at your destination, and despite your best packing efforts, your clothes look like you just pulled them out of the bottom of a Dumpster. You can of course pay a fortune to have them pressed, or spend precious time fighting with the travel iron in your room that is guaranteed to “splurt” rust stains on your brand-new favorite shirt. Or, you can create your own “steam closet”. Hang your clothes on hangers, bring them into the bathroom – usually you can hang them from the shower curtain hooks – plug the tub, and turn the shower on as hot as possible. Take the liner out of the ice bucket in your room, and place it over the vent in the bathroom. Once the tub is about half full, turn off the water, close the door, and go do something enjoyable. Have a wonderful dinner. Meet with a friend. Watch a movie. And then go to sleep. The next morning, your clothes will appear freshly pressed. Just remember to remove the ice bucket liner from the vent, or housekeeping will be wise to your tricks.
- “Hot Hands, Warm Hearts”. Everyone has been in THAT meeting room – the one that is either uncomfortably hot, or so cold you can feel the hairs in your nostrils turning to icicles. You can haul along some long underwear, or you can use my super-portable hot water bottle method. Almost all meeting rooms are equipped with both bottles – perhaps for water or soda – and coffee, or hot water for tea. Fill one of the bottles halfway with room temperature water, and the other half with coffee or tea. Hold in your hands until it cools down, then repeat. You’ll find that your warm hands make you feel more warm-hearted toward your colleagues as well. Warning: Do NOT fill the bottle with hot water first. It will melt, and then you’ll just be hot tempered.
By following tips like these, you’ll learn how to maintain yourself while traveling. And if you’d like to move on to the “advanced class”, perhaps you should attend session 14127, “Achieve Excellence in Maintenance Operations”, at Sapphire NOW. In that session you’ll learn how airlines are increasing operational efficiency in aircraft repair and overhaul. That discussion will cover how Delta Air Lines and Aeroméxico use SAP solutions for maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) to improve the traveler experience as part of a joint venture.
Or perhaps you’re interested in how to get the right transportation equipment at the right place and time (clearly, I did NOT have the right equipment at the right place and time during the aforementioned weeks-in-Iceland-without-a-suitcase adventure). In session 14118, you’ll find out how companies are using the SAP Transportation Resource Planning application and booking management software to integrate advanced analytics with forecasting capabilities and drive cost-effective allocation and repositioning of equipment throughout the network. Both of the sessions above take place on the Industries Campus.
Have travel tips of your own? Please share them below, or better yet, find me on the Sapphire NOW show floor and we can talk about them over a cup of tea!