You have a big meeting in Singapore next month and a reunion in Kansas City this summer. You may have several trips in between. No need to stress, right? Yeah, right. Late departures, overcrowded flights or a seatmate who snores loudly are not things you can control. But there is an entire zone you can inhabit before you fly to make the process fun, productive and stylish. Keeping your peace of mind on the way to the meeting will also help you look sharp and fulfill your intent once you land.
Let’s start at home, with your suitcase. “Select the right items for your trip and don’t overpack,” says Tim Creagan, district manager for Hammer Made, with locations at MSP International, Galleria and Ridgedale. For men, “roll socks, boxers and belts and put them into your shoes,” Creagan advises. Rolling works for women, too. I remember flying to the Bahamas years ago right after getting this advice. I was amazed by how much I could fit in the suitcase and how unwrinkled things were. Check with your hotel days before you depart about the amenities it offers. Irons, hair dryers and collar stays are typical, but it doesn’t hurt to confirm. This is also a good time to check whether your hotel has a salon onsite. Make a massage or hair appointment to add a winning edge.
Once at the airport, “you can park glamorously with valet service,” says Phoebe Larson, marketing strategist for the Metropolitan Airports Commission.
Find ways to relax after you get through security. Fairly new at MSP is Escape Lounge on the mezzanine level, with a view of the airfield. The first of its brand in North America, “it provides travelers a place to do work, de-stress and eat healthy before boarding time,” explains Larson. She says it’s actually one of the best deals in the airport. If you pre-book, it’s $40 ($45 at the door) for high-quality Wi-Fi and unlimited food, drink and alcoholic beverages (yes, you read that correctly).
If you’re traveling for business, you likely left the kids at home. Make sure you didn’t leave an only-in-Minnesota hair product or energy snack too. If you did, however, MSP International has stores and kiosks to help, such as Uptown Minnesota, which features locally made hair products and skin care. Whether you’re traveling with baby or sans children, the airport also has Honest Company vending machines, with baby and adult products that are good for the environment.
The airport’s PGA MSP venue features a putting green and virtual driving range in case you need to practice your swing before a golfing vacation. Some of my running teammates keep their running shoes handy and do laps around the airport when they have more than a 30-minute wait. If “glowing” before you board isn’t an issue, this might work for you, because staying active before you sit on a plane for hours is a great way to keep fit during downtime. If you like music or use electronics in-flight, check out Bluwire’s locations in concourses C, F or T2 before you board. You’ll find portable technology and charging solutions. Also stay hydrated during your flight and get in a nap if you can.
After you land and get to your hotel, Creagan advises that you completely unpack. “This will let you see immediately what items need a touch-up press from the room iron or a call to the concierge. Most can assist with getting your clothes steamed or pressed and your shoes shined.” Get plenty of protein and avoid extra sugar during your trip to stay fresh.
By now, you’re at your destination and have kept your travel brand intact or even made it stronger. Remember what worked well for you and make those habits to develop a travel pattern. Recognize which hotels best cater to your needs while you’re away and return to them. Not only will you have a comfort zone when you’re away, but you will likely also earn travel rewards for loyalty.
If you’re a bargain hunter always looking for the best deals, realize that spending extra time making connections or flying during off-hours (meaning a less-than-adequate night of sleep) can hurt your ability to be “on” when you arrive. Remember locations and practices that are fun for you, and the rest will take off.
Roshini Rajkumar is a personal brand strategist and presence engineer. She is host of News and Views with Roshini Rajkumar on WCCO Radio and author of Communicate That! For additional communication tips, visit CommunicateThatBook.com. Interface with Roshini at firstname.lastname@example.org.