Universal Travel Rules: #UTRPRHR

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My job is awesome. I get on a plane, travel across the country, and speak to employees, executive leaders, and job seekers. I talk about technology, social media, and how HR really sucks when it comes to hiring and retaining smart people.

HR won’t stop sucking any time soon, so my job is very secure.

Unfortunately, the holiday season is almost here. Airports will be chocked full of dysfunctional families, crabby senior citizens who don’t like escalators, and over-stimulated toddlers with ear infections. I normally tweet about the universal travel rules. Basic stuff. On a moving walkway, you walk on the left and stand on the right and keep your head out of your ass.

Here are a few more tips to help you travel like the super-platinum, ultra privileged, frequent flier champ that you are.

  1. Please don’t try to bring everything you own onto the plane in a single, carry on bag. I know we are in a recession and some airlines charge fees when you check luggage. Unfortunately, it looks tres gauche when you pack your entire wardrobe and holiday gifts into one simple bag. If you are attempting to avoid fees and surcharges, choose wisely when you book a flight. If we don’t fly on airlines that charge us to check our luggage, those airlines will go out of business. That’s the power of the marketplace. Here is another piece of advice: we have this thing called The Post Office. They will ship stuff for you, and it’s a nice alternative to hauling cookies and presents to Gramma’s house for Thanksgiving. When in doubt, ship it.
  2. Wear the most comfortable clothing you own on the flight. Can we get some perspective? This isn’t fashion week in New York City. It’s a flight from Ohio to Florida. You can wear yoga pants, track pants, or anything soft and forgiving. Just remember that the airline seats are hard, the planes are never properly heated or cooled, and you will be delayed. Dress for comfort because tight jeans, clunky shoes, and ill-fitting underwear will make you cranky.
  3. Use your inside voice in the airport and on planes. I am always amazed when I sit on a plane and hear conversations about jobs, husbands, and children but I never actually see the women who are talking. I know you are excited about traveling. It’s fun. You very rarely get time away from the kids and you can’t wait to talk to your friends. Enjoy yourself, of course, but remember that you will never be able to talk over the roar of an airplane engine. Don’t compete with it—you’ll just give yourself a headache. Use the time on the plane to rest, catch up on a book, or read the newspaper. Please stop talking about your never-ending pile of laundry, your stupid boss, or your lazy-ass husband. No one wants to hear it.
  4. Don’t even think about hassling TSA. They will ask you to do the usual, which includes removing your shoes, your belt, and your jacket. Unfortunately, they might make up new rules on the spot. For example, a TSA agent at LaGuardia told me that I had to take off my sweater before entering the security screening area because it had a hood. When I asked him if Al Qaeda used hoodies as a weapon, he rolled his eyes and handed me a comment card. Believe me when I tell you that arguing with TSA is like pissing into the wind. Just go with the flow and reserve your complaints for the politicians who enacted the PATRIOT ACT. The guy making $12 hour at the security checkpoint didn’t bestow this nonsense upon this country and he doesn’t care. You can’t fight that kind of mediocrity. You will never win. Don’t even try.

Have your own #utrPRHR? Tweet about it and I’ll retweet it. What’s your best travel advice? What’s one thing you recommend for everyone at the airport? Leave it in the comments and we’ll keep a list of the Universal Travel Rules for the suckers who just can’t get holidays right.

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