It had been too long since I set foot on an airplane. But I’d say that even if I just got off an airplane last week. My thanks go out to the citizens of the Temecula Valley, who were gracious to host me in April. I always look forward to my annual visit, and already can’t wait to visit next year.
Why do I go back to Temecula every year? Three years ago, I got involved in a fundraiser for a local breast cancer resource center that does so much great work in the community. Their work encompassases more than just research: they provide counseling, prosthesis support, and much more. Which is why I'm more than happy to get on an airplane and go back to my home state every year to help out.
This got me thinking about the greater good that travel does in our communities. Did you know that travel and tourism is one of America's largest industries? In addition to raising money for a great cause, my travel generated great revenue for the local area. In fact, travel in America generates $129 billion in tax revenue annually for local, state, and federal governments. And travel supports 14.6 million jobs around the country - including 6.9 million not directly involved in travel!
It seems that my travels did more than just help a great cause - it also helped growth in the communities I visit, and create jobs. Multiply that by everyone coming into the city for the event, and we're talking about a major impact!
What made this trip rather strange for me (among things) was the fact that, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t suffer with a single trip delay! No mechanical failures, late airplanes or sick crews this time. The feeling of being on time was absolutely foreign to me – because I had already packed enough gear to be prepared for a nice set of trip delays. In this case, it was all dumb luck and circumstance. But, in looking back at my itinerary, there were some things that diminished my odds of suffering a trip delay. Here’s what I did right (entirely by accident):
1: Fly on subprime routes
My home airport only connects to a handful of places before I get to my final destination. Some of them are the bigger airports in the world that I shudder at the prospect of traveling to: Newark, Chicago and Denver, to name a few. But in this situation, I planned to travel to a non-impacted hub (Cleveland) that connected directly to my final destination. Additionally, I flew in subprime hours: before 9 AM heading out and after 9 PM heading back. By flying through less-impacted hubs and at non-prime hours, I was able to get to my destination, and then home without any problems whatsoever.
2: It’s good to have status
Remember earlier this year when I earned Silver Status across Star Alliance via Aegean Airlines? Coming through LAX, it really helped out. I had priority baggage handling from the airport and was able to use the priority security line once I got there. It was also nice to be able to board in the first two boarding groups as well and not have to wonder where I was going to stow my bags in the overhead compartment. This made getting in and out a breeze! Now if only they hadn’t lost my lucky bag tag…
3: Pack early, pack often
This time, considering it was a five-day trip with plenty of costume changes, I was forced to pack a checked bag. But with my free bag perk thanks to Silver Status (see above), packing was a breeze. I threw everything I didn’t want to carry with me on a regular basis in the checked bag (including my liquids and toiletries) and everything else went in the carry-on garment bag. This worked perfectly in my favor – and allowed me to get on with my plans not worrying about having a baggage loss or trip delay.
Sometimes when you travel, things work in your favor when you need them to. And every once in a while, when you plan things just right, they all work out better than you could ever expect - not only for you, but for the greater global community you serve. When was the last time your travels aligned to work out perfect for you? Where are your favorite places to go? Let me know in the comments below!